Mud bricks make their first appearance

Sunday 7 July 2013

Pele & Nguna Islands

Clinic work today was in the village of Tikilasoa, just off our stern, at this wonderful anchorage between  the islands of Pele and Nguna.  No long dinghy runs down the coast, just a quick zip to shore and a 3 minute walk to the Presbyterian church where the hall made a perfect venue for the work at hand.

Numbers peaked early, with Lyndon again having a few carry-over dental cases which will be attended to tomorrow.

Interest in the mud brick stoves seemed high and so it was agreed that we would do a live demonstration around 2:00pm, after we’d first sourced sufficient clay and soil nearby.  In what turned out to be a step too far, I even tried to show our recently produced DVD on the making of the stoves on the wall in the hall, but with an eager crowd of around 30 folk all sitting in silent anticipation my hopes seemed dashed, as my old computer first refused to talk to the projector and then the ship’s portable 240v Honda generator refused to produce electricity; a bit of a pest given we’d had it serviced just before heading away a month ago.

In the end people gathered in close as the video was shown on the laptop, but soon enough we all adjourned outback for the hands on experience.

Clay and mud were mixed together along with coconut fibre, to produce just the right mixture which was then placed in the mold.  To the satisfaction of all, bricks began to start appearing, all 22 in all, with the mold being filled in turn.

A tropical downpour towards the end, caused a few lads to run off for sheets of tin to cover the good work and no it’s just a case of waiting for the little guys to dry – about 7 days.


With all the bricks being made on what looked like community space I inquired about who was going to get the first stove built in their cooking hut, to which the natural response seemed to be “the church” … with the open-sided shed to one side being an ideal space for such a stove.
It’s a half-day clinic tomorrow, with all our gear having been left ashore in anticipation.  It’s then another night anchored here, with a walk inland on Wednesday planned to reach a village further inland.

An early night tonight, as Extreme Dentist Lyndon cleans his weapons in readiness for tomorrow’s clinic.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and dry mud bricks dry …

Rob Latimer

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