delhi-beli brick (too much water!)

31.01.13 | day 5 building community ii

Today’s blog was supposed to be written by Maryam, who unfortunately couldn’t attend the Visiting School due to difficulties getting an Indian visa in Pakistan. We’re really sorry you couldn’t make it Maryam, this one’s for you!

This morning we were joined by our 8th participant, Di Lu from Beijing – who jumped right into making bricks. Having prepared our mound the previous day, we just had to break it down again and add more water before filling the molds, and flattening the top. It only needs to set for about 5 minutes before you can lift the mold, and make the next one – but this all depends on getting the consistency right! We had a few over-hydrated mixes, which resulted in some good old ‘Delhi belly’ bricks….

Each participant had a go making their own brick, meanwhile we were preparing timber frames to test different weaving patterns, as well as wattle and daub. It’s unlikely that we’ll use wattle and daub, as it’s not really appropriate for damp climates, and UP has a heavy monsoon season – but the panels will be great for testing different types of mud plaster. ‘Wattle’ is essentially any reinforcement (strips of bamboo, rope, wire mesh) and the ‘daub’ is the filler (plaster, mud etc) – in our case we’re using mud and bamboo, we we’re soaking in water before weaving into a coarse mesh structure.  It was nice to see our patch in front of the building getting nice and messy, as a construction site should….everyone is getting more confident in their making skills and things are starting to feel really productive. In fact our passes were upgraded this morning from the purple visitor cards, to the green contractor cards – and we’re wearing them proudly!

The day was, however, punctuated by endless phone calls to our elusive contractor, who sent an email in the morning saying ‘delivery, 10.30pm’ but then never answered our calls to confirm. Desperately hoping he would turn up regardless, we left his payment with the night guard and headed home for some rest…