Okay, not really a barn but this is the season that many in our community are building houses. Because the houses are made of mud, it takes forever for the walls to dry in rainy season and because our rainy season last forever…err...over 6 months, a lot of work happens while the sun shines. :)
Community members pitch in to help the neighbors building houses, not just with financial help but also with physical labor. As we try to be members of the community, we have been able to help different families but buying some tin or nails.
There is a huge push to get the rural folks under tin roofs as opposed to grass. Since we have been here, we’ve noticed huge neighborhoods being constructed with mud-walled, tin-roofed houses.
Yesterday, a friend came over and asked me to go and look at a baby who had a nail in his eye. I explained, again, that I am not a doctor or a nurse. It didn’t matter, they wanted me to see it. Part of our project here is helping in medical crisis…sometimes running a bit of an ambulance service. The times we have run someone, it has been a laboring women. Jon was heading out anyways to help build a house. We walked to the baby’s house. He was out with his aunt, so my weak stomach still have that to look forward to. The nail is out but now they would like to know about medical possibilities.
We saw friends filling jerry cans in the river, lots of water needs to be used to mix the perfect mud. They also rented a horse cart for the day.
They took it across the pasture and road and as close as the horse could get to the house. It is a town house so we had to go up through other houses (very small town).
Up towards the house we went. Usually only women are seen carrying jerry cans, so I was glad to see the men. :)
Digging for the mud outside...
Mixing mud inside, it is a learned art, straw, mud and water…It is then walked on and mixed together until it is a surprisingly strong substance.
The house is wood framed under the mud and these men had a thin stick that was their measurement for their boards.
They have made so much progress in a few days…it helps there were about twenty men, with two women making constant food and coffee in front, a few toddlers running underfoot.
We were served very sweet coffee, potatoes and injera with thick shiro paste spread. The whole mood was very festive. The new homeowner said, “Eat, eat, today is a holiday!”
Jon is out today, helping another friend build his house. As we walked down trails, we had to watch for the falling trees as it is the season for new houses.