Brazil 2014 Week 3: Corkscrews and Caipirinhas

Week 3: After recovering from construction, we got down to some serious research, hunted for tools and got covered in paint.

the giant corkscrew

After experiencing first hand the horror that is digging the holes for the foundations of the house, the team were even more determined to find some way of making it easier! Jonny, Izhan and Chico headed out of the office to find Brazil’s answer to B&Q. After a reportedly treacherous bus journey, they found what they were looking for; an auger. This is, to those of us who aren’t overly familiar with tools used for boring holes in the ground, essentially a giant corkscrew. We’re going to try it out on our next construction in Rio. Here’s a picture of Jonny looking far too excited about it.


Left: “I can finally open that massive bottle of wine!” Right: Izhan got a modelling contract with a Brazilian hardware store

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“I’m in engineering heaven!”

We’ve also been looking into different types of pile coatings, outside wall paints and floor varnishes, which we hope to be able to test out very soon. It’s all in aid of making the house last longer- though we have to keep a very close eye on cost!

tHE “KEEPOD” TO success?

After working out how to use the Brazilian postal system, we received an exciting package! Well, it contained a memory stick… but a very exciting memory stick!

Jonny has been looking into Keepod, a scheme which tries to increase access to computers in deprived communities. It is essentially an operating system on a memory stick, which can be plugged into a computer and used as you would any other computer. When you remove your memory stick, your operating system and all your files go with you, allowing the next person to come along with their “Keepod” and do the same. This allows many individuals (perhaps a whole community) to access the same computer almost as if it were there own. You can read more about Keepod here.

Testing out Keepod on our computers!

Testing out Keepod on our computers!

We’ve been doing some research, chatting to TETO and looking over their survey results to see if Keepod, or something similar, would be useful here. Karolina and I have been busy planning our own surveys to take to the communities (watch this space for more on that!), and we’ve made sure to include lots of questions about technology to try and gauge how helpful this project could be. We’ve also been testing out Keepod and similar alternatives on our own computers. It makes Becky’s computer significantly faster- perhaps we’ll be taking it back to Cambridge!


Covered in paint!

Covered in paint!

At the weekend we returned to the São Rafael community to paint the houses we built last weekend. It was a big community activity, with all the kids coming out to join in with the panting. Earlier in the week we’d discussed changing the paint to some kind of varnish to help make the houses last longer, but after watching everyone get thoroughly covered in painted hand prints, it was clear that varnish wouldn’t have the same fun factor!

So long, farewell!

On Wednesday we sadly said goodbye to Jeremy (our “fun director”), who had to head back to the UK to start his new job. We gave him a very Brazilian send off, with a night of caipirinhas (a delicious Brazilian cocktail!) and samba with some of the TETO crew.

That’s it for now from the Brazil team! Over and out.