Friday, October 16, 2009

Criteria A - Investigation

Investigation Cr.A

In IT, we are beginning a project based on the ger districts. Our goal is to choose one thing to improve that will lives of people in the ger districts. We, the 9th grade class, are faced with the problem that the majority of people living in UB have a difficult life. The ger districts take up most of UB. 800,000 people live in ger districts. The people living there are not necessarily poor, but they still have a hard life. The do not have running water and they are far from any public services. There lives do not need to be this difficult. It is possible to improve the lives of people living in ger districts using the simplest technology. Creating a better fence and gate, making an outhouse which is more efficient, finding a better way for transporting water. We are capable of changing this.

We started our research by going on a field trip through the Bayanzurkh Ger District. About 7,200 people live in this ger district. There are about 10-15 well stations which provide water for these people. We learnt that 1L of water costs 1MNT. This may seem cheap, but 1L of water is not enough to last a day. The water stations open at 10 am everyday. 1000 L of water are in each water station, and its refilled every day.

We walked through the ger district and saw how people built their fences and outhouses. The fences were usually built from scrap metal and wood, and sometimes the hinges were made from old tires. To build a whole fence costs about 10 months salary. Then you also have to consider the manual labor needed. The outhouses were primarily wood shacks on top of holes. The holes needed to be about 1 m2 and 3 meters deep. We got to experience building a toilet. It takes a lot of time and hard work. We also began rebuilding a gate. You had to dig holes about a meter deep so that when you put the posts in they wouldn’t fall over. Digging toilets and holes for fences is challenging enough, but without the right tools and enough tools it a lot more work. I noticed this while building the toilet. There was only 1 good spade.

We also got to go into a woman’s ger and eat donuts and the milk tea. From her we learn about the cost of wood and coal. 1 bad of wood and coal lasts one day, though if it gets very cold in the winter it could be more. Wood is 1,200MNT and coal is 1,500MNT. Buying a ger is also expensive. A second hand ger costs about 1,000,000MNT and a new one is 1,500,000MNT.

Most of the land the ger districts are built on is land no one else wants. This is because of landfills, flash floods and it’s far from public services.

While walking through the ger district it was hard for me to imagine living there. Life had to be difficult. We saw kids at the well stations collecting water with their carts. You have to carry bags of wood and coal, which are not light. And you have to use an out house. =S Now I have the chance to create something which could improve the lives of people living in the ger districts. I think it’s important because it plays such a big role in UB. The ger districts are the majority of UB. It’s the real thing. I think we should help improve the lives of people. It’s only if everyone works together that things can get better. The ger districts are also a big contributor to pollution in UB. There is so much trash! The stoves are needed but they cause horrible air pollution, and even the use of outhouses has an affect. All the waste enters the ground and then the water. I think if I can figure out a better way to reuse or dispose of the trash it would be a lot better. One of the only things Mongolia has is tourism. Tourists come to see the nature. Unfortunately there is a LOT of trash. If you start in UB with teaching people how to recycle or get rid of the trash correctly it will slowly spread out everywhere.

We went to the current community center of Flourishing Futures. There are classes available for students. There are sports activities and a head-start preschool for free. There are also women support meetings. Carpentry classes are held to teach adults and kids. A bakery has been created run by an all Mongolian staff. They sell baked goods to the Bayanzurkh area.

When we went to the ger district we had Sukhee as our guide. Mr.Chilton and Mrs.Wilson also added what they knew about the ger district and living in an area like the ger district. On our second trip, Mr.Trvdik told us about building outhouses and fences. He showed us where the new Community Center for Flourishing Future was going to be created. Then he told us about the gate and introduced us to this project.

Suhkee, . Personal Interview by Grade 9. 7 October 2009.

Chilton, Dave. Personal Interview by Grade 9. 30th September.

Wilson, Melanie. Personal Interview by Grade 9. 30th September.

Trvdik, Troy. Personal Interview by Grade 9. 7 October 2009.

"Flourishing Futures PowerPoint." IT Class. Flourishing Futures N.G.O., 5 October 2009. Address.

Investigation Cr.A 2

In technology class, we have been given the assignment to create something that will improve the lives of people living in the ger districts. I have decided to create a more efficient outhouse. I chose this because the outhouses pollute the ground and water. I think it is possible to make them more efficient. The waste could be used as fertilizer and then the ground water would stay clean.

Over the summer I went to Huvskul. We stayed at this one ger camp where the outhouses had been created to be efficient and practical. The outhouse was actually built on top of a barrel or container. Made out of wood, you would go into the outhouse and after going to the toilet you would put sawdust or dirt down the hole. This soaks up the moisture. When the barrel is full you go empty it onto some land. The waste then becomes fertilizer. I though this was such a good idea. In theory, outhouses would be good because of the waste/fertilizer entering the ground. There is too much waste in on place. Mongolia’s land is not very fertile, but if you have fertilizer it could improve. Imagine, on one person’s land they could create a little garden that could supply the basic vegetables during the summer. If that is successful then a greenhouse could be built. Using the waste from the outhouse you can grow the plants. I see it as a 2 in 1 thing. Building an efficient outhouse where the waste can be recycled and then used to build a garden is a great idea.

To build a regular toilet, people usually use scraps. To build a brand new toilet is costs about 300,000 Tugrek. Because you need to be able to take the container in and out, the toilet needs to be built on the ground. It needs to be;

· 3.5 m tall – the area under the outhouse is going to 1 m and then the actual toilet space will be 2.5 meters high

· 1x1m floor area

· 1 container about 70 cm high

· Wood or metal sheets for the wall and floor

· A bucket and shovel with dirt. This is for keeping away the smell and making it fertilizer. The dirt can be from the own plot.

The final toilet which I am going to create a model of will have to be

· Affordable

· Efficient

· Stable

· Looks good

· Generally realistic

These are my specifications of my final design. The toilet will have to be stable so that it is sustainable. Because of the bucket of dirt, you will be able to turn the waste into fertilizer. After you go to the bathroom you put a shovel of dirt down the hole too. This soaks up the liquids and turns the waste into fertilizer. If you use sawdust it also keeps down the smell.

My final creation with be a realistic model. It will include all the details I spoke about. I will use modeling clay, toothpicks and glue. To test my final toilet, I will create a survey or a poll. Then I will ask a variety of people to fill it out. It will include questions which will need an opinion to be answered. Based on the survey results I will see if my toilet would be effective and realistic. Maybe this could become the “new toilet” of the ger districts. =)