Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

The Houses That Bottles Built

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

The Houses That Bottles Built

Article excerpt

WHEN INGRID Vaca Diez received a letter from a little girl asking for a house where she could protect herself from the rain and floods, she decided to build a housing project for low-income families in Warnes, Bolivia. Today the little girl's dream has come true, and her new house is made out of plastic bottles!

Ingrid is the mother of three children and a lawyer who specializes in business administration. Born in Warnes, the capital of the province of Ignacio Warnes, nearly twenty miles from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, she became familiar with the needs of the people in this town at an early age.

"They haven't been able to get decent housing," says Ingrid, "so when it rains, they have to seek shelter in the schools." Ingrid spends a lot of her time doing volunteer work on the rights of women and children of this Bolivian region. "These houses are easy to build and you can make progress quickly if you have all of the materials you need, because the future home owners provide all the labor with the help of the masons who put up the walls. The most tedious and time: consuming part of the work is probably filling up the bottles with sand and dirt. But it's not a dangerous job. Even the children in the families get involved in the task. They see it as a game." The community works together to collect bottles, whether it's from the trash or some other place. All assistance is welcome.

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Ingrid notes that the idea of building environmentally friendly houses is not a new one, but that these particular ones have been a big financial relief for the poorest members of the community. …

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