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I Forge Iron

Philip in China


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Rec'd the following email from Philip:

Most of that is accurate except we are not that old. Fortunately we are both OK and have been very lucky. Forge chimney went down through an aftershock though.

Have made rescue tools and soon will be doing tent frames.

Got to go as power is only on for a few hours a day. We also need to conserve it for the water pumps.

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Another email from Philip

Linna and I are right in the middle of the worst area for quake damage. Remarkably nobody at the school where we work has been killed. Locally the death toll is thousands and set to rise. We had a complete hospital destroyed and a complete school, including pupils and staff, flattened.

We are drinking bottled water. The sewage lines are damaged so any tap water is very suspect as it is pumped from wells. We get a few hours a day of power from an emergency diesel powered generator.

The forge has been used for boiling water, making emergency tools and today will be making tent frames. The brick chimney was taken down by an aftershock.

My beloved judo mats were pressed into service to use as emergency beds. The canvas cover is over a set of soccer goalposts and has a family living under it.

People ask what they can do- well our short and long term plans are as follows:

  1. Now we need disaster aid. We are getting this from the Chinese army who are working very hard to help. We will need to demolish and rebuild the boys dormitory. That will take a lot of work and materials. I want it to be done properly. Don't believe the rumours about corrupt officials skimping on materials. That is just not true. They don't know HOW to build properly and that takes us back to education.
  2. I am going to continue my efforts to train local guys in dirt poor villages how to do some smithing. I then give them an anvil, a few tools and either make or build a forge and get them going. I have done this so far out of my own money but there is a limit to what a teacher can afford to do! Any western tools would be welcome as the local stuff is junk. Long term I am even planting hickory trees for tool handles but that is very long term. A bag of hickory nuts would be used!
  3. The school could do with a new judo mat. Sounds silly but it is a major sport here and the old one is destroyed. I can source this in China but again need money to do it.

The main thing is my wife and I are fine and I shall be posting to iforgeiron, electricity permitting, as soon as I can work out how to open the site.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts.
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from Philip

Life is calm here at present but have been told to expect a grade 6 aftershock today. That could bring down some already weakened structures.My house has been declared as unsafe. My wood pile cover, however, is fine because I built it properly! Not my property but some of my money in it. I shall try my best. Get some I beams in there.

More later

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