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Carlos September Take 10 Volunteer Team

 Plastic Roof Project

Carlos and Sabina were halfway through their project period in Malawi when they suddenly had to return to their home countries (Spain and Romania) due to the corona reality. Still committed to continue the cooperation with their project partners, their work goes on.

The video at the bottom of the post is about creating a solution for the many preschools in and around Mzimba that have substandard roofs, by turning waste plastic bottles into roofing.

In the following, Carlos talks about another project he, Sabina and the Malawian team are working on.

 

Carlos about the Plastic Roof Project:

Even though we were forced to leave Malawi prematurely, Sabina and I are still supporting our projects in Mzimba (Malawi), from home. We have different kind of projects and this one is about sustainability.

Poor trash management

According to the statistics, Africa has not yet reached the plastic consumption rates of the ”developed world”. However, plastic does not only exist in statistics, and it is more than just a matter of numbers.

In Malawi, you can feel the impact of plastic and other waste because it is right there in front of your eyes. It is lying on the ground right on the streets of towns and cities, on the most beautiful beaches and resorts, or resting in huge piles in the outskirts of towns.

The difference between the waste in Malawi and the waste in more developed countries is made by the fact that, unlike these “civilized” countries that have advanced sanitation and recycling systems that can cope with the large production of plastic, in Malawi there is no such thing as sanitation systems.

And in a country where people do not have litter bins, they cannot have recycle bins and the option to send their waste somewhere to have it reused. Trash is either left out in the nature, taking thousands of years to decompose, or it’s burned, dangerously affecting the ozone layer.

Roofing is an ongoing challenge

At the same time, from the first visits to the preschools, we understood that the biggest problem in constructions were the roofs. The only decent option people had for covering their houses and other buildings were using iron sheets, which were very expensive and not even that durable. People were constantly trying to come up with makeshift solutions such as hay with plastic sheets underneath.

In the rainy season, leaking roofs make it difficult to run the activities in the early childhood development centres – also known as the “preschools”. 

By the end of the first month of activity in Malawi, we came up with an idea that we thought could combine reusing plastic and building roofs, an idea which we are presenting in this video we made.

We wanted to do it together with the people in the communities, because they are the experienced ones and know how to best adapt such things to their climatic conditions, which they have been handling for years.

We are still a team 

However, we did not get to do it because of our sudden departure, and now the next step is to see how we can proceed with our team in Mzimba in order to develop the idea of using discarded bottles for roof sheets.

We will first conduct an experiment, to see how the time and weather affect the roof, before we embark on using it for larger surfaces.

Like we have said before: Our work in Malawi is not done yet. And we’re still a team, even if we are split between three countries for the time being, me in Spain, Sabina in Romania and Brewster and Sheriff in Malawi.

Take 10 Volunteer
Take 10 Volunteer

We wanted to do it together with the people in the communities, because they are the experienced ones and know how to best adapt such things to their climatic conditions, which they have been handling for years.

– Sabina, September 2019 Team

Take 10 Volunteer
Take 10 Volunteer
Take 10 Volunteer

Read more about "Tawonga Chomene" in Mzimba, Malawi

Sabina: Education is our main goal

Sabina: Education is our main goal

Sabina gave us her insights about her project period in Mzimba, Malawi where she and team mate Carlos worked on projects related to preschool and teacher training. Currently they support the projects from Europe.

Carlos: Our work isn’t done yet

Carlos: Our work isn’t done yet

The unfortunate development of the COVID-19 crisis forced Take 10 volunteers to pause their projects. We talked to Carlos about the project in Malawi where he worked.

September Team reflections

September Team reflections

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