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Brick villages of Malawi

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Brick villages of Malawi
 
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Brick villages of Malawi


     The modern Malawian village consists of small lodges, as a rule, brick lodges. Above lodge often we will see just straw which serves it as a roof.

Brick villages of Malawi

     Earlier in Malawian villages people used a tree for building. They was constructing a wooden framework of the house, then they was covering this framework with clay. There is a lot of clay here, it is under feet necessary to remove the top layer of ground only. Clay is free and good construction stuff.

African village

     In former times people used to build a framework of the rural house using a Bamboo or Blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus). Now it is difficult to find trees of these breeds. The problem which Malawi faces now is the shortage of wood. Increase in population has accelerated destruction of the forests. Trees, suitable for construction, in the neighborhood of villages aren't enough now or absolutely not. Therefore Malawian peasants have ventured to build the dwellings of bricks.

Africa Malawi village lodge

     Bricks don't cost money, peasants make them here, in the village. Bricks are made of clay (the clay soil) without addition of cement and without the subsequent roasting. Usually the peasant himself does bricks for his house. Those who have money can employ workers for production of bricks. Paying to workers is 10 kwacha for one brick.

Africa village children

     Technology of handicraft production of bricks. First, the top layer of ground needs to be removed. The top layer is rich with organic stuff (roots, manure) that isn't really good for a brick. It is needed to dig achieving to the red soil. The red soil (actually, clay) is taken out, piled in heaps, in passing crushing lumps. Further clay is mixed with water to consistence of the dough. This clay dough is pressed to a brick, using a wooden form and a lever press. Pressing allows to remove vials of air (emptiness) from brick. The pressed brick stronger. After pressing the brick is ready and it needs only to be dried up. Drying of crude bricks in the sun takes about 2 days.

Africa Malawi village lodges

     Now it is possible to build house walls. Bricks are layed on the same clay, don't use other binding. For construction of the base of house, peasant uses stones found around village. A floor in the house is done of clay.

Africa Malawi peasant lodge

     Nearly an every year such house needs under repair, especially if on the house a straw roof. Straw roofs are easily blown off by wind, and the heavy rain which has begun after wind can finish business of destruction and wash away a bricklaying. Roofing iron is expensive to the peasant. The cheapest sheets of iron cost 4000 kwacha for one, that about 5 dollars. For the house, at least, 24 sheets of iron are required, that costs in the sum of 120 dollars. It is difficult to collect such sum to the Malawian peasant.

Malawian village house

     The majority of rural houses, as a rule, are inhabited by cockroaches, bugs, termites and mice.

Africa Malawi village brick house

     The peasant receives the stead, where he can build a house, from the elder of the village. The government doesn't participate in distribution of the communal terrains, there are no taxes on owning of land or sale of land. There are no land titles or certificates, transfer of the land doesn't demand execution of any papers.

African village

     All land has been divided several decades ago. There are no unoccupied communal lands in Malawi now. Sale of land is possible. To sell or not to sell the land is decided by its owner. 10% of the money goes to the village elder for witnessing the sale process.

Africa Malawi village

     A person who has received or bought land can share this land with his children. It's very simple: every parent is responsible for providing the land for his children.

        
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