Sunday, March 25, 2012

Email from Craig Harvey:

I've now added two very educational videos of Charlie explaining the green/natural building aspects of our trip.  See 5 & 6 below.


1) The 30-minute CTN show that was filmed on 3/15/12 is available on the web.  Yes, the url does end like that.

2) Introduction to the solar project by Pat, John, and Charlie.  Includes our first ride up the hill.  (16:20)

3) Mid-week update on the solar project, mostly John, with a bit of Greg introducing everyone to our parts/design challenges. (6:05)

4) And the Friday morning "final report" video from the CECAP solar project (22:07)

5) Green/Natural building in Guatemala: Charlie Rendall introduces ATC to projects  (26:40)
Charlie's Monday morning introduction to bajareque.  The second half of this video continues Charlie's audio, but uses photos to show what he is talking about, since my video camera ran out of battery.

6) Green/Natural building in Guatemala: Lime Plasters by Charlie Rendall  (33:00)
Making & Using Lime and Earthen Plasters (stucco or render) -- a demonstration and explanation given on Friday afternoon in San Marcos.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This March 19 email is from Charlie Rendall to John Barrie, with pictures of our finished wall.
Anyone interested in learning about green building techniques should definitely contact Charlie!

Hi John,
I thought you might like to share these photos with everyone – the mud and lime plasters are on after a week of good work with Ryan, Simon and Ventura. I have detailed info on the plaster mixes we used and many at the school have commented on how much they like how it looks.

We'll be finishing the other side today and then putting the ridge cap on. 

Cheers, Charlie
Charlie Rendall
Course Director
Return to the Forest – Natural Building and Forest Gardening Workshops
San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

This is a nice summary written by John Barrie on March 15 about what we accomplished on our trip.

Hello Everyone-

I’ve been back for a few days and I now have a moment to catch up with you. 

First, I can’t imagine the trip without all of you.  Everyone contributed in a unique way and no two people did the same things. 

We worked on a total of five projects.  We accomplished our two main objectives – installing the solar panels on the CECAP school in Santa Cruz and building “bajareque” walls at the Párvulos school in San Marcos. 

We also prepared materials for teaching solar to trade school students at the Centro de Capitación CECAP school in Santa Cruz la Laguna.   Classes start today and our solar installation will be part of the curriculum.  The solar class already has a wait list for summer 2012.  Later this month we will teach the class again in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. 

We visited the highlands village of Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan to start the process of designing passive solar heating for their homes.  We visited the nearby school in Tzanjomel to collect preliminary data for a future project to install solar there. 

The natural building project was particularly important – it helped ATC create a strong bond with the community of San Marcos and the Párvulos school.  We are now in preliminary talks to work on a community center next year – more on this soon.

Since our trip we have been asked to work on more solar projects in the area, and we found a source of solar panels on Lake Atitlan!  We know how to make solar mounting hardware from angle iron (!) so we only need to find electronics and batteries.

Our long range plans for the area are to help start small scale businesses using ATC designs and clean technologies. 

Thanks to you and your work there is new interest and opportunity for local residents on Lake Atitlan to have a brighter future.

Looks like I’ll see most of you at MJ's and Greg's next Sunday March 18 from 5-9. 

Many Thanks,

John Barrie

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The CECAP school....the roof

.... more photos coming soon.....

This is where the team spent a lot of time with the solar panels.
The CECAP school - workshop floor......  The lowest of 4 levels in the school

The CECAP school - computer lab floor.....

The main purpose of this phase of the solar project was power for the computer lab.  (Note:  6 more batteries can be added in the future to double capacity, since there are 4 panels.)

Computer lab instructor

Two students

Leena with 2 students.  Instructor in background.

Our project supplies were stored in the open room outside of the computer lab.
Michael, Tim, and Gayle.  Door at the back goes down to workshop.

We carried the solar panels up 2 flights of stairs - Tim and Andrew below.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The CECAP school....classroom floor

One floor below the main floor is the office and two classrooms.

John Barrie and Pat Torpie (Exec Director of Amigos de Santa Cruz Foundation)

Pat Torpie and others.  On the right: Noe Rafel Simon (Director of CECAP school) 
Across the aisle from the office is a small classroom.  It saw multiple uses during our trip.

As a classroom (beading class)

As a project room

Solar project meeting - Carlos, Michael, Ben, John, Jose, Craig

John Barrie explaining the new plan for the solar panels
And as a study area

Staff member, Leena and Karen
And at the back of the school is the large classroom.

With beautiful children....

We used the classroom for a solar project team meeting, working on designs without the right parts....

              Jose, Greg, Michael, Carlos, Ben, MJ, Craig  (above)                                Ben with 'turnbuckle' design for extra legs             

John and the UM students also inventoried parts for the solar kits for the upcoming class

Andrew, John, JC, Leena, James, Tim

And of course in the hallway, you can tell when class is over!

The CECAP school.....main floor

Stairs to the roof - we carried everything but the panels up these!

Sewing classroom - looms and sewing machines

Class in session - treadle machines don't need electricity

Class in session
Students wear uniforms to school
Leena and Tim learning to sew?

Student and teacher

We didn't get to see these in use
At the back of the building, on the main floor, is the culinary school.  

Cafe overlooking the lake.  This was our orientation on the first day.  Also where we ate lunch
Craig in foreground.  Door at the back goes to sewing classroom.

John ordering lunch

Water filter system for fresh water