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Diary from Africa

Niki
Wednesday 15 Jul 2009

Jon Beswick reports...

London architect Jon Beswick, 27, has left the UK on an epic 48,000km overland trip circumnavigating Africa, during which he and his travel partner, strategy consultant Charlie Curtis, will build shelters for HIV clinics and raise money for UK charity One to One Children's Fund. Until 24 February, Jon was working as a project architect for Sacks Maguire Architects on high-end residential projects in Belgravia and Hampstead with construction budgets of £2,000,000. The budget for each shelter, which he is designing, is only a few hundred pounds and will pay for local labour and materials. Over the next few months Jon will be writing a diary for WAN as his adventure continues...

Two articles ago, I promised to return to write about Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte D’Ivoire, as I’m currently being way laid in Nigeria, I once again have a chance to return to the vernacular architecture that I’ve encountered. These three countries, not normally top tourist destinations, have been the highlight of the trip both architecturally and emotionally. Despite all three having so recently felt the devastating effects of war, the people we encountered have been the most positive and the architecture, most inspiring. For me this was made even more poignant when set against the backdrop of the previous decade… bullet scarred and abandoned vehicles and buildings, crumbled churches, UN camps, barbed wire roadblocks and disabled victims of war...Continued

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