Mud Bricks-Closing Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1 CLOSES

For six weeks we have worked towards making mud bricks to bring new hope to the people of Fiji and eventually the wider Pacific. Now this Chapter draws to an end.

We’ve finally made some mud bricks, but… we’re not convinced yet that the machines we have are suited to Fiji.

So, lets recap and tell you what we’ve done achieved so far, and finally what’s next.

5.0 soil testing

Research has been a major part of the mud brick project

Miracles do happen

We miraculously met with Government officials, keen to support trialling mud bricks for housing, micro-enterprise, and trades training in Fiji. They were encouraging and wanted to stay informed.
We met with the new Anglican Archbishop for Polynesia who was keen to offer their support towards the mission.
The meeting with the NZ High Commission and NZ Foreign Affairs was ‘robust’ yet we parted with them interested to keep the conversation going.
And, we identified a science laboratory to test our bricks to meet local building code conditions.

2.1 Archbishop with a mud brick v1

The Anglican Archbishop of Polynesia supporting mud bricks

Finding Nemo/the Ingredients-Site

Then the mud brick exploration for sustainable materials and a production site led us to visit 20 villages over the two main Islands. We finally decided to setup ‘Head Office’ at a Church in the middle of nowhere on Vanua Levu, the northern Island.

We found a Mine extracting mineral for the Chinese market and then discarding the residue mud as waste. There’s tonnes of waste mud for us to use there. We found a quarry for sand and even have looked at coconut husk as an ingredient for the mud brick as well.

We finalised our Production Base at a Village Church, within the idyllic grounds the church owns. Thomas (or ‘Tomasi’ as they call him in Fiji) and Pate have employed some local youth and together with them, the ‘mud brick team’ was formed.

We finalised our Production Base at the Village Church, within the idyllic grounds the church owns. Thomas and Pate have employed some local youth and together with them, the ‘mud brick team’ was formed.

4.7 The Pit

A Mine that extracts minerals for the Chines market and the waste mud is suitable for mud bricks

Mud Brick Production underway

The ‘Mud brick team’ has worked tirelessly for 3-weeks experimenting with the variety of compositions of ingredients from various sources, differing moisture levels, then compressing them into little ‘mud pie/bricks’ in a mould like a baking tin. Afterwards they are tested for strength and record everything. So far, great results. Everything is working well and the Fijian boys are loving the experience and learning about the science of soils and developing research skills.

5.2 mixing mud

Mixing the ingredients

Hit the Wall

Then the problems began.
Converting the exact replica of ingredients from the mini-brick to the main brick machine has become a stumbling block. The machine won’t allow the bricks to compress if they’re too wet, and if they’re too dry when compressed they collapse into sand when picked up.
We’ve talked to experts in NZ and around the World, talked to the machine manufacturer -all with ideas but nothing that has resolved the problem satisfactorily at this stage. It all points to these specific machines may not be suited to the soils here in Fiji.

5.4 bricks in machine

The first mud bricks coming out of the machine

Now what?

We believe in this vision. We have seen God’s leading throughout. We have established great partnerships and we have some wonderful Fijian people wanting to work alongside us to make it work. We can’t let them down and the many supporters who keep encouraging us to keep going.

The new Chairperson, Steve, of the Anglican Missions Board (AMB) flew to visit the Mud Brick team this week.

5.8a mud pate steve Thomas

Anglican Mission Board Chairman, Steve, visits Pate and Tomasi

We discussed the Mud Brick vision being like a modern-day mission. Individuals, youth groups, parishes fundraising to buy bricks to build houses, training local Fijians in house building. These people adopt a church village, come and visit and/or transfer their skills and knowledge to make bricks and houses.
Next week the Golden Oldies Mission is in Fiji and we have been invited to meet with Government ministers on  Monday afternoon to further discuss the entire project.
We have identified an alternative manual mud brick machine in USA and are looking to purchase it and ship it to Fiji within the next few months.

With all that happening, Thomas is returning to NZ after the Golden oldies Mission, and we believe we will be starting Chapter 2 of the Mud Project in early 2020.

Vinaka vakalevu

for your on-going support and encouragement.
On behalf of Graeme, Roger, Rev. Amy, Pate and Tomasi.

5.6 mud brick team

The ‘Mud Brick team’ Pate, Nivoi, Seva, Viliame, Tomasi

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