Bottles2Bricks: May 2022
May 27, 2022
The project has attracted the attention of German Broadcasting Television Deutsche Welle, who came out to interview Ahmed and Andreas.
Our team will spend the weekend in Yaoude to get some much needed rest. They will return to MBalmayo on Monday to meet with the mayor. Working in the hot sun is tough. We hope to get additional funding to pay for food and water for the volunteers. We are also in need of additional building supplies.
May 26, 2022
The team made quick work of the reinforcement layer for the base of the water tank. What remains is to plaster the tank, then fill it with water.
It has truly been a team effort to get to this point; even volunteers from the Red Cross came to help. With the water tank nearly complete, we have a stock pile of about 2000 bottles filled and ready to go. They will be used for building an outhouse which is badly needed in the community.
May 25, 2022
The water tank is nearing completion. The inner structure is finished; next we will add an outer reinforcement layer. Brick production has increased dramatically. Nearly 100 villagers came out to help. On day 1 we created only 50 eco-bricks. Today we created about 2000.
May 24, 2022
The water tank continues to grow and so does the community involvement. As word continues to spread about our project, more and more people are coming out to lend a helping hand. Even mothers carrying infants on their backs are pitching in.
The mayor of MBalmayo paid us a surprise visit and vowed to give his full support. It was a hot sunny day, so Ahmed explained to the mayor that he would be much more comfortable wearing swim trunks and a t-shirt 😉
May 23, 2022
The water tank is taking shape as the bottles collected by our volunteers are trucked in from Yaounde. Andreas is still going .. and going… 😉
May 21, 2022
Ahmed and Andreas spent the weekend in Yaounde where they rounded up a team a volunteers to collect bottles from a river bed – about 500 kg worth or more than 1000 lbs. The bottles are being shipped to MBalmayo to build the water tank and also an outhouse and a classroom. If not for our efforts, many of these bottles will wash into the ocean and wreak havoc with the ecosystem.
May 20, 2022
Bottles2Bricks is not just about building useful structures, we aim to make each structure unique and beautiful. Andreas took the afternoon to create a rendering of a classroom for MBalmayo. Beautiful right? For comparison, here are images of the current classroom. Notice the tire holding the roof in place.
May 19, 2022
After hearing about our project, the entire community came out to help. School kids brought bottles from their homes and we now have an army of volunteers creating plastic bricks.
May 18, 2022
Preparations are under way for the foundation of the water tank. Volunteers visited the local marketplace to spread awareness about Bottles2Bricks and made a few friends along the way.
May 16, 2022
We had a friendly competition to see who could stuff the most bottles today. The winner made 43 bricks. We now have 520 bricks and are ready to begin construction on the water tank. We will continue creating bricks as the water tank is being built. In total we will require approximately 2300 bottles to complete the water tank.
May 14, 2022
With the help of these fine young men, bottle production increased dramatically today. What is so special about these men? Well, they have a great attitude. They are dependable and work hard. They appreciate bread as a simple reward. They are also prisoners from the local detention center. That’s right, prisoners.
Bottles2Bricks is about second chances. Rather than washing into the ocean, the bottles have a second chance to serve a useful purpose. And for these inmates, it is about a second chance for dignity, hope and contribution.
Thank you to the town of MBalmayo for allowing these men to help us today. We enjoyed hearing their stories and connecting with their humanity.
May 13, 2022
OK, now that’s some serious progress. In just a few more days, we will be ready to start building the water tank. Keep it up team! The world is rooting for you!!
May 12, 2022
The stack continues to grow. Officials of MBalmayo got in on the action too. Even the mayor lent a helping hand. Bread was a welcome reward for all the hard work.
Meanwhile, half way around the world, No Plastic Drinks founder, Smiley Hsu, hosted a golf outing to raise additional funds for Bottles2Bricks. The weather was fabulous and the event was a huge success. Thanks to all the volunteers and supporters that made the event so fun and memorable.
May 11, 2022
Today was devoted to filling bottles with soil to create the first 50 plastic bricks. Soil was first filtered through a screen to remove large particles, then packed tightly into the bottles. Ahmed needed breaks, but Andreas was like the Energizer Bunny. He just kept going … and going… and going…
May 10, 2022
Another action packed day in Mbalmayo. As luck would have it, the quality of the soil was not good (yup, bad dirt), so we had to choose another location for the water tank. After some searching, we found the perfect spot with the perfect soil.
To show their support, the city council mobilized additional local volunteers to lend a hand. There is no shortage of warm bodies to keep the project moving.
Andreas had fun shopping for supplies at the local hardware store. While the main structure is made from plastic bricks, we still need concrete for the foundation and some basic tools for construction.
May 9, 2022
Drum roll please…. Construction has officially begun!!
It was a busy day today. Volunteers from Yaounde made the trip to MBalmayo where they will remain to assist in the construction. Their dedication is truly inspiring.
Andreas gave a presentation to the municipal council of MBalmayo explaining the technology and benefits of eco-bricks. Since the primary language is French, Ahmed acted as translator.
The first construction site will be next to a primary school, where we are going to build a water tank for the school.
This is a residential area in MBalmayo. Bottles2Bricks is about bringing dignity, joy and creativity to the world.
May 6, 2022
Our weekly planning call for Bottles2Bricks. Andreas and Ahmed shared a screen for the first time from Cameroon. Also on the call were volunteers from Chicago, Indianapolis, Miami, Washington DC and Mexico. This is truly a worldwide collaboration.
With Andreas’ guidance, our volunteers learned how to stuff plastic bottles and make them into bricks. There was no shortage of bottles and no shortage of dirt either.
May 5, 2022
With a population of roughly 60,000, MBalmayo is a town that is 41 km south of Yaounde and is the chosen location for the first construction site.
Today, Andreas and Ahmed met with officials of MBalmayo and received their full support for the project. Our knights in shining armor were treated like … well, knights in shining armor. Sir Ahmed and Sir Andreas were treated to a lunch buffet that was fit for royalty and Andreas enjoyed a ride in the official government vehicle of MBalmayo.
The city council has given the green light to commence work on Monday, May 8. Our vision will soon be a reality!!
May 4, 2022
Andreas shared some photos he took from the streets of Cameroon. Without proper sanitation, trash is piling up everywhere. Even medical waste is dumped on the side of the road waiting for the next big rain to carry it away. That trash washes into the ocean and we all carry the burden of cleaning it up.
Andreas and Ahmed met with the Environmental Minister and a representative from the German Embassy in Cameroon. We are hoping that they can help us gain credibility around Bottles2Bricks and contact plastic producers to spread our message. Ahmed pushed himself out of his comfort zone by eating fish and beans and drinking pineapple juice.
May 1 2022
Bottles2Bricks is not just about the environment, it is about love and human connection. Today was a special day. It was Andreas Froese’s birthday and he was warmly greeted by volunteers in Cameroon to help celebrate the special occasion. We aren’t exactly sure how old Andreas is, but we are guessing something like 34 or 35 ;-). Happy Birthday Andreas!!
April 29, 2022
THE BIG MOMENT!! After months of preparation, our friendly German Engineer has arrived in Cameroon. He was greeted with a hero’s welcome by volunteers in Cameroon. Lots of excitement and lots of high fives. Way to go team! Now it’s time to start building stuff.
April 28, 2022
Andreas traveled to Brussels, where he will spend the night and catch a morning flight to Cameroon. The anticipation is killing us. The cost of the hotel room is not. Andreas’ is a conscientious traveler and is doing a great job of stretching out our donation dollars.
April 26, 2022
Our volunteers in Cameroon paid a visit to the environmental ministry and delivered a proposal to garner support for Bottles2Bricks.
April 25, 2022
Ever feel like you are swimming upstream? Well it feels like we just swam up the Nile River. Who knew getting a visa for Cameroon would be so difficult? It required an official person in Cameroon to write an official letter with an official stamp, but after a 3 week delay, Andreas’ visa was finally approved.