Reverse engineering in Africa
December 22, 2019
by Jay Schierloh

We discovered a house design that we liked during a recent trip to Malawi in September 2019.  Prince, Vigaro and myself were driving to a visit a concrete supplier north of Blantyre in the town of Lunzu.  Prince noticed a new house that looked interesting.  

We stopped at the house and spoke to the woman who lived there with her 4 children. She invited us strangers in to tour her home.  We collectively agreed that design was perfect for an orphan home in a tribal village.  Therefore, we wanted to acquire the building plans for the house.  Prince requested the builders contact details.  However, the woman did not have the information.  We departed the house with a clear objective to find the plans to this house.

After I departed Malawi to return home, Prince and Vigaro attempted multiple times to uncover the building plans.  After several additional visits, facilitating payments and phone calls, Prince returned to the house and took measurements of the home.  He and Vigaro decided that they would reverse engineer the plans.  

They took the plans to a civil engineer in Blantyre (a friend of  friend).  The engineer charged us 50,000 Kwacha (~$68.00) to create the building plans from the images below and the manual measurements. He also determined the required materials to build the home.  The plans were submitted to the Orphan Shade Board of Trustees for approval.  The board unanimously approved the plans.