The Saga of the Sand Castle
How It Came To Be
2018 was a year of adventurous escapades, traveling the coastline and creating promotional videos for various companies.
Wham! I came face to face with the steering wheel of my car after a head-on collision with a taxi (who was flung into me after a truck smashed into it).
Rerouted back to Durban where I first began the journey.
Sometimes you have to move backward to get a step forward.
This accident allowed the opportunity of “forced” stillness for an entire year, while in and out of the dentist’s chair for a broken pallet, eek!
Building A Castle
Choosing Movement Within The Stillness
With a small budget from some beautiful humans (chosen to stay anonymous), I was asked to pioneer and build a home for Lungile Ncqobo.
Her original home, made of mud and sticks, and built with her own two hands, was collapsing in on her and her son.
The Chosen Method
From Bricks to Bags, From Cement to Soil
“Alone we can do a little, together we can do much more.”
– Helen Keller
Knowing the difficulties of the first house build, the intensive labor, the time spent, and most importantly, the funds needed, I was aware of the challenges to come…
So I decided to gather a team of EPIC individuals to assist.
Previously using bricks to build Phumie’s home and knowing the expense, I chose a new method: Earth Bag Construction (Super Adobe)
Using a ratio of sand and cement to create the bricks.
Did I know how to build with sand?
Of course not.
But did I previously know how to build with bricks?
Of course not.
Fortunately, I knew someone who did know how to build with Sand, Gecks.
And fortunately, he has this warm, compassionate heart, choosing to teach us this method and pioneer the way forward! What a blessing.
Due to my tribe being responsible adults and working Monday to Friday, we were only able to gather on Saturdays to build this home.
Day by day, bag by bag, the walls got higher, and we got stronger.
Leveling the land and digging the trenches
Putting in the windows
Floors Of Sand
Together, We Can
Amazing People Stepping In
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; Together we can do great things”
- Mother Teresa
Running out of funds and having sourced as many second-hand materials I could, I contacted over 50 companies and businesses to reach out for help.
Rejection after rejection left me with little hope.
After finally breaking and giving up, I got back up again, prayed, and persevered with all the tenacity I could muster
Some amazing people started stepping in to help us (many would like to stay anonymous).
Funds came in at just the right time.
Individuals donated money towards more bags of cement and labor.
One company donated truckloads of additional sand.
Various companies donated additional spades, wheelbarrows, and additional bags, lighting and cables, lintels, roofing materials, and truck services.
A volunteer came to put our cables and electrics in.
One company even came to help us put up the roof!
What a massive blessing!
Raise The Roof
Lighting And Doors
Alone, this would have been The Leaning Tower of Sand.
But together, we built a Sand Castle.
With everybody adding a piece of what they had to offer, we built this home.
This project is more than just building a house, it is building a community, joining in unity, building our nation, one brick at a time.
We want to change the world, but sometimes, most times, we change the world by changing just one person’s world. The ripple effect does the rest.
To all of you who made this project possible, Salute!
Thank you for being a part of the change in the world.
The Plaster Party
As with any long term project, challenges are inevitable, as is tenacity, optimism, and humor.
Blessed to have a truckload of building sand donated to us.
Unfortunately, after the rains, our dirt road up to the house was still damp and hadn’t hardened yet.
After his third attempt with the truck almost falling over, the driver gave up, and dumped the sand at the bottom of the hill, half in the road.
This became my problem, which I intended to find a solution to.
P.S, the remainder of the sand is still at the bottom of the hill.
After phoning several people with an intense tone of desperation, no one in Oakford or Verulam could help me move the sand, being the busiest week of the year.
Until... a mysterious angel appeared offering two vehicles, speed racing away from work to come and save the day.
And save the day you did!
Inspired By Rumi...
Nader Khalili (1936-2008) was an architect, teacher, and inventor of the SuperAdobe construction method. Mr. Khalili’s innovative method was inspired by Rumi – the 13th-century mystic poet – and the ancient Middle Eastern architecture he encountered on a five-year motorcycle ride across his homeland in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran). Combining Rumi’s philosophy of nature with ancient building methods and modern technology and know-how, Mr. Khalili developed his novel ideas into construction techniques.
Because his invention is easy to use, ecologically friendly and inexpensive, the new buildings are preserving the environment and radically improving the quality of life of countless people around the world.
Based on ancient but simple human shelters, the SuperAdobe – also called the superblock system/ Earth Bags – uses layers of sand-filled bags that are coiled and placed one upon the other. The bags are securely attached to a dome-shaped structure using barbed wire. For extra stability, the buildings or adobe (a structure made of sun-dried clay or soil bricks) is held together using cement, lime, or asphalt emulsion. The adobe structure is simple in appearance but strong and resistant to floods, fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. It provides insulation against both heat and cold and can be quickly constructed by men, women and young adults.