Here at the Seattle office of Pygmy Survival Alliance, we were excited to learn about an effective brick making invention, called the Makiga Stabilized Soil Block Press (SSB) Machine.
It’s produced in Kenya and can make hundreds of bricks a day with just a few people. Working without electricity, two people load the center container with a mixture of soil and cement, and then another person tightly compresses the dirt by pulling a leaver down. When the leaver is pulled up, out pops a beautiful, strong brick. The strong force used to compress the bricks means cement can go much farther: about one bag of cement per 250 bricks. The finished product is even grooved so each brick will interlock with the next and less cement is needed as mortar. That's important because cement is about four times as expensive in Rwanda as it is in the USA.
So far, Bwiza community members have made over 500 bricks for use in the new houses.