Tarps Are Down, Last Building is Underway!

After a long and strange rainy season this year, the tarps have come down on all buildings except for our newest (and last campus buildings!) for administration and the cafeteria.

Aula 1 featuring a finish of plastic liter bottle shingles

Aulas 1-3, which are domed Earthbag structures, were started in 2013. As you probably know by now, we have been experimenting quite a bit, especially with natural finishes. Each of the 3 domes had different forms of finishing on the top half. However, this last year we have found that none of them were enough for the rains of Guatemala. Which is why they all got full transformation face-lifts this summer. We like using plastic liter bottles cut up to make "shingles", which will repel the rains and hardly ever break down, after proving to work well on the guard building. As well as, keeping in the form of innovation and creative beauty, we added stones to the top of Aula 2 and a beautiful smooth red finish on Aula 3. Since the tarps came down a few weeks ago we have had a few rains and they have already held up beautifully! We have collected water between these roofs and the roofs of Aulas 4-7 (thanks to One Days Wages) directly into our 45,000 gallon cistern, which we kept full, for it's premier rain-collecting-season!

Aulas 3,2,1 (right to left) with their new finishes

Aulas 3,2,1 (right to left) with their new finishes

Stone waterfall into the pila at the housing complex

Stone waterfall into the pila at the housing complex

Another big advance we have made this summer was to the Bamboo House and Tire Kitchen that will serve as a housing complex for staff/volunteers. The bamboo structure was started and designed by University of Colorado Denver in 2013. This year we had to cut down the thick cement roof to replace it with the plastic shingles, finish the inside walls and the earthen floor. A corridor was created to collect rain water and a waterfall to fill the pila that is currently being built. The corridor connects to the tire structure kitchen, whose walls have been finished and already crawling with animals. The kitchen will feature a fireplace, counter space, and a pull down Murphy bed! It is coming along quickly and we expect it to be livable by the end of the year. This complex is a great example of what we (or our future students) can do to build a home, whether it is here in Comalapa or around the world.

housing complex with tire kitchen and bamboo house to the right

housing complex with tire kitchen and bamboo house to the right

walls of computer lab/library from the inside

Roof of computer lab/library

The Computer Lab/Library is coming along too. The walls have been built using cob (mix of mud, manure and hay), ecobricks and glass bottles to give it a beautiful effect from the inside for our future studious alumni. There are over 2,000 glass bottles between the roof and the walls. The building sits on top of the large cistern giving it a double purpose. The electricity has been installed and the finishing is being laid on the inside of the roof - made of lyme, manure and human hair.

Our most exciting prospect is the start and quickly progressing administration/cafeteria building! This is our last campus building. The tire foundation has already made it to floor level and moving along. Support Long Way Home to ensure we complete construction of these buildings in time to celebrate with you in Comalapa on February 11, 2017.

To see more photos of the construction progress, visit and like our Facebook page!