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Last edited 07 Apr 2021
Village homes in Western Uganda
The bricks are made on site. There is a local quarry where all the locals go to buy clay to make their bricks, pots, earthenware etc. When making bricks, it is common practice to add earth to the clay so that extra bricks are made and keep the cost to a minimum.
The earth where I stayed was quite sandy. A timber mould could make two bricks at a time. It was then emptied out onto the earth, and after a few hours it was carefully taken onto a stack to cure with protection from the rain on the top. Temperatures were a constant 24 degrees.
 Type 2: Timber frame
The person I had most dealings with was Gumi Onnissmus. He was in the middle of building his own house in a timber frame on his Mum’s land. It was typical to build as - and when - money came along. It can take quite a few years to finish off a house!
The size was 6m x 5m x 2.5m to eaves. The shell and roof had already been completed. It was made from a framework of straight branches (approximately 75mm dia at 600 mm centres) and infilled with sand/earth and clay.
There are horizontal bamboo canes every 24” (600mm) to support the earth/clay infill on both sides of all walls. The bamboo canes and timber framework are fixed and held together with banana fibres – no string. The roof set at 20 degrees is clad with steel corrugated sheets with eaves overhang about 30” (762mm). Eaves were about 2.5m high.
Gumi had dug out a pit latrine about 15’-0” (4.5m) deep situated about 20’-0” (6m) downhill from the house. I asked Gumi how deep the pit must be, and he said he was going to take it down 20’-0” for it to last two years. Then, when full, he would dig another one.
There were no ceilings but exposed roof timbers. In addition, there was no water and no electricity. Lighting was a small oil filled lamp that gave a background light. After tea, which was about 21:00, the family would sing and the children dance.
Everyone within the village had a separate building for their kitchen. It was mostly built from bricks (but not always). Rocks were placed on the floor and a fire made from wood, sticks, branches etc. between the rocks. Saucepans went onto the rocks. Some kitchens used pieces of termite hills instead of rocks to hold their saucepans, because it remained a lot cooler due to the ventilation holes through the (fired) pieces. Kitchen sizes were approximately 1.2m wide x 2.4m long with a steel corrugated roof. Above the fireplace at approximately 1.7m high was a timber framework that was used to dry out banana leaves, banana fibres and anything that would be damp.
Outside the kitchen everyone had a two-tier timber framework (from branches) approximately 1.2m high and a shelf below x 1m x 1.5m. This was used to place the saucepans out to dry after washing them clean. It was also common to put down a few banana leaves first on the framework.
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