We got up early this morning to take a trip to the MASS Group offices. The bus was unavailable, so the full team had to take moto taxis for the first time. At first, we were hesitant but by the time we arrived we all wanted to take them again.
MASS Group are a non-profit architectural firm whose mission is to research, build and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity. Unusually for an engineering firm 50% of their staff are female, of which we were given presentations by four women about their roles within the company and recent projects. They particularly focus on the research into using readily available materials for construction which are usually discarded. For their agricultural university campus which is currently under construction, they found it fitting to use earth from the ground as walls. Compressing the earth forms bricks as sturdy as cement. They also make use of volcanic rock for buildings in primary schools, a material which is common in ‘the land of a thousand hills’ but is usually deemed unsafe for building with. The girls were inspired by MASS groups effort towards innovation, safety and sustainability and are very excited to visit the agricultural campus (RICA) next week.
We took a short walk to visit some of the sights of Kigali and to appreciate some of the buildings in the area. The Kigali Convention Centre caught our eye as we were told its design was based on traditional African huts, while integrating the modern aspects of Kigali.
In the afternoon, we decided we wanted to make the most of the unique fabrics available in Rwanda. A local seamstress recommended by Lydie, the Rwandan team leader, visited our accommodation to take our measurements for our desired garments. We then took a walk into town with her to pick out some fabrics. We will take a visit to her workshop next week to try on the garments and make any final changes if need be. We are so excited to see the finished handmade product!! Stay tuned for pictures!!
The FemEng in Rwanda Team 2019 🙂