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Chadian Homes

Chadian Flag 

    The "standard model" of home is round in shape.  The wall is about four feet (1.21 metres) high and 9 inches (22.86 cm) thick, made of dried clay/adobe bricks mixed with straw to help them stick together better.  The clay is shovelled out to a work area, then water is added and the worker stamps on it with their feet until it reaches the right consistency.  Straw is then added to the stomping process, and the result is placed by hand into rectangular moulds.  After a few hours, the mould can be removed and used for making another brick.  The bricks must dry for several days (depending on the weather) before being used for the wall of the house.  The same mixture is used as a mortar to seal the bricks together.  A wealthy family would add cement to the outside of a finished wall, to prevent erosion and ensure solidity.

     Traditionally, on top of the wall is a cone-shaped roof made of straw.  The straw roof looks like a broom at the top, but gets widened out by straw rings that get gradually bigger and bigger until the largest ring at the bottom.  The roof of the straw is woven into the rings, at about 3 inches thickness.  The tip of the home may have an ostrich egg on it, an "X" or other symbol depending on the people and clan who live there.  The roof is wider than the wall to keep it from being eroded too much from the strong rains that happen from time to time.  The young man building the house will work with several of his friends to weave the roof, as a sort of social gathering or party.  A straw roof must be replaced every seven years or so.

     In some places (especially the Guéra region south of the main "highway", instead of clay brick walls, the people live in homes with walls made of straw.  This is usually the case for homes made in a hurry and possibly only for temporary use, such as homes next to the fields where people sow and harvest their crops.  Mud brick houses indicate permanency, are more sturdy and protect people better from wild animals.

     Most government buildings, village dispensaries and schools are built in a rectangular shape, but usually with mud bricks as well.  If the group represented by the building can afford it, they prefer to use aluminium corrugated roofing rather than straw.






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