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3-Day Rocket Mass Heater Workshop

To warm up our indoor spaces in the cold wet season, we began construction of Rocket Mass Heaters, which eventually will be in all of the buildings. A Rocket Mass Heater is a highly efficient wood-burning stove, built of mostly local and recycled materials, which requires a fraction of the wood than a conventional stove.

Most regular wood stoves burn inefficiently, releasing lots of smoke, particles and hot unburned gases into the outdoors. However Rocket Mass Heaters, when built correctly, have such complete combustion that the air leaves the chimney clean and un-smokey, and most heat is contained within the house, so the air also leaves cold. Instead of wasting the heat by discharging hot gas into the outdoors, it is fed through a cob and rock bench so that the gas temperature is greatly reduced by the time it leaves the building; and, not only do you have a fire/stove, you also have a heated bench, increasing indoor comfort.

 

With this technique, combustion is more complete, less firewood is needed, and thus pollution and carbon dioxide gases are reduced too. Rocket Mass Heaters turn almost all the wood into heat, and can store almost all of the heat generated for optimal comfort.

 

The course was a great success, with 4 students taking part, and our apprentice Tobias teaching parts of the workshop. In just a few days we were able to get the main structure up and fired, and it works great. The stonework on the exterior really adds a nice touch. We built it in the common room where everyone eats and spends most of their time. During the cold season it is REALLY cold, so after 2 years of the frigid temperatures we are all very excited to have this up and running.

Customized Workshops

 

In April 2014 the Ka’Way Monti  School for Sustainability dropped its more formal format of holding set date workshops and began what we called Customized Workshops.  This was based on a much more condensed, short term version of our Natural Building Apprenticeship program.  Anyone interested in learning could show up when it was convenient for them and take part in any of our natural building projects as a full fledged student for a minimum of a week until they felt ready to move on.  This was an extremely successful method to cater to our transient clientele of sustainably minded trekkers and off-grid enthusiasts.

In many cases, these impromptu students contacted us ahead of time and we were able to give construct a class of a few interested parties who would overlap, though some showed up solo for a one on one intensive over a week or two before pushing on again on their travels.  These students learned anything from how to make natural plasters, adobe bricks, cob building, superadobe construction, natural flooring methods, roofing, rocket mass heater construction, etc.  This also was an excellent teaching platform for our apprentices to profess what they’d learn and hone their leadership skills in groups.

Whitey Flagg, our natural building instructor over this time, had returned to the States with his wife, Cyndi, and 6 year old son, Jackson.  Unfortunately his replacement, Saji Zagha, experienced some complications when renewing his visa and had to return for some time to the West Bank.  Due to this unforeseen circumstance we have suspended our programs until we resume with our youth leadership course, Living-Change, in August 2015.  Whitey and family have recently moved to Costa Rica and are opening their own Natural Building and Healing space there, which we are all excited about.

However, if you’re still interested in learning and working with us, we have re-opened our various ongoing natural building projects to any interested volunteers.  Please see our page on Volunteering for more details or write us at kawaymonti@gmail.com.

Natural Building Apprenticeship

 

Our Natural Building Apprenticeship program was one of our most successful programs from 2013-14.  From day 1 of deciding to offer this program we had a continuous flow of apprentices over the 11 months it was available. This was an intensive program teaching many natural building techniques such as cob, adobe, superadobe, rocket mass heaters, earthen ovens, and more to students from around the world. These apprentices were also given the opportunity to teach in many of the various workshops we held along the way, or head up teams students from our Customized Workshops, to gain the experience of holding leadership roles on projects.  Finally, it was also an experience of living in community off grid and occasionally working with the local Quechua on various projects.  Many of whom studying with us over the 1-3 months commented that it was the community living itself that made this experience so valuable and unique to the apprenticeship.

 

Whitey Flagg, our natural building instructor over this time, has returned to the States with his wife, Cyndi, and 6 year old son, Jackson.  Unfortunately his replacement, Saji Zagha, experienced some complications when renewing his visa and had to return for some time to the West Bank.  Due to this unforeseen circumstance we have suspended our programs until we resume with our youth leadership program, Living Change, in August 2015.  Whitey will also be returning to Peru, to our great enthusiasm, to open his own school in the Sacred Valley.  Details on that as it unfolds.

 

However, if you’re still interested in learning and working with us, we have re-opened our various ongoing natural building projects to any interested volunteers.  Please see our page on Volunteering for more details or write us at kawaymonti@gmail.com.

2014