Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Step-By-Step Guide: Hut Building

It’s nearing rainy season.  Pictures lush green all around us but cool temperatures, rain and lots of mud. Our house has a room that can comfortable seat 10 but it doesn’t work well for English class and for bigger crowds. Jon and I started to discuss solutions, especially because we can’t meet outside during the rains (and rainy season has a 6 month potential window.)

We talked to some employees and friends and progress was underway.  Men came when they could, in and out. The amazing thing is, the hut is built with few tools and hewn together without anything man-made. Even the rope you see is woven together from plants. 

Because I am a little unclear of the entire process, I will let pictures tell the story. 

The first piece to be prepared, ready for the center pole and the small poles for bamboo. This is the center piece at the peak of the roof.

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Wood is hauled in, Jon makes plans

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Everything was measured and leveled with rope.  Outer poles were set into holes.

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Using split, fresh, pliable bamboo and homemade rope to start binding the poles together.

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All around the edge

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Starting with the second round, this one thicker

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I’ve included this picture for two reasons. 1) so you can see the rope made of Eucalyptus bark. 2) Jon was relegated to all non-technical jobs. “Jon, go wet some rope!”

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Wood was hand notched and split with an old ax

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Time for break in the hut to be.

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Starting to place the roof

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More poles added

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Do you see the wooden centerpiece? They started using fresh, bush, fencing material to weave around the bamboo roof

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“Jon!  Give me more rope!”

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You can see how much they’ve added bamboo to the roofline

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If Jon had any ideas, he was corrected, “This is our culture, you can watch.” It was hilarious. Notice the four rows of bush circling the bamboo roof.

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The center pole was starting to crack and had to be replaced which led to much discussion. The oldest man on the job had a different idea than the younger generations represented. There was much heated discussion about what should happen. He always won because he has built more of these than anyone else.  When someone is building a house, everyone pitches in, but now the houses are mud, tin-roofed and not grass houses. 

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Using a piece of lumber, they began to bang the bamboo up into a more tight fit. If they couldn’t get it even, they did use a saw to even it out.

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Next was bamboo wall placement.  We didn’t want full walls as we want lots of natural light, just a cover from the rain. The first set of men were setting bamboo poles in trenches and the next two were weaving ropes and sliced bamboo around.

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Then, we started tossing up grass while men inside dug up the floor to even it.

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Because Jon is “so tall” the men dug the floor down a big so he wouldn’t hit his head.

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Nearing completion, We just temporarily placed grass on the roof as only two older men in our village area truly know how to do grass placement so it has not leaks.

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They then roped down the grass until it can woven by one of the two men.  We have ourselves a hut and the rains have started. We’ve used it already!

Because some of the helpers wouldn’t accept pay as it’s a community event, we finished everything, materials and labor in two days and cost was under $100.

Now, you can go build yourself a hut!


Kristen Hoerr said...

This is so cool. I love how people are so resourceful. And while I appreciate your picture tutorial, I am pretty sure I CANNOT "go build myself a hut"! :)

Janel said...

Kristen, I just had the exact same hut building is going to be happening here:) That is so amazing though!

Kristi said...

I admit... I'm tempted to try it. Maybe with toothpicks and floss, but I'm tempted!

Shari Fiechter said...

This is great! You did a great job documenting how to build a hut!

smw said...

This is AWESOME!!!

T and M said...

Wow, so so cool! I'm giggling at Jon being micromanaged, but I can see how hut building is truly an art!