A bajareque wall with the Appropriate Technology Collaborative

The Appropriate Technology Collaborative‘s 2012 visit to Guatemala brought 17 volunteers from around Michigan to Lake Atitlán, where they installed a solar electric system to power the computer lab at CECAP‘s vocational training centre in Santa Cruz La Laguna, and built an exterior wall out of bajareque at the nursery school of San Marcos La Laguna.

The problem – a neighbour’s land where the kids would escape!

Before

The solution: a bajareque wall made from hardwood posts, bamboo, rocks, mud, natural rope and elbow grease!

Mixing the mud – many feet make light work.

Applying mud to the wall.

Applying the first layer of earthen plaster with a large wooden trowel.

Project finished! Our local team of natural builders – Juan, Noé, Ventura and Chepe.

And the whole crew – the volunteer team from the Appropriate Technology Collaborative

The whole project was a great success and we’re looking forward to making more such walls in the school and in other public spaces with future ATC volunteer teams. We hope to document the process so that others can copy the technique.

With the help of a pair of longer-term volunteers, this coming week we’ll be putting a small tin roof to keep the rain off, a lime and prickly-pear plaster to defend the bottom of the wall from raindrop splash-damage, and a clay plaster for the rest of it. I shall add photos as it happens.

To see more info and photos on the trip, check out the ATC blog by John Barrie, ATC’s founder and director, and also Tina’s blog.

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