Uganda’s deputy contingent commander in Somalia, Col John Winston Mugarura, has commissioned a brick making machine fabricated by a UPDF officer at Basecamp.
Lt Chris Collins, the officer behind the machine said he conceived the idea early this year.
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 minimise 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 mould set.
It can make different types of bricks which include interlocking stabilised soil bricks, pavers of different shapes and plain stabilised 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 mould.
Collins said 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.
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.
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 work.
“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.