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!