Better than Concrete
Roads, driveways, and sidewalks in the United States are typically made of concrete and are something we take for granted.
In countries where Ten by Three serves, a surface made of concrete is a luxury and can be a powerful tool to sustainably exit poverty. In rural Ghana, families live in compounds where small mud huts surround a shared space. This shared space is where family meetings are held, crops are prepared, and children do their homework. It is the hub of communal family life.
The compound is vital to the families’ source of income. If well prepared, it provides a clean, dry place to weave baskets, as well as prepare crops for consumption, storage, and sale. To create these essential surfaces, villagers use a unique, centuries-old method. It is impressive to watch.
The women are using wooden mallets to compact gravel which has been soaked with water and mixed with fresh cow dung. This challenging work is completed while singing songs of encouragement to one another. Once the land is thoroughly compacted, which will take hours, they spread a thin layer of cement. This completed compound (photo to the right) belongs to a Blessing Basket Project Graduate in Ghana. Imagine how difficult it would be to prepare and store a harvest if this area was dirt. The average driveway in the United States is made of concrete 4-inches thick.
In Ghana, ancient methods of ground compaction ensure a half an inch of concrete will last many years. The next time you look at your driveway, remember the women of Ghana who could sustain their entire family on a concrete surface that large and sturdy.