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It was as Smoky as in Zenica’s Steelworks!
Monday, 10 May 2010 Written by fra Ivica Perić

Brick FactoryBrick Factory

In Rwanda, one of the most profitable companies is the Brick Factory. It is located on the banks of the largest river in Rwanda, the Nyabarongo, not far from the capital city of Kigali and surrounded by vast swamps. In a symbolic way, this factory represents the contrast between the power-base of Kigali and the rural areas of Rwanda. Therefore it is not surprising that to all those travelling to the capital city, whether from distant Butare, from Gitarama or from Cyangugu, the huge factory producing a myriad of styles of drying  bricks represents a dream – a dream because not many can have a brick house in a country where houses are usually made from mud and cow dung.

Brick FactoryBrick Factory

Hopefully, our students in CFJ Padri Vjeko Trade School will, through knowledge acquired in our classes, change this situation.  Recently, after being taught all the techniques of bricklaying and construction of houses, water tanks etc. the students began learning to make real bricks! It was not an easy task. First, they had to form the bricks from mud and after allowing them to dry, to burn them. When they started this work of burning, some of them did not sleep for days, and the entire surroundings were engulfed in smoke like at Zenica’s Steelwork, (Zenica is a well-known town in Bosnia & Herzegovina with a factory for steel production).  However – our students succeeded!

They approached their task very seriously. They had to haul all the clay and sand - the basic materials from which bricks are made. We had prepared the moulds earlier. Next step was to “properly” mix the sand and clay with water to make mud. After that, they filled the moulds to form the necessary shapes. The newly-formed bricks had to be laid on soil for some days to dry. When the “new bricks” had dried enough, we started to lay them down in huge mound that from a distance looked like pyramid. Then the students started a fire in the “basement” of this pyramid and maintained a constant heat for three days and nights so that it would penetrate the pile of bricks and complete the drying process.

Brick FactoryBrick Factory

They are proud because they carried out the entire task without my supervision. They had carefully followed all given instructions. A similar thing had happened a few months earlier when, they had also carried out all the instructions in order to prepare the land for the school garden.

The greatest reward will be that they will use these bricks to further their bricklaying knowledge and techniques which are being taught at the school. The bricks produced will also be used in the construction of classrooms in our new secondary school. And a future job in that factory near Kigali is no longer impossible!

Translated by: bitno. hr
Edited by: Valerie K. K.

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