06 Dec 2007


Road and building construction projects need rocks. Rocks are hard to find in Bangladesh.  So,   they are shipped in from other countries or, they are made from riverbed silt. 

 The high clay content silt is first loaded onto trucks where it is then off loaded at the brick factory.

Water is added to the silt to make a good, workable mixture.  The next step is to put the mud in an auger-like machine that stirs up the mixture.  The mud is squeezed out the bottom.  The woman shown here uses her feet to make small parcels of mud.  Each one the right size for a single brick.    The small diesel engine has long since replaced the oxen power for the auger.  All other work is done by hand.  Other workers prepare the ground for the actual molding of the bricks.

 Men or women do the actual brick molding.  They are paid by the number of molded bricks that they make.  The laborer skillfully places the mud in the mold box, cuts the excess off with their hand or with a string, and sets the molded clay on the ground with the thousands of other future bricks.  They are allowed to sun-dry for several days before placing them in the kiln for firing.  The sun-dried bricks are stacked between the smoke stack intake plenum and the outside wall.  Layers of coal are also placed around the brick.  It will probably take a month to fill the area with 600,000 bricks.  The coal and the bricks are covered.  The coal is then ignited and the fire burns for approximately a month.  Another month is then required for cooling.  Each brick making cycle requires about three months.  During the heavy rains of the summer monsoons, one three-month period must be skipped. 

This man has been making bricks in this fashion for many years.  This is actually his fourth wife; he has outlived the other three. 

 After the fired bricks are ready, they are hauled to construction projects and used as is or, the bricks are broken up by hand so that they become the aggregate for asphalt or concrete.  For the most part, it is women and children who break the bricks into gravel. 

 For asphalt, the newly made gravel is then carried over to large wood-fired pans where it is mixed with hot tar. The hot asphalt is then quickly loaded into a cart and pushed to the freshly cleaned road bed where it is smoothed out and packed down to form a small section of roadway.

 In Bangladesh, work is hard, the hours are long, and the pay is low.  Yet, it is through enterprises like this that the country is able to support its 130 million people.

 Come and visit Bangladesh!  You can see for yourself what hard workers we have in our country.  They are the bricks that the country is built on.  They are the bricks of Bangladesh.


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