So far we have completed a total of seven (7) domes, the following sizes in two different locations we serve in our mission:
#4 x 16 foot domes near the village of Dlangubo, Zululand, KZN. This is at the site of our mission partners iZulu Orphan Project (IOP) (Here is the FaceBook Page) where we have trained about 25 health workers to do HIV, blood pressure, sugar and nutrition assessments over the past few years. This charity helps orphan children (largely as a result of the HIV and AIDS epidemic here) to attend school and assists with school fees, uniforms and supplemental food for the most at need families. This is located in a rural area which is under the administration of a Zulu tribal induna.
#3 x 10 foot domes in Amaoti, a peri-urban settlement on the NW fringe of the Durban metropolis. These domes are used by health builders we have trained in this community for quail and layer chicken housing.
The response of people who have the domes is amazement at how well they work for housing poultry in this setting. Also how weather resistant (wind, rain) and how few poultry have been lost due to overheating or thirst issues in the domes. We have lost a few quail due to the quail sticking their necks outside through the chicken wire and cats grabbing them. No animals are getting into the domes. For the most part the constraint here is that people don’t have access to much land and this means that the domes are mainly static structures. What little grass there is is likely to be eaten by cattle or goats in our settings.
We are also interested in using the domes as nurseries for fruit trees and Chaya, a plant we introduced in our area originally from Central America.
People have commented that they could live in these domes and like the look. They are very similar in shape to the traditional Zulu beehive hut. I am sending a picture of one of these for you. I think that this similarity has led to an acceptance of the design from an aesthetic point of view in the Zulu communities.
We are planning on building many more of these domes and funding permits and also as we have worthy partners to build them for. We prioritize men and women who are helping us train other health builders and running Discovering God Together groups in their area. The poultry skills training we engage in prepares them for all aspects of the life cycle of poultry and also the local marketing of the birds. We do incubation, brooding, growing out, laying and hatching operations for the Potch Koekoek chickens and jumbo Japanese quail.
The domes are very strong and we hang food and water from the hubs. We have used rags to protect the tarps from the exposed edges of the hubs. We have had no theft issues or removal of chicken wire from the structures.
Our local prices for materials are probably similar to the US. I paid $76 each for six rolls of 1.2M x 50M 25mm hexagonal galvanized chicken mesh just a few days ago. One roll does one 16 foot dome. We pay $67 for two 4 x 4M tarps which have grommets for placing over the domes. I paid about $150 for the PVC pipe for the spars, another $35 for the hubs and collars, $25 for the large zip ties and $12 for the small cable ties. The total costs for a 16 foot dome in my setting is therefore about $365 for the parts plus time for cutting and assembly.
I will be in the US for a family reunion in about ten days in California. If you would recommend your preferred vendor for Forstner bits and a tool to sharpen same I would be much obliged. I will send you photos in this post and more later.
Yours in Christ,