We have tried to build for the poorest of the poor, while being sure that they have a significant investment in their homes. Previously our families paid 25% of the cost of their homes over 5 years with no interest...it averaged about $8/month. And that was still too burdensome a commitment for some. Now we have begun a 'labor cooperative'. A family is required to send a representative to work on 3 homes, and that alone becomes their equity in their home.
Currently we are building the 2nd of the 3 homes with our first group of families and all is going wonderfully well. Since these are truly impoverished families, GHA helps out by providing a quintal (100#) of corn for strength. The families are excited and their dedication to the work reflects that.
In our march towards sustainability, we continue with bajareque (wattle and daub) building, but now using cypress instead of bamboo. The bamboo is absolutely beautiful but may leave the families with a burden of pest control.
Building this way is quite a bit more expensive for GHA. We very much felt the need to build with as little cement as possible, as it's production is such a detriment to the environment. But this new style costs 50% more to build, plus we are receiving no monetary contributions from the families. But we are PROUD of both the process and the new co-op, which forges new relationships in the community.
This is an audio recording made by a spectacular GHA volunteer, Morgana. It was created a couple houses back, as we were working on our first bamboo bajareque home