Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From Ethiopia - Post 1 - The Hut out Back

The last time we were in Ethiopia, work had begun outside the Jemimah Guest House on a "Cultural Center".  As I understand it, men from the Southern region in Ethiopia had been hired and brought to Addis to construct a hut, like the ones that they build to live in down south.  Their families came too; and they all live on the premises.  The last time we were there, the center post was up, and a framing of sorts was completed on the sides and roof.  The sides were nearly finished, but that was about it.  This time, however, the entire hut was nearly complete.  There had been some hold-up as they had run into difficulties being able to get the straw that is used for the thatched roof, so it was not quite complete.  Regardless, it was amazing construction.  A lot of bamboo was used, along with some other type of wood, of which we never did find out the identity.  When we drove north our second day in country, our guide from the guest house showed us the area where they went to cut down the tree used for the center post. 

Look at the inside of that roof.  It was beautiful - like a giant hand-woven basket!

As seems to  always be the case in Ethiopia, there is never any "waste".  They use all the shavings, cuttings, and little left-over pieces for other parts of the process or for other things.

This is one of the builders.  He was SO proud of his construction.  There was a TOTAL language barrier between us when we were out there, but he made it very clear that he wanted me to take his picture with his project.  When I showed him the picture, his smile was huge!  He also eagerly showed us his "tools" that he was working with - a stick with a piece of metal tied to the end!

This is the other gentleman who was working.  He was thatching the roof (in his bare feet - owww!  Although, I have to say, they looked WAY tough enough to handle it!).  He wanted us to climb up on the roof with him.  I politely smiled, giggled, and said, "no thank you!".   I still haven't quite figured out the ladder contraption he was using.  There was a regular (also hand-made) ladder at the bottom, but then the top was tied to that little segment of a ladder which he moved around on the top of the roof.

Last time we were there, we were told that the workers and their families had been offered a room in the guest house during the construction.  They proudly declined and are instead living in the area outside - where the sheets are hanging, and also to the right where you can see the "door".    My guess is that it's probably still a step up from their home as they are being provided food and water in addition to payment for their services.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing story and amazing pictures. Thanks so much for sharing. That building was truly beautiful upclose. I was always sorry I didn't get to see any of the thatched houses in the countryside closer up. I wonder if very many of them are this beautiful?