Archive for July, 2020

July 29, 2020

Alanga

Alanga is the Lingala name for the cooler season in Kinshasa. The temperature falls between 20-30 degrees instead of 30-35, it is often overcast, and there is very little rain. Early in the year it was the hot and rainy season and the river was very high and flooding some houses bordering the river. In contrast, now the river is at its lowest and areas normally under water are exposed. It has created a seasonal public space where people can walk out on the rocky and sandy riverbed. It is also an economic opportunity as many people go out and mine the rock. Unfortunately the low river has created stagnant pools that are a breeding ground for mosquitos. We are enjoying the more comfortable climate despite the rise in these unwanted visitors to our apartment! We have also enjoyed a few walks to the river.

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July 23, 2020

Moses at 5 Months

This month has seen many big changes! Moses is sleeping in his own room in a bigger crib and sleeping mostly through the night. He spends most of his time on his stomach (of his own accord!), and is rotating and army crawling trying to follow his toy ball or my foam roller. He was also showing so much interest in food that we decided to start feeding him solids. He makes funny faces at first but really enjoys it!

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July 21, 2020

Protected: Your Fifth Month

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July 18, 2020

Cardboard Crib

One challenge about having a baby in Congo is that there isn’t a market for used stuff. I think that if we were in Canada we would have many used baby things thrown our way as friends and relatives declutter their homes post-having children. Or else we could look for used stuff on Craigslist, Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. When looking at new cribs we found that the options are either cheaply made or super expensive (we need a middle ground option here like IKEA!). We chose a third option of designing a wood crib to get made, but because of the pandemic we had to post-pone our plans. But we have a growing baby that we can’t hit the pause button on and so I had the idea to design a temporary cardboard crib. I thought that even after he is done with it, we can use it as a play item.

The design uses a strategy of cuts and folds so that one single piece of cardboard can form one side of the crib with very little waste. Then I added internal reinforcing with layered cardboard on the inside of all of the junction points. I used the cardboard we had leftover from our freezer purchase, but only had enough for three sides. To still make it work we have the crib pushed up against the headboard of the bed. It will serve until Moses is able to pull himself to standing. I am very happy with the results! One change I would make is to add additional layers of cardboard on the inside of the top and bottom rung for additional lateral support. It took me a few weeks to make because I had to cut and score everything by hand (and I am a busy mom with many other things to do!), but if drafted in CAD the design could be laser cut in a matter of minutes.

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Final result!

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Sketch of flat sheet with cuts and scores (solid vs dotted lines)

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Card mock-up

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July 9, 2020

Community Development with Architecture and Mapping

My blog has become home to many different lists because I find it is a convenient way to keep track of different things I want to remember and I like that I can constantly update them and other people can benefit from them. This list includes organizations, events, and resources that I have discovered related to community development with architecture and mapping. I have divided it into categories of Affordable and Sustainable Architecture, Focus on Earthen Architecture, Community Mapping and Upgrading, Engineering for Global Development, Events, and Online Resources. If there is a asterisk symbol beside it, it means I have experience with the organization, tool, or event, so that if you would like to know more about my experience, you can get in touch!

Affordable and Sustainable Architecture

Focus on Earthen Architecture

Community Mapping and Upgrading

  • Common Thread Global  – project assessment tool
  • *KoboToolBox – data collection – land rights – community engagement
  • Kounkuey Design Initiative – USA – Kenya – Sweden – global – multidisciplinary – community engagement and upgrading
  • mHS City Lab – India – community engagement and upgrading
  • *OpenDataKit – data collection – land rights – community engagement
  • *OpenStreetMap – global – open source vector map
  • *QGIS – open source GIS software – land rights
  • SDI (Know Your City) – community mapping and upgrading
  • Social Tenure Domain Model – plugin for QGIS – land rights
  • Spatial Collective – Kenya – data collection – community engagement – advocacy
  • UN Habitat – global – promotion – training – community upgrading – leadership development
  • Ushahidi – global – crowdsourced mapping and reporting

Engineering for Global Development

Events

Online Resources

 

 

July 3, 2020

Cooking in Kinshasa

Now that I am in Kinshasa, the produce that is available is even more limited than it was in Kampala. I am learning to cook the standard Congolese fare, but I also like to change things up because experimenting and trying new things is what makes cooking fun. So I am learning new recipes with the foods that are available. Here is another list of recipes that I am building. Like my other lists, it will grow over time!

Savoury:

Amaranthus Potatoes Curry by vahrehvah.com I prepare this without the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and green chilly and it still turns out well.

Easy Pinto Beans from Scratch by minimalistbaker.com This recipe has nice Mexican-inspired flavours.

 

Sweet:

Lemon Cake by preppykitchen.com I only prepared the cake part without frosting or filling and it was still delicious.

Pumpkin Bread by onceuponachef.com I prepared this without ground cloves and it was still delicious. I’m also not sure if what I used was technically a pumpkin, but the flavour and consistency is similar. Instead of canned pumpkin puree, I cut up the fresh pumpkin/squash, boiled it until tender, and then mashed it up.

 

Other:

Easy Homemade Bread Recipe by liluna.com I have been baking two batches (4 loaves) every week since self-isolation began so that we don’t have to go out and buy bread every few days. It turns out every time!

Easy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds by inspiredtaste.net I season it with curry and a dash of chili powder. This is now my go-to recipe whenever we have a pumpkin or squash since seeds are so healthy and I haven’t found seeds sold here.

 

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