Life in Kabul, AFG

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Billy VanCuren, Nov 30, 2015.

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  1. Billy VanCuren

    Billy VanCuren New Member

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    As I was digressing from the intent of the other thread, I thought I would start a new one to post any new developments or updates more specifically about my year in Kabul. Not a diary, but a place I can post questions about a larger range of topics.

    For instance, we discussed air quality and fires resulting in deaths. At this very moment I am sitting in my office finding it difficult to breath just from the amount of wood smoke that encompasses the area. It is easier to breath in my office than it is outside and I have disconnected the fire alarms in the room because I got tired of them going off.

    As for the refugees, the government is making a move to get people off the streets and out from under the bridges. The Health Ministry is working on this and using a recently acquired military compound. They requested the area for its existing barracks to house and conduct rehab for the thousands of heroin addicts that comprise the refugee population.
     
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  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Billy,
    Good idea for a thread.
    My understanding is that firewood is in short supply as the hillsides have been de-nuded of forest. What are the people burning (remembering the burning tires during winter in Juarez)?
    I've often considered that Kabul would be the perfect place to introduce rocket mass heaters since they burn minimal wood very cleanly and offer heat for hours after the fire is out.
     
  3. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i think it's just amazing at what people are trying to do to help others in need with all the other stuff going on over there it's just a tremendous challenge. kudoes and *hugs*
     
  4. Billy VanCuren

    Billy VanCuren New Member

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    I'm already trying to resource the materials for some Rocket stoves to build for demonstration at my worksite. Practice for myself as well - I didn't get around to it before I left. As for what are they burning, smell like pallets and tires and trash. My teammate and I were just discussing this. He's rocking a HEPA filter mask and can't believe the difference (improved) in breathing quality. In the south (Paktika Province), they gather what looks like tumbleweeds and stash them all over the place to burn. They would be the most helped by a Rocket stove and most of the little houses that I visited could directly put one in without much effort.
     
  5. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    To my mind, the most important (and difficult to obtain) elements of a RMH would be the firebrick or refractory cement and the stovepipe ... maybe also insulation materials for the central "flue". I would imagine that 55 gallon drums would be available for scavenge. If clay isn't available for cob, Paul Wheaton has built one from a board framework filled with gravel.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Billy VanCuren

    Billy VanCuren New Member

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    That's a great idea. I get lost at the permies site just chasing comments! Oddly enough, I was sitting in one of the offices around here today and found an article that relates to research I helped with a few years ago (2009). I have been pursuing that course in my own philosophy about what to do around here to help people. My research was about the environment and how it exacerbated conflict or led to it. This article was about a specific example of what my research led us to understand. People with food/water security were less inclined to fight and more willing to fight for what they had against tyrants of all types. I never met either gentlemen mentioned in the article, but I was here working with the Afghans during that same timeframe.

    https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/a...ng-the-garden-in-village-stability-operations
     
  7. Marcus Busby

    Marcus Busby Junior Member

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    Hi Billy,

    Just reading your comments regarding the smoke.. Chris Evans has done an incredible lot of work in Nepal, he is currently advisor to Himalayan Permaculture Centre (HPC). You can see their progress reports on the website. Here.

    One of the big projects to improve health has been to design, install and train people, on how to install Improved Stoves. (This is a link to a book chapter describing their construction) These are smoke- free interior cooking hobs made from free, locally available materials, using very easy to make tools. There is a video below. This have had a marked improvement on the health of local people - both in terms of lung and eye disorders. They also save a lot of firewood because they use a rocket stove design, and they also cut down on a lot of cleaning. There are many other benefits listed in the book chapter. This health improvements are recorded in the reports, linked above.



    Chris has also written, with colleagues The Farmers' Handbook (this is a link to permaculturenews article and free pdf dowloads of all chapters). A really clearly written and well illustrated manual for all topics useful for improving local resilience, health and growing infrastructure. There are 5 volumes; one for each of the permaculture zones.

    This was originally written in Nepali language, by Chris who had learnt the local language. And later translated into English. It may be that it is possible to translate into a local language for where you are working. There are no complicated words or language and it is still very concise, the illustrations are very clear and also may suit the Afghani culture.

    Chris has also worked to develop education for womens health. Women are taught about menstrual cycles, hygiene, and also the preparation of some basic herbal remedies for tummy ache, headaches, coughs and so forth. This is described in the reports, with records kept for numbers of people treated, numbers of ailments recorded, and number of people attending training sessions. Again, these all correlate to marked improvement in health and well-being. The records go back for several years.

    Hope this may help with the smoke! Chris is to be found on Permaculture Global, also contactable through the HPC website.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
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