Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Building a house in Africa

Curious how it's done?

My friend shows us the site next door where his oldest daughter and her new husband are building their home.  It will be a simple house, maybe about three hundred square feet.

Here, his daughter and son-in-law carry beams from the local sawmill to the building site.  You buy what you can afford, build with what you have.  Buy and build more later.

 They'll store the material in poppa's front yard where it will be watched over.

Construction is a friends & family type event.

This is the local lumber yard, about a quarter-mile from their site.  The nearest sawmill is another mile down the road, I think.

Individual boards are priced from about $1.50 to $7.50 here.  The local equivalent of a 4x4 costs about $10.

To give you an idea of the timeline, this photo is from last October.  Friends of ours walk past the site where the younger one will build a new home with her husband.

Here, 6 months later, the posts and frame are mostly in place.  It's the rainy season; a neighbor stops and poses on her way over to visit.
In August after perhaps 6-8 months of work, the house is in place.  This is quite a nice home for the area.  The metal roof will last perhaps 20 years, the unpainted wood maybe not so long.

These folks are fairly well off by community standards.  They have a water spigot (lower left in the photo) just a few meters from the porch.

The yellow vans are wrecked taxis they hope to repair and use to generate income.  It's a difficult prospect at best as parts must come from Europe.
You can see where the boys have replaced the boards on grandma's house.  Maintenance is pretty much a continuous process, like it is for us in some ways.  It helps having a number of competent men in the family that can do the labor.