The Kuubaare House is next door to the clinic where I live. Chris is a carpenter who has also been trained as a latrine artisan and contracted to mold the slabs for my project. Two of his daughters, Diana and Michelle, live with him and his wife. DIana is a JHS student who comes to my house daily to read, paint, or help me with my housework. Sometimes, she comes with Michelle strapped to her back screaming and crying at the sight of me (the terrifying white lady). Not only is Chris molding the slabs, but this family is also part of the project, since his house has no toilet. I went on site to learn how to mold the slabs. Just take it one step at a time. Here is how it’s done:
1) The mold is constructed and the iron is cut into smaller rods.
2) The iron rods are then placed inside the mold and bound together to ensure a strong structure.
3) Cut-outs are used to make the holes for the toilet and the ventilation pipe.
4) Sand and small stones are mixed in with the cement, a technique also used to strengthen the slab.
5) Water is mixed in, and the cement is ready to be poured into the mold.
6) It is important to make sure there is a layer of cement beneath the iron rods, so that they are in the center of the slab when it dries.
7) Make sure the cement is level while evening it out.
8) Add some dry cement to the top of the slab to smooth out the surface.
9) Remove the placeholders for the holes, and allow the slab to dry for one week.
10) If you feel so inclined, you can carve writing into the cement before it hardens.
This engraving has a double meaning…it was done on special request from a donor, but also stand for Kuubaare House. How perfect!