Batug is beautiful. Barug is green and tropical. Batug needs help. When the typhoon Yulanda ripped through the Phillipines late last year everything changed. Hearing the stories from those sheltering in the school rooms (the largest building in the village) when the roof was torn off is heart wrenching. I joined the Earthship Biotecture build there earlier this month, aiming to make a difference to the lives of severely effected.
Earthship Biotecture is just one of the many organisations trying to bring much needed aid to rural typhoon destroyed Philippines. We worked with an organisation the ground, called Earth Village, to create a structure that is typhoon proof. A design was made for a simple dwelling, with the intention on easy replication, but then the request came for a storm shelter that could also be used as school rooms. So that was our mission. The 10 day build took place Feb 23rd to 4th March with 7 EB crew including Michael Reynolds, 50 interns and about 15 dedicated locals who trained with us.
We built a new structure designed by Mike Reynolds termed the ‘windship’, which is one U of tyres (with steel vault), facing the same structure, accross a courtyard which is partly covered. This includes 4 smaller vaults that were made for the showers and toilets in the courtyard, and which will be installed along with the grey water cells and the solar panels on the next phase of the building. The structure catches water off the roof, is burmed for thermal mass but also to direct the wind up and over the building. Tyres, cans, glass and plastic bottles were all used in this building, along with steel and cement, 2 water cistern, 2 concrete cooling tubes, bamboo, local coco lumber and corrugated plastic.
It was hot and humid, living in tent city but we were spoiled with delicious food and fresh coconuts. The locals thanked us so many times for our help, but in truth I think the changed they made in the lives of us who ventured there was more of a gift. I feel humbled and inspired by the way they can pick up and carry on, with hope and a smile and more generosity than you can imagine. And having so little and working so hard. Thank you Batug, Earthship Biotecture, Earth Village and all those participating this is amazing project.