Tag Archives: Work

Haiti Communitere

One of the things visitors to Haiti Communitere are first to point out is the enthusiasm of the women of the community have towards the work.  They are a wonderful bunch.  Hopefully by next week we will be in a situation were the walls will start going up and we will get to see their enthusiasm level go up by ten at least.

I was told the Haitians wouldn’t pick up the trash styrofoam along the streets and in the ditches.  They were wrong.  In fact every morning when the bus arrives with the women there are bags of foam plates etc that the women have picked up on their own time in their community.

I was told they wouldn’t clean up the dirty foam pieces they had picked up.  They were wrong.  The women are doing an awesome job of just getting after it in the cleaning.  There is one caveat there we have to mention.  Her name is Roxanne and she is THE FORCE we all have to reckon with.  No bigger than a minute but capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound.  No one can work around her without putting out their best.  Her efforts insure that yours are going to be the best you have to give.  Rox is closer to being a third my age than she is to being half of it.  She is the parent in this relationship.

When I designed the system I had Owen Geiger and Ronald Omyonga all over me about making sure the jobs were women friendly.  That’s because 70 percent of the most impoverished are female.  We had to make the tasks where small framed people could do the work efficiently.  Today their wisdom came home to me.  I figured small handed people.  I never figured the hands might be as small as some of those I’m working with now.  Yet those same small handed people have hearts the size of Texas and they don’t let tiny hands get in the way of gettin’ her done.

One of the jobs that is critical is making the eyes in the wires that make the blocks.  My friend Bob Warner came up with the original idea and I’ve only modified it a little for making those eyes.  I’ve told the women that by this time next week they will be turning out works of art when it comes to the eyes.

This is an example of a good eye.  A good eye is critical for a couple of very good reason.  Mechanically it is important because this eye won’t break under the stress of tying up the block.  If there is a knot or a kink in the eye it can break and then it is a pain in the butt to repair.  But I also believe a good eye is important for the maker’s own pride.  I believe they will feel better about their work and themselves if we encourage them to strive to make the best eye they possibly can.

The are finding the use of tools a little intimidating at times.  Their world hasn’t involved much mechanical work and stuff that would be obvious to some men is foreign to them.  The wire eye fabrication is a good example of that.  The placing and twisting is something they are working at doing proficiently.


Lost a pair of work jeans to the laundry war

The way it works is you have your laundry ready on Tuesdays and some ladies from the community wash your clothes and hang them out on a clothes line for you.  You are responsible to pick them off the line.

I was warned that my work jeans would be free of stains when the ladies are done.  Of course we both understood my work jeans might only survive a couple of washings with that kind of thoroughness.

I’ve often joked that my wore out permanent stained jeans were the real deal in the land of phony wore out permanent stained fashion statement wear.  Evidently someone agreed.

The culprit should be easily identified.  They will be the ones with the fashion statement that requires two belts to keep in place.

Edit 3/9:  the jeans magically reappeared on the line yesterday.This reaffirms my faith in the fashion genetics that guide us. It is nice to see that even though jeans around your knees can be a fashion statement, jeans around your ankles isn’t yet.

More Work on the Block Box

I’m not sure just how much pressure we’ll be using to compress the blocks.  So I’m spending extra time reinforcing the far end.  I would hate to be wrapped up in making a block and have the end fall off.  There’s a formula for figuring out the lineal pressure that is generated by the circular motion of the acme thread.  I’ve looked at it and it makes no sense to me.  Hopefully an engineer will google the formula and then send me numbers and I can pretend I’m smart.  One inch ACME thread 4 threads per inch.

I wanted to attempt a bottle brick/plastic block tonight.  I was just too tired.  I’m going to try to hit it early in the morning and maybe we can get one just to see if it will work.

I tacked in the brace for the ram rod and it’s a little off.  So in the morning I will break the tacks and align it better.  I will add bracing and then attach the ram to the rod.  I still have to make the handle for the rod.  There’s a part of me that likes the idea of a steering wheel.  I’ll probably forgo that though and settle for a slip rod handle

The ram will never make contact with the end of the box.  But to get the density we think we’re going to need the force against this end will be like the ram hitting it.  That’s why I’ve put in all the steel.

Keep in mind that if this thing works this is open source.  So if a company wants to send a thousand of these to Haiti for instance then they can get the measurements from mine, have their smart minds modify it for efficiency and manufacturability, then they can have it made anywhere, India, China, Canada, USA.  Another thing is anyone can modify it and make it better.  I just hope that if they do they share it with the rest of us.