A friend of mine is preparing for a trip to Haiti next February, where he'll be building new houses from the copious rubble left by the old ones.

Thousands of families are still living in tents nearly a year after the quake, and conditions in these plastic and canvas villages are uncomfortable, unhealthy and unsustainable. Recycled houses made of chunks and bits otherwise bound for the trash heap make for an interesting solution. The bits and chunks are smashed up and collected in steel baskets, then stacked to make walls. Concrete is used to stabilize everything, and a tin roof tops it all off. The strength of the steel baskets and the somewhat pliable nature of the debris that make up the walls mean these houses could withstand an 8.0-magnitude earthquake with only minor cosmetic damage, according to a story in the Associated Baptist Press.

"Using materials from a family's destroyed home allows them to remain in their old neighborhood. It aids with cleanup and solves complicated land-use issues. Construction materials are purchased locally, and Haitians are employed, boosting the local economy," the Associated Baptist Press story says.

Heifer is busy at work in Haiti too, helping communities come back from the devastation and plant seeds for a successful future. You can read about Heifer's work in Haiti in the Holiday issue of World Ark magazine, coming out the first week of November.

Photo from the Associated Baptist Press

Author

Austin Bailey

Austin Bailey is a writer and editor for Heifer's World Ark magazine.