Folding Recycled Bags
Nueva Santa Catarina Ixahuacan (NSCI) is a small indigenous community that lost their traditional homes (made of adobe or mud) to a landslide over 10 years ago. International development funds went to a quick rebuild of the small town using concrete and tin to provide basic shelter. Years later, doctors are finding severe illnesses in the community and argue that the severe cold – inescapable even indoors – has been weakening the immune systems of the young and old. This town is known to have snow and frequent frosts over the winter, during our week-long stay in early May, the team experienced 3 hailstorms and a constant chill. Our personal experience with the cold (and desperately huddling over our host mother’s cookfire) was a constant motivator to succeed in our project.
University of Michigan BLUELab students and ATC found nontoxic mesh bags could work as insulation and we proceeded to work with a Mayan family to test and demonstrate this novel way to keep houses warm at night and cool during the day.