Apr 09, 2008
Apr 24, 2008
Traditional mud and thatch huts are rapidly being replaced by brick and tin ones. The hut is a special thing for several reasons and its passing is a sore loss in my opinion. The equatorial sun can be very hot and during dry seasons one wishes for the comfort of air conditioning. Unless you have a hut. Something magical happens to the hot air outside when sitting in a cool hut. The temperature indoors is surprisingly cool. Even the breeze blowing in under the roof line is somehow pleasantly cool. And huts are easy to build and environmentally "green." Earth, manure and ash create a hard plaster for walls and floor. Grass is thatched and bound to rafters overhead. Consider that a "tin" roof radiates heat into the house like an oven during the day, and creates so much noise during rainfall that speech cannot be heard. But in a hut during a downpour, the only sound are the drops falling softly on the ground outside. Huts are beautiful, practical but last only a few years. Thus they are giving way to the semi-permanent structures that are making rural Africa appear ordinary among world societies.