During our most recent trip to Liberia, Africa, the Sahbu team spent most of the trip on a 6 day backpack adventure deep into the jungle. One of the things we became curious about was the methods of building construction. There were many small towns deep in the jungle that we visited along our trek . Most of them were not accessible by vehicles of any kind due the impossibility of crossing the rivers. The only means of crossing the river was by manmade canoes and thus everything must be carried by hand including food, clothing, and of course building materials. The buildings, or “mud huts” as they are called, are built from the only materials readily available. First long straight sticks are collected from the jungle. Bamboo was used typically. The sticks were lashed together in a grid spacing the sticks about 10’’ horizontally and vertically. With the grid complete, the native soil was mixed with water to create a mud that would be packed into both sides of the grid. This type of building was expected to last 10 to 15 years after which a fresh mud pack would be in order. Towns closer to the difficult river crossings often had corrugated metal roofs. Carrying the metal to the towns further from the river was not practical and those roofs were made of palm leaves. We especially enjoyed the palm leaf roofs and their picturesque qualities, but much more upkeep is required if they are to keep out the heavy rains of the African jungle!
During a recent visit to Liberia, Africa, the Sahbu team ventured out to the remote village of Gbalala. Gbalala is a beautiful mud hut village that is not accessible by car or even motorcycle. Any type of medicine or health care is a day’s walk from Gbalala, and if a person is not able to walk or be carried, it’s an additional day’s travel back to town. The Sahbu team was saddened upon our arrival to learn of a 15 year old boy who had died the day before. The people of Gbalala, like each of the villages we visited on our trek, rely on the jungle for food. Common food sources found in the jungle are rice, various fruits, avocado, and the people hunt for deer, bush goat, and other sources of meat. The 15 year old boy had been hunting with a friend in the jungle close to their village. They had been stalking a bush goat which they had shot at previously. They came into the area they had pinpointed as the animal’s hiding place only to find a foxhole. The boy reached into the hole for the bush goat and instead a yellow snake instantaneously struck him three times in the wrist and forearm. The boy was injected with a large amount of poisonous venom such that he had lost his vision within 6 minutes and had passed away within 30 minutes. When poisonous snake venom is injected into the human cardiovascular system, there is usually time for the anit-venom to be given to the victim which is the only hope to save his/her life. In this area of Liberia, the anit-venom for the Yellow Snake is available but is only […]