Someone pointed out in the comments yesterday how we could make use of the abundant clay to create adobe (or at least adobe-like) structures. If you recall back to the time just before we built the expansion out of shipping containers, that was once a serious plan. After reading the comments I got in touch with my brother and reminded him about that plan of his.
It's not a bad idea at all. The main problem is how much work it is. We can only spare so many people for so long. Dave, after thinking about it for a few minutes, shot up out of his chair. The idea hit him like...well, like a ton of bricks. We can kill two birds with one stone; excavate the clay to build an underground dwelling, or even several of them, to house some people. Then use the clay we hauled out to make bricks or outright shape it into structures using forms. Modern construction methods applied to ancient materials techniques. Bricks would be better since they allow for more granularity and specificity in the buildings themselves, but Dave seems pretty excited. The idea is build the new homes, long multi-family deals, right next to the troughs created by digging up the materials to make them.
He's all excited by the idea and pissed at himself for not thinking of it. Dave is under a lot of stress, and it gives him tunnel vision. He focuses on the problem at hand without backing up to think of previous solutions.
It'll be labor-intensive, but once the plan is all laid out we'll have the bodies to do it. That's contingent on this idea being deemed workable, of course.
This is just one example of the larger problems Haven is facing with such a huge influx of people. Same thing happened when all the North Jackson folks migrated this way. Population bumps are good in the long run and a nightmare in the short. I have no doubt my brother and his folks will work it all out. Hell, if nothing else they can just bring in the county's school buses and those from surrounding areas and use them for short-term housing. I've heard of other places doing the same.
The defensive groups are working their asses off trying to clear away as many of the undead as possible. The big swarm wasn't the only group, nor the last. Zombies still stream in from the west toward us in bursts. Sometimes only a few dozen in a day, other times hundreds an hour. The good news is the UAS (soon I'll have to come up with a name for them since they're joining up here...) are becoming familiar with both the local geography and the tactics we use against the unead. Dodger and Kincaid tell me they're even growing more comfortable with the idea of being out among zombies with just melee weapons. They're adapting well.
I deeply hope this peace works. The problems are large but not insurmountable. At least the physical ones. The survival ones. What to eat, where to live, how to fight. Those things are all real items people can deal with. Measurable factors. I'm more concerned about the human element, the long-term ability of all sides to deal with the reality of the situation. I tend to be positive on that score; all of us have had to swallow our pride and our hatred on more than one occasion. Kincaid and his former marauders are a perfect example of that. If we can learn to live with them, to accept those people, then the UAS shouldn't be any harder.
On the UAS side, I think they're seeing the truth of things. They were fed just enough grains of fact about us to make them wary, and enough lies to make them afraid and angry. Not huge obvious things, but lies both subtle and fitting to the slender facts they knew to be true. Now they're growing used to the way things really are. They've surely seen some brutal, awful actions on our part, but we've never shied away from that. We've always been honest. Haven has always owned up to its mistakes, even the huge ones.
The conditions are strong. The foundation of this strange alliance is being built on honesty and full disclosure, as well as mutual acknowledgement of both sides' mistakes. I'm hopeful and proud of both sides for getting to this point. It restores my faith in people a little bit just seeing these small steps.