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Engang Nabor (The White Home)

January 7, 2010

La Chica has taken advantage of the Christmas / New Year break to commence building a Masai hut to live in.  Namnyak suggested that La Chica should have her own home in Tanzania so that she has somewhere to live each time she visits.  All the land in Longido is owned jointly by the Masai community, and allocated to families and individuals for their homes.  Namnyak has given La Chica some of her allocated land so she can build a home.  La Chica is thrilled that she’ll have her own base for when the water project construction is underway.

La Chica is building a traditional Masai mud hut with a difference.  Instead of the low doorways that typify the Masai mud hut, La Chica has decided on doorways that can be walked through without bending over.  Instead of the tiny two by four inch windows the Masai make in their huts, La Chica has opted for one metre square windows with fly screens and glass.  Instead of the tiny living area and bedroom in the traditional huts, La Chica has opted for spacious rooms.  But the remainder of the hut is in traditional Masai style.

During a recent visit to Namnyak’s mother’s boma, La Chica was introduced to Oleborlala – a Masai builder whose name means ‘white teeth’ (although he doesn’t fit the description!).  Not deterred by her inability to speak Masai, La Chica negotiated the plans for her hut with the help of Namnyak’s son Bahati.   Labour will cost $230.  Material costs are low, with sticks and mud comprising the majority of what is needed.  Oleborlala is staying in Longido to build La Chica’s hut, with the help of Leyo, one of Namnyak’s brothers.

The plans for the hut were sketched out with a stick on the dirt.  La Chica has opted for a round hut for the bedrooms and loungeroom.  On the day of her birthday, 27 December (year unknown), La Chica and Oleborlala decided on the exact piece of land for the hut, and pegged a rough six metre diameter circle in the dirt.

Over the next couple of days Oleborlala and Leyo collected 189 solid sticks for creating the walls of the hut, then proceeded to dig a narrow but deep trench around the perimeter of the hut in which to vertically place the sticks.  La Chica got her hands dirty by helping to remove soil from the narrow trench.  This will be the first house that La Chica has ever built and owned, and she’s pretty excited!

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