Building for the future
First and foremost, happy 2015! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday with friends and family! Since the biggest change of the Oda Foundation’s young life is just around the corner, we wanted to kick off the New Year by telling you about our new site. Namely, a little bit more about the thought behind construction of the building, materials, bells, whistles, and so forth. Upon initial conception of this new facility there was a lot of debate regarding the primary building material. Often times in these villages there is an appeal to concrete construction, as it signifies wealth and thus a “successful” project. However, after consulting with the community and local master builders, we decided to instead incorporate centuries-old technology into the construction of the new building to have it blend in with the environment and natural landscape.
The primary building materials are stones chiseled out of the earthen hillsides of the community, and all of the door frames, windows, and support beams are sustainably harvested lumber from nearby forests surrounding the village. The project has been allotted a plot of land in the forest from which we pull or timber, and we work hard to only take what we need throughout the year. The inside of the building will utilize concrete (for sanitation purposes), but the outside will be daubed with mud. The mud/stone combination is a very sustainable material, mixing soil, twigs, manure, and water into a paste dried by the sun, which naturally regulates temperature and is extremely durable. The community gave us a choice piece of land and we felt compelled to build something which would not become an eyesore, the mud exterior should minimize visual invasiveness while providing functionality.
The power from the building will come from a comprehensive solar array atop the building. The Foundation will utilize in-country resources to maximize the energy potential of our new structure. Additionally, we plan to utilize solar to power a series of WiFi relays that will be implemented in the region. Working in concert with Nepali Wireless, our goal is to have Oda and the surrounding villages online in the next few months. Nepali Wireless (nepalwireless.net) is an amazing NGO in Nepal run by a man named Mahabir Pun. He was recently elected into the Internet Hall of Fame due to his efforts in connecting nearly 200 rural Nepalese villages to the internet. He is widely regarded as a national hero, as internet in these rural communities is important for health, education, and communication purposes. Keeping the future in mind, the importance of a terrestrial internet will allow sites to communicate logistics seamlessly. All of this will be powered by sustainable solar energy.
Our budding telecommunications infrastructure, further refinement of our healthcare model, and the recent road improvements are just a few of the reasons why we are so excited about the upcoming year. Hope everyone is doing well, we’ll have another update for you all soon!