Wednesday, March 31, 2010
GREAT NEWS!! We have just received confirmation that Turtle & Hughes is donating all 3500 ft of steel conduit pipe we need to complete our initial ten dome kits to send asap to Haiti!!! This is an in kind donation valued at $2,000.00!!
We are sending our utmost gratitude and thanks to this awesome, woman owned business for supporting our project. THANK YOU SO MUCH! It's businesses like this whose ultimate goal is not always profit that set an example we hope others will follow.
Turtle & Hughes was incorporated on January 29, 1923 and continues to be privately held. In 1975, anemployee stock ownership plan (ESOP) was established, and today there are 225 employee shareholders owning 32.5% of the corporation's stock.
Currently, 60% of the common stock is owned by women, and the company is certified as a women-owned business enterprise (WBE) by the states of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It is ranked among the top 50 women-owned business enterprises in the U.S.
They will be shipping the metal to our friends at Laidman Fabrication, another upstanding company located in the beautiful city of Brooklyn (woot woot) that has agreed to do all the labor absolutely free of charge. THANKS JOHN!
In other news, we have successfully negotiated a contract with our new fiscal sponsor. We are now officially sponsored under the umbrella of Not An Alternative. Thanks to Beka and Jason for sheltering our shelter project.
In still other news, we are in contact with Eric Klein from Can-do. This is an amazing organization that has been a first responder in many disasters beginning in Sri Lanka years ago. They have set up a distribution network in Haiti when they saw how badly things were being managed there with the aid supplies. They are currently working on a proposal called Sustainable Disaster Response
they have invited me to participate in the creation of a community camp in Haiti based on sustainable living systems. Currently I am working up a budget for building 30 - 40 domes with financial support from their supporters.
I will update more as this progresses. But this was the connection I had been hoping for to take my project to the next level. Helping 100 kids is definitely something, but this project now has the potential to help upwards of 300 or maybe even more.
I am very very excited by this entire unfolding of events. Tonight I am meeting with film maker Renee Bergan and some associates to discuss fundraising efforts and phase two of this project which is the trip to Haiti.
I have been speaking with some tensile structure manufacturers and have some good response about manufacturing of the domes. A very nice guy from a large corporation who is the leader in their field just asked me to email him my pattern. He seemed to feel confident that one of his manufacturers would have no problem fabricating 30 - 40 domes for our project for very cheap or even possibly as a tax write off. Keep your fingers crossed.
We are speeding along, but not quickly enough. The shipping of the dome kits takes 18 days to port au prince from Yonkers, so to meet my goal of May 1st of them actually arriving on ground in Haiti, things have got to be exponentially expeditious from this point on.
Thanks for reading. We are now an official 501c3 non profit organization.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Our focus is to procure as many in kind donations as possible from businesses in the NYC metro area so that the majority of the funds raised for this project can go to hire Haitian workers at a livable wage to prep sites and assemble the domes. We will be sending a project manager and one Creole speaking assistant to Haiti to deliver the domes and manage the work. We have logistical and ground support set up with an organization called Grassroots United in Port Au Prince where we will have storage and lodging. We have made contact with one orphanage in Laplaine which will be the recipient of three domes for their children. We are interested in locating a few more small scale orphanages to serve in the surrounding area. It is our goal to house at least 100 kids in time for the rainy season in these hurricane resistant shelters. Additionally, we are looking for people or organizations who are rebuilding on land using community based sustainable living systems. We’d like to help achieve this goal by providing them with transitional shelters while they work towards a more permanent solution.
So far we have a huge amount of momentum going forward on this project. We have received over $11,000 worth of in kind donations of materials, manufacturing, workspace and services. We have community support and involvement from volunteers and business owners in our surrounding area. We anticipate needing to raise approximately $5,100 to complete this short term project by the end of May. Some of this cost maybe defrayed with additional in kind donations we are in the process of negotiating. We hope to procure this funding by holding benefits in our community, seeking donations from private individuals as well as applying for appropriate grant opportunities.
We feel that while this is a modest sized project, it could serve as a valuable model for other communities to follow on the same scale or a larger scale. We also see the potential for major funding to allow us to take this to a massive scale by creating a new industry in Haiti manufacturing portable geodesic domes for affordable earthquake safe housing solutions in rural or urban areas.
Partial list of Supporting Businesses:
3rd Ward Brooklyn
Buckminster Fuller Institute
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Marie Claudine Macena lives with seven other people at the Petionville Club camp. Her tent consists of sheets strung up on sticks, with an orange tarp tied over the top. At night, she sleeps with her children on a bed of cardboard.
"We're in a race against time," says Tony Banbury, the second in command of the U.N. mission in Haiti.
Banbury says the priority for the U.N. during this moment of the crisis is to get people some form of shelter and relocate those who are living in the most hazardous locations.
He says there are about 250,000 people living in "really dangerous places."
"So when the rains do come, people are going to be washed away — their tents, whatever they're living under, just washed out. Some are literally living in a dry riverbed that's going to be a raging torrent when the rains come," Banbury says.
The humanitarian response is in a frantic mode. There is no expectation that things are going to be done perfectly or that everyone is going to get a tent.
A recent U.N. memo said the goal is simply to get earthquake victims "something waterproof" to put over their shelters before the rains hit. The U.N. estimates that they've managed to do this for just over half of the families in need.
Depending on whether the rains hold off, they have a few weeks to distribute plastic sheeting to hundreds of thousands more, and try to relocate a quarter of a million people to camps that are not yet built.
Excuse me, Mr. UN Fancy Pants, but I know where there is a veritable shit ton of "something waterproof"
Walk outside of the UN Building. Go the only way you can go without falling into the East River. You'll probably be on 45th street. Walk eight blocks. I know it's alot of walking, Mr. Fancy Pants, you can take a cab if you like. Ok. Now, Look UP in any direction.
Where do you think these things end up after they've had their 2 weeks of glory?
I got two steamer trunks and an awesome, huge wooden road box on wheels. I will be using these to ship the dome covers in. I am going to cut out a stencil of the logo to spray paint the boxes, so they are recognizable. I will also spray paint the domes with it.
I am perched to do a kickstarter campaign, but I think I should first spend the weekend writing grants. If you all are wondering where the hell the first cover prototype is and why havent I completed it yet, so am I!
This is not the time to hire people in the US. The majority of the money I get through grants should go to people in Haiti. Hiring people there instead of bringing volunteers is way more supportive of their economy. We may think we are helping by bringing thousands of volunteers down there to help, but why not instead spend that airfare on hiring and supporting Haitian workers?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
As far as all of you awesome people who have contacted me about volunteering, THANK YOU.
We will be utilizing volunteers more after we have all the struts made. We will need help color coding them, sorting and packaging them for shipment. We'll be needing this help towards the end of the month. (April)
I am on the verge of getting a very large donation of materials from a huge company. Crossing my fingers that they will say yes. More on that later......
This project has been reminding me the importance of fluidity and adaptability. Sometimes it's better to just have a goal and let the road unfold. If you are going down one road and there is a roadblock, just turn a different way, perhaps you'll have to choose a dirt road instead. It doesn't matter as long as it gets you to where you want to go. I learned how to drive on a dirt road in a VW Bug in 1979. Thanks, Mom.
I am rethinking the second phase of the project, which is the delivering and assembling of the domes at various sites in Haiti. I am contact with two groups in Haiti who contacted me to collaborate on getting shelters to where they are most needed. One of the groups is called Grassroots United and they have offered logistical support and ground transport in Port Au Prince and the outlying areas. They have internet, a storage facility and connections within the local community. I was just contacted by an individual who lives up here but often travels to Haiti, whose mother is currently housing 20 kids on a piece of property in Laplaine. Her Mom is known in the area as someone that helps alot of kids. They have an orphanage, they need shelters. Her Uncle is a builder, so he can build platforms for the domes to be set up on, on stilts so that the rain wont flood underneath.
The part I am rethinking is the crew. When I get the funding, I think it would be better spent bringing some money down there to hire people from the local community to prep the sites by leveling the ground and digging trenches and if they can find scrap wood, building platforms.
Better to bring money in than to pay for airfare for American volunteers. I will go and I want maybe one person to come, a videographer to document the trip. I want to keep it small and manageable. If I can pay locals even 25 bucks a day, that is a huge amount. If I can pay them 50 bucks a day, that would be awesome.
I am working to network with existing organizations or individuals who already have groups of children in need of shelter. Also with the awareness that if I put a bunch of domes up in one location, more kids will show up, there is no shortage of kids. I am excited to work with this person who just called me, she sounds like she is doing great work AND they are not a religious organization, thank God. Or should I thank Dog. Her organization is also a non-profit and they're called Zanmid-Haiti. Means Friends of Haiti. I asked her about Restavecs which are kids that are given to families as basically slaves. They are often abused and made to sleep outside, just treated like shit basically. She said her Mom adopted one whose mother was going to throw her in the garbage. Holy shit. If I can find some of these kids and get them out of those situations, that would be absolutely amazing.
I am also connecting to some folks from Mutual Aid for Disaster Relief who are local in Brooklyn. They were first responders and sent several teams of medical staff to help in the beginning of the crisis. They invited me to a spaghetti dinner on Friday night which is some kind of fund raiser.
As far as the dome cover construction, I spent some time working on the prototype yesterday. I am working on finding a local manufacturer to do all the fabrication for free once I get the pattern nailed down. I have been offered the use of Ralph Lauren's Factory for cutting the vinyl.
I just need to get the pattern done and then wrassle all the vinyl up to the garment district and have it cut. Shit, for the prototype, I can just use glue. I will have to wait a few days for it to be delivered.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
PayPal balance: $226.07
in hand cash donations: $ 400
checks received: $90
total money donated to date: $716.07
Cash Paid Out:
drill bits: $16.04
gas money: $60
350 ten ft sticks of conduit pipe for prototype: $234
total paid out: $300
cash from self: $234
total paid out of donations: $76
current total amount: $640
To build ten domes we need 3500 ft X .54c= $1890 plus tax
I dont know how much the tax will be exactly, but ballpark we need around $1900
To get this excellent price we need $1350 more dollars right away because it's a bulk deal.
Buying the conduit pipe a little bit at a time is not cost effective at all.
These guys look like they are all ready to start clearing rubble and re-building. Oh, wait, that's an M16, not a shovel.
This is just the money to build the frames for the domes. We will need more money for airfare and ground support but that is not pressing at this point. Also, I am pretty sure I can find 2 or 3 willing crew members who can buy their own airfare. It's pretty cheap and I am also aware we could get a donation of air travel vouchers. If anyone reading this has a lead on vouchers, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
To fabricate the covers, we may not need any money, but only if i can find a tent manufacturer or some sort of awning manufacturer in the area that would do the job pro bono
or allow us access to their heat welder machine to weld the vinyl together.
Other options include gluing the pattern together with vinyl glue. We might have no choice but to
go this route, but I will try really hard to find the right machine so we can have solid and durable covers for the domes. Judging by these photos, which I found on the Washington Post's website, which they got from AP Photographer Ramon Espinosa, the standards are not too high that the people receiving these domes will complain that they are not well manufactured enough.
They wont be worried about whether we tested them in our handy rain simulator or back yard wind tunnel first. They wont be refusing to accept the domes because they are culturally foreign or because they wont know how to repair them should one of the tarps tear. I don't suspect the recipients of the domes will disassemble them and try to sell the metal after we leave, so they can live instead in a stick house made out of sheets and sticks. Some of the things people are saying to me are just a wee bit outlandish. I don't think people really get that the emergency situation is not over in Haiti. There is a second wave of disaster on it's way with all the raw sewage floating around and kids playing barefoot in it.
Only 60% of the population affected by the earthquake have received tarps to date. Those who haven't are living under sheets and scraps of metal. Have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night with a deluge of cold water slamming you in the face? I want to try to help at least 50 kids have a dry and secure place to sleep. Surely some of you who are reading this would like to do something to help as well? How much do you spend a day on consumables? Can you consume just a little less for a week and send the surplus cash to Haiti in the form of a geodesic dome? How much more pleasure will you get following this story as it unfolds knowing that you did something solid to help? I know, you are all "Haiti-ed" out, you gave already, you're done, please pass the salt.
Have you ever had to walk barefoot in the mud to go take a crap in a hole in the ground?
Trust me, if you have a hole, you'd be grateful.
The rains are falling in Brooklyn.
It's also raining in Haiti.
Read this report from the NY Times
This is a good website for current conditions in Haiti : Operation Biosurveillance
I'm really worried about the floors of the domes being flooded with raw sewage.
I am going to bring some shovels to Haiti. In the NY Times report it said people were digging with sticks. I think I can make a floor for the domes that seals up on the inside, so at least if the trenches we dig around the domes are not sufficient to keep out the water, it will stay under the vinyl. I can seal them up with velcro or clamps. If anyone knows any great clamping systems that doesn't puncture the tarps, please email with suggestions.
email me and let me know you are reading this blog.
AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
what are you waiting for?
- PayPal balance: $226.07 USD
What we need:
A heat sealer for vinyl or use of one - Does anyone know someone who works in a factory or a school that may have one of these machines? Fabricating the protoype for the covers is totally stalled because I am trying to solve this problem. I have someone who can cut all the vinyl into the pattern pieces. I just need the machine to weld the vinyl together. One that even ladies can operate.
Domes for Haiti is looking for two or three crew members to travel to Haiti with the second phase of this project. This is not a paid position. Airfare might be covered, but it's not a given.
We are looking for Haitian crew members or Haitian Americans. We are looking for a film maker who speaks creole and has been to Haiti many times. Crew will be responsible for on ground logistics, procuring transportation and for assembling the domes on location.
Please email me with your qualifications to be considered for this crew.
I am working on writing a script for a video my friend Dan is going to help me make. Allyse, the photographer sent me a cool little time lapse she made of us assembling the dome. We will use it to promote this project on kickstarter and other places.
I am dreaming up a media event for union square. It would be awesome if someone could find out the details about how to get a permit to build two domes in Union Square for one day. Anyone who has time and wants to volunteer, this is another thing that could be done.
I am watching this unfold and I am curious as to why not more people are throwing down a few bucks to help out.. I wonder if you all are treating this like a spectacle to be spectated upon, or is it something you can participate in in more of an aggressive manner such as giving actual cash money to make it happen. So far, 7 people have donated on paypal, yet 102 people have posted this on facebook. 490 visits to this blog have been tabulated in the last week.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The Dome assembly went amazingly well. We assembled the frame in two hours. With practice two people could do it in an hour. Here are some photos from the day:
We laid out the struts, 5 shorties in a star pattern, 5 longs around them to form a pentagon, bolted them together with the blue on top. I color coded the struts to make it easier, but then printed out the assembly diagram in black and white. Good thing I knew how to assemble it without the diagram!
The dome can be assembled with these two crescent wrenches. We used a ratchet wrench and a drill with a socket on it to tighten the struts down at the end, but the whole thing could be done with just two wrenches.
Olivia and Mo were a good team.
We built the six pentagons and then put 5 of them together to form the sides and then put the sixth one on top. More photos coming soon.
Mo decided it was a fabulous home for a New Orleans hobo dog turned Manhattan socialite.
She knows a thing or two about disaster relief.
The frame is very strong. We climbed all over it to test it
Much better test than a wind tunnel or a rain simulator.
Alysse came and took photos... hopefully they are more in focus than mine! She did time lapse so we can make an animation.
Thems alot of bricks. The yard out back
Will from Buckminster Fuller Institute came out to help assemble the dome!
Ryan showed up after we finished assembling the dome and were out back enjoying the sunshine. He was a little surprised that it was built already.
Elizabeth, whose truck, Clyde, helped us move the struts, came and joined us to watch the sunset over the East River.
In other news, David fixed one of the heat welders we had gotten donated to us a few weeks ago, but then we realized that they are designed for sealing packaging and not heavy duty vinyl. We are looking for someone who might have access to this machine or one like it:
Note halfway down the page it says
"The Ladies also can be trained to operate this machine."
That is such a relief. The Ladies will be happy to hear about it.
So far we are no where near our goal as far as fundraising and donations are concerned. I know there are a bunch of people reading this blog. We need your financial support to make this project go. We have everything lined up, we just need conduit pipe and a vinyl welder.
We met a new friend named Brett who works in the garment district as a factory manager. He is going to let us use his cutting table and machine to cut the patterns out of the vinyl.
Brett over in Greenpoint by the river
But first I have to make one prototype to make sure the pattern is good. For that I need a vinyl welder!
I was thinking of ways to attach the dome to the frame and I think I will extend the bottom panels down to loop back over the bottom struts and attach to the inside of the frame with velcro. I want to design a simple clamp that can go on top of that to hold it steady on the bottom strut without puncturing the vinyl. Grommets, I think, will just rip out. I'm scrapping the grommet idea.
In other news...............................
An amazingly small amount of people have donated considering how much traffic this blog is getting...... THANKS To Those of You Who Have Donated on PayPal, all 7 of you! If this project is going to succeed, we need at least 2 grand ASAP to buy the conduit pipe. Either that or we need to find someone willing to donate the conduit pipe. When donating, consider that paypal takes about a dollar of whatever you contribute. If you want to give me cash instead, feel free to email me at email@example.com to make an arrangement. We can go to the Electrical Supply store together and buy 350 ten foot sticks of 1" conduit pipe.
It's a bit maddening to read all of these articles about how the millions of dollars that have been donated to the big USA NGO's has a very small trickle down effect to the actual people who need help on the ground. We send the military to sit around with guns instead of shovels.
If I could tap into just a tiny portion of that money, I could finish this project and initiate more like it. Too much bureaucracy is like a money filter, it gets stuck on all the paper work
- PayPal balance: $206.95 USD
Look for us on Kickstarter early this week.
Thanks for reading!!!!
Spread the word!
Happy Spring Equinox Y'all!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
We will be having a Snack Potluck from 2- 6pm BYOB!
Bushwick Project for the Arts
304 Meserole St.
Anyone out there an electronics whiz? Anyone HAVE a heat welder they'd let us borrow for a month? This is muy importante.
we especially need a photographer to come tomorrow to document the entire build.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
However, in a month, I will be still needing to raise money for phase two of this project which is taking a small crew to Haiti to assemble the domes.
As soon as we get the first prototype built, I think it will be easier to raise money because we can show people what it is we are building. We will be ready to assemble it for sure on Saturday. Maybe we should have a spontaneous party right then and there. Email me if you want to come, I'll send the details...
I also called a local metal shop located in Greenpoint to get a quote on how much it would cost to have all the metal parts fabricated by one place and I called Laidman Fabrication. When I told him what we were building he said he'd do it for free if I supplied the materials.
So we need to raise 2,340$ this weekend. To buy 350 sticks of 1" conduit pipe. I have to figure out how much the nuts and bolts cost.
If you have 10 or 20 bucks laying around, why not donate it now. We need cash, fast.
The paypal button on your right is a secure, quick and easy way to donate the needed cash fast
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
If you click on it, you can give money to this project now. It will not be tax deductible as we are still operating independently of any fiscal sponsor. We are working towards having a 501c3 umbrella, but it is taking time. While the rains are falling in Haiti, we are without a shelter building shelters. How ironic. :}
My goal is to get this done as quickly as possible because the rains have started in Haiti. In the interest of expediency, I am forgoing the normal approach to forming a non profit. We dont have time for that, this project is moving very quickly, it is designed as a short project in response to an immediate need for shelters in Haiti.
In the meantime, if you want to donate, please feel confident that the money you send will go directly to materials for domes. My goal is to be as transparent as possible here on this blog.
From now on you will see a daily tally of incoming and outgoing funds posted.
Domes for Haiti presently has $383.96
I was talking with a friend tonight and he raised a very good question about the dome design. Because there is no platform for the domes to sit on, they will have dirt floors. I was thinking that people could dig a deep trench around the perimeter of the dome to divert the rain from going under the dome and making a muddy mess inside, but if there is too much flooding, it could become a mess. Ideally, we would want to construct a platform on stilts, but that would add a huge amount to our budget. There is a great modular design that I used years ago on my own dome that I used to live in. It was composed of 10 pie pieces that were bolted together underneath. I had mine up on stilts and it was great, like a tree house. In the interest of cutting costs and transportation issues, I am not going to be building platforms for these domes. Once we get to Haiti, we could conceivably hire Haitian people to build platforms if we had enough funding. In lieu of that, though, I was thinking that I could just make the floor part of the cover so that there was a seal between the floor and the walls. Another option would be to add extra vinyl siding that could serve as a sort of a skirt which could lay down over a trench on the outside. Or the domes could be built up on concrete rubble smashed into bits with a sledgehammer..... Any ideas out there? Why are you all so quiet... Just silent observers with no input? Maybe the people who receive the domes can just figure it out themselves. I am sure there is alot of ingenuity bouncing around down there. Necessity is the mother of invention they say.
A new volunteer showed up to help at 3rd Ward while David and I were making the jigs for drilling the holes in both ends of all the struts. Her name is Margaret. She started right in to work and sanded the ends of each strut in the electric sander so no one will cut themselves on the ends when they are being assembled.
I went out back to scrounge some 2 x 4's out of the dumpster to make the jigs with. David cut a groove into the wood and drilled stop blocks on the ends.
We changed the drill bit holder,
and adjusted the drill press to accommodate our project
I was the clamp monkey.
I borrowed David's goggles, Olivia was wearing mine.
I felt like I was at burningman. have you been to the burning man?
We used a vise grip clamp and an inverted scrap of the jig to hold each strut in place. We had to use alot of oil to keep the drill bit from going dull. We went through two drill bits for 70 struts, both ends. The oil stinks and it got really hot, so the drill bit was smokin'
Everything has a learning curve, so it improves each time we do something. For example, when Zach and I pressed the pipe ends, the first batch were the long ones and they were far less consistent then the second batch which were the shorties. Also, I realized when we were drilling them that the longer pipes were not only not consistent, but they were pressed at a slight angle because our jig was not perfectly level with the press. The longer struts are definitely more jenky than the shorties.
Then the 2 x 4 I got out of the dumpster turned out to be not true, and that was the jig for the longer struts, so the jenkyness continued in suit for the long struts. They are just not as well manufactured as the shorties. But then again, women are smarter than men in general and much better put together.
But I digress.
We came, we drilled, we conquered.
All 70 struts, shorties and longies drilled. Next step: angles.
I believe we will be assembling the first frame prototype on Friday. Anyone who wants to show up please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will tell you the location.
This is alot of work and it's just one dome. I really hope we get some funding and then maybe just have a manufacturer make the whole batch. If we did that, we could head to Haiti sooner. The rains have begun there now already.
The other idea of having high school students do the metal fabrication is also good. What about the mayors office, it could be a gesture of good will between the kids of NYC and the kids of Haiti.
We haven't even begun to work out the kinks in the dome cover design. Havent even begun. I am worried about finding skilled labor to help. People who have experience with a heat welder. Someone at 3rd Ward was telling me about a burning man project someone did last year there making an inflatable structure out of plastic and that they were using heat welders for it. I am going to post this blog on the burners without borders facebook page. Facebook is kind of gay but it's also a good tool. Speaking of gay, Guncle Aaron came to visit us yesterday to make sure we
What have I created???? This is a monster, consuming my life. I haven't even tried to call in for work, I dont have time! That is kind of effed up, because I need to make money. Also, I keep canceling chiropractic appointments because I have too much to do. I also am completely neglecting my art career, my website is down and I have done nothing to find a gallery to represent me. This is my art project. This is my job. This is my chiropractic adjustment.
I am feeling overwhelmed. I can't possibly do everything that needs to be done. Fundraising, grant writing, proposals, meetings, metal work, design work, vinyl melting. My brain is melting.
Not to mention the on the ground logistics.
Today I am going to meet with a possible fiscal sponsor. Wish me luck. I am going to get my back cracked too. Tomorrow i find out about the results of my surgery. Not looking forward to that.
One very important thing we need now is a shit ton of 3/8 " bolts, hex head with nuts and double flat washers. BIG? I need a full time scavenger. Anyone?