The Deputy Sector One Commander who doubles as Deputy Uganda Contingent Commander in Somalia, Col John Winston Mugarura on Friday commissioned a brick making machine at the marine workshop in Basecamp, from where it was fabricated by a UPDF Officer in conjunction with three other colleagues.
A Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces – Airforce (UPDF -AF) officer serving under Battle Group Twenty-Eight as a Raven Commander, Lt Chris Collins, conceived the idea to make the machine.
The machine was made in a period of five weeks from 12 May 2020, a time around which COVID-19 lockdown started at the Base Camp.
While narrating the genesis of his idea, Lt Collins said that the desire to construct his own house in Uganda compelled him to seek for a way to minimize the cost of making bricks. Collins shared the idea with the Marine maintenance officer, Capt. Gideon Kyeyune and with further research on the internet, they jointly fabricated the machine with the help of two other soldiers.
The manually operated machine can produce three types of bricks with each requiring its own mold set.
The bricks include interlocking stabilized soil bricks, pavers of different shapes and plain stabilized soil bricks. While the machine can produce two bricks per cycle and is operated by two to three people, all the said bricks are made by setting the machine to the respective mold.
Collins further explains that in a bag of cement, one is able to mix 7 to 8 wheelbarrows of subsoil, with which they will be able to make 130 to 150 bricks.
Lt Collins says he intends to take the machine to Uganda and use it to make different bricks as well as help soldiers who would want to construct their houses with the said bricks. The bricks will be made at their construction site, since the machine can be transported there.
“We got a chance to create this during the covid-19 lockdown, so since we were not moving out, we thought it wise that we could utilize that time to do something” explained the junior officer.
The bricks which the machine makes are not burnt because he uses cement as the stabilizer, a process he called “curing the bricks”.
According to Lt Collins, a number of reasons for which he developed interest in making the aforesaid bricks include; There is no need of cutting down trees to burn the bricks, and thus environmental protection, one uses less mortar since the bricks interlock, one does not need to do plastering of the brick since the latter makes a smooth and fine surface, using them to construct a house takes a short time since the bricks are interlocked and that there is reduction in cost of transport since the bricks can be made on site by transporting the machine there.
While commissioning the machine, Col Winston Mugarura said that the pandemic came along with good and bad effects. He hailed those who used the lockdown period to think outside the box and do meaningful works.
“The lockdown gave many people the opportunity to look outside the box,” he said.
The Colonel congratulated the Ugandan soldiers for having translated their idea into a visible and tangible product, and further implored them to continue doing more. “I congratulate you upon this innovation and please keep thinking more,” said Col Mugarura and reiterated UPDF leadership’s support towards innovation.
The Deputy Sector One Commander was accompanied by Contingent Anti-Aircraft Asset Commander Col Ismail Sendagire, Senior and junior officers from the contingent headquarter, among others.