Almost a year has passed since we first met Wayne and Fred from the Build A Dream Organization and ever since our initial interaction our club has been trying to figure out a way to work together to help assist with the work they are doing in the rural town of El Vaquero, Mexico.  Now we are happy to say that a plan is in motion and we are on our way to what will hopefully become a sustainable project for years to come.



Check out this great article written by Carpentersville community columinist Erin Sauder from the Courier News


(Here you see President Elect James Olvera present Fred Neuschel from the Build a Dream Organization with a check of $3,000 for the cost of the construction of 1 dome house for a family in need in the rural town of El Vaquero, Mexico)



The Build A Dream organization originally started in 2004 when a group of volunteers got word of a local family being relocated back to Mexico who had very little to go back to. These volunteers then decided to raise money and go down to El Vaquero, where the family is originally from, and construct formidable living for them so they were not stuck with the burden of finding and paying for some form of decent housing. After constructing the house and learning more about their community they soon realized the community was in need of much more. The Build A Dream organization would then move on to developing a school, providing education materials, sponsoring students to go to that school, sponsoring students to pursue college, providing a clean water source for their community, and of course continue to provide housing for the families in the community. To date the school they developed has done so well it has been ranked #1 in their state and just recently #1 in the country of Mexico. 





Soon after our club’s inception in 2009 one of our goals was to get involved with a sustainable international project. We made some attempts but things just didn’t pan out, that is until Wayne presented his Build A Dream organization to our club last March. What intrigued us the most was the Dome Housing they were beginning to build for the families in the El Vaquero community. The uniqueness of these dome houses is the utilization of the natural materials found around the area, the economics of the cost to build and the natural durability the house will have against the elements once constructed.

The materials needed to construct these houses are pretty basic and include sand, sand bags, cement and barbed wire for reinforcement. The sands bags are stacked in a circle with barbed wire throughout for reinforcement and cemented to hold it all together. Entrance ways and window openings are built in. Eventually the sand bags are stacked high enough to form a dome. Once the dome is completed the entire exterior and interior are plastered over to protect it from the elements and securing it to the ground. The great thing about the dome structure is that like an igloo the structure supports itself. By utilizing the natural materials found around the construction site it reduces the cost to build. When it is all said and done a dome house is constructed and will provide comfortable housing for the designated family, protect them from the natural elements and withstand any earthquake if one should occur. The average cost for 1 dome structure is around $3,000.

We have spent the last year keeping in touch with Wayne and the Build A Dream Organization and have put together a plan to fund 1 dome house structure and send a representative from our club to help with the construction. Through our various fundraising events we run throughout the year we raised the $3,000 to fund the construction of 1 dome house and elected to send our president-elect James Olvera as a club representative to help with the initial construction. In addition to our support Wayne and his organization were also able to obtain a similar donation from the Resurrection Catholic Church in Woodstock which means that this project will include a second dome house which is very exciting!

ImageThe time line for the construction of the 2 dome houses is 2 weeks. Our plan is be down there within the 1st week to help with the initial part of the build and get it to a point where the local crew will finish any remaining work the following week. We will also take a little time out to learn a little more about the community and the other work the Build A Dream organization is currently doing down there. We are scheduled to leave on Monday April 21st and return by Monday April 28th. Currently we are working securing the necessary materials, securing the necessary additional work force, securing the build location and coordinating everything with the construction foreman down there who goes by the name of Ulises Ramirez. We are bring nothing with us and will coordinate purchasing all materials down there. We are utilizing the available town people as the additional work force in addition to using former students from the local school, who are now pursuing degrees in engineering, as additional project managers to give them experience. Part of the money of the initial cost will compensate those we are helping work on this project.   

The current project plan is very exciting to us because it has potential to be very sustainable which is key when doing projects like this on any level. By purchasing the materials down there and hiring local workers we are helping out their local economy. Anyone who works on the project will gain new knowledge and be able to utilize that knowledge at their leisure when it deems necessary. The new knowledge can then be taught to others and so on and so on. The utilization of the natural materials found around their area generates the possibility that this type of house construction can be almost anywhere. With the proper funding and by generating enough awareness a project like this can go on for years and years and be done in a similar fashion in many places throughout the world. With the opportunity to get involved with a project like this that has the potential to be a worldwide epidemic is exciting indeed!

Construction foreman Ulises Ramirez, who lives in Mexico, is the mastermind behind this unique dome house construction process and will take the lead to complete the project from start to finish. He is currently coordinating everything we need to get the project done and will be onsite throughout the entire build to make sure all goes well. Ulises is currently working on writing a book about the build process that he hopes to get published and distribute worldwide to share his knowledge and help those who can utilize what his book is teaching. I will do my best to learn more about this and report back any information I find out.

ImageNow that we have a plan in place the next step was figuring out who is in most need of the dome house(s) we will be constructing. Like many rural towns in Mexico, El Vaquero has a limited government presence and any major decisions made that directly affect the town are made by a group of its elders. This group is well aware of the needs of the community and through their knowledge they were able select the family(s) who will receive the home. Our house will be built for the family of a young man named Jose Santos who is a current student of the school that Build A Dream has established down there. Currently Jose lives with his mother and 3 siblings in a 1 room shack barely capable of protecting them from the outside elements. The new dome house we will be constructing for them will be a definite upgrade and reduced the stress a family acquires trying to adequately take care of one another.

We are very happy to have this opportunity and be a part of something that has so much positive potential. Thorough out our whole trip we plan to document as much as we can through daily updates, journal logs, pictures, videos and whatever else we can acquire to share our experience with our friends, members, followers and supporters. In addition to all the work we do in our own community, finally getting the chance to do something on an international level is completely amazing. Another great thing about this project is the potential to help other local families who are stricken with the burden of being relocated back to Mexico whit little to go back to. When the first year of the project is complete we will definitely plan to make it something that we can be a part of and watch grow year after year.