The effect of a book

Image The community of “El Yanque”, in northern Nicaragua was animated to build a brick vault roof on to their kindergarten after reading the book “Un Techo Como un Arco Iris”. It is a dynamic community concerned with its future, and doing its best to provide their children with a better life. The anecdotes of the book were respected, and the community insisted in adhering to the structural parts mentioned in the book.

   Por Martín Meléndez   

When we wrote the book “Un Techo Como Un Arco Iris” (A roof like a rainbow), I do not believe that anyone thought that five years later some farmers in "El Yanque" would try to build a vault to cover their kindergarten.


 For more then three years I have been cooperating with the community of “El Yanque”, during which time they have built a school and are financing the children's lunch. They also run a tile workshop and a brick oven. A program of exchanging honey for bicycles provides their children transportation so they can pedal to secondary school in the next town. These friends from “El Yanque” do anything possible to provide their children a better life.


“Un Techo Como Un Arco Iris” was given to Andrés Escudero, who since then has been looking for a way to build a vault. They had worked hard on building the kindergarten, but the roof was a problem because of the lack of wood. That's when they decided to build a vault.

They wanted to follow the book and, although my anecdotes and experiences were respected, it was the structural explanations by Nolasco that they wanted to follow to the letter.

When we began to build the vault we had some bad luck because we did not have enough cement and could only build up three rows of bricks.

Surprise! One week later we had finished almost four vaults and the people were talking about building all the houses with this type of roof. “El Yanque” has now integrated vaults into their built environment. And all because of a book we wrote a few of years ago. To me, the fact that some farmers lost in the middle of nowhere in northern Nicaragua have started to build vaulted roofs shows that it was worth the trouble, effort, discussions and headaches involved in publishing the book.

You are here: Home Past editions Edition # 5, August 2004 The effect of a book


Víctor Martínez
Civil Engineer
MCR tiles, instruction, quality control, project management.