Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mudding a traditional African House

When I came to Africa, I kept saying that I was going to help to build a traditional mud hut.  Well, my “dream” has come true and I have participated in all 3 layers.  First, the men go and get thick bush poles that make the frame of the house.  After those are securely in the ground, they get smaller “sticks” that they tie together either with wire or twine.  We tried to get old tires so they could take the wire out and use it but we ended up with twine.  This makes the entire frame of the house.  Zinc is used for the roof (in this case).  Sometimes they use reeds. 

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Now the ladies (the frames is the job for the men and the mud is the job for the ladies) are ready for the mud.  We start by getting dirt, mix with water, almost like mixing meat loaf (which I hate to do by the way) until it is rather smooth.  You just squish it through your fingers and hope that you do not run into any glass.  You add water until you get the right thick consistency to make a big “dough” ball.  Then you place in in-between the small wooden frame pieces.  My friends from Children’s Healthcare will never believe I had my hands in this!!  Good Occupational Therapy, right?   

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Eventually the house looks like this.   Outside, inside.  And your hands and your friends hands look like this!


After this dries a day then we started layer 2.  This is a bit more fun as you can throw the mud on and it is not as thick as the first balls of mud were.  You throw it and smooth it out.  This is called “plastering” the house and it covers up all of the sticks.   


For the last layer, the men bring dirt from the huge termite mounds.  This is also mixed smooth with water.  This is called “washing” the house.  Literally, you wash it all over the house. This termite dirt waterproofs the house!!  Amazing!!  Everything is done by hand. 

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Now we are ready to have the first lunch in the house Smile After cooking pap and fish and fresh greens from the garden in tin cans over the fire, we sat on the floor and had a great lunch. Plates and silverware? Never!!!

I want to thank my village friends for being great teachers and sharing in laughing and loving.  We really did have a great time!

And the house??  It’s beautiful!!!! 

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A special thanks to my new little friend, Rita!

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Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.       1 Peter 4:10

God has not forgotten that we have practical needs.  He meet those needs through the service of others. 

1 comment:

  1. Amazing!! And yes, great occupational therapy! Thinking of you all, praying for you, and so inspired by all you are doing!!!