Varieties of village housing

The elite houses of the village are concrete buildings - roofed with corrugated tin, or "zinc", of course - with decorative but functional bars on their glass-paned windows. Now, windows here do not mean one pane of glass covering the opening; instead, it means louvered horizontal slats 2-3 inches tall running (hopefully) the majority of the opening. The likelihood that the size of the glass matches the size of the opening is low unless you've gotten the glass cut especially for you, so there's often a gap at the top and possibly at the sides. This type of window apparatus allows light and air to flow through but keeps the rain out.

The next most luxurious option in village housing includes the missionaries' houses in the village. These are also concrete and zinc with the same bars on their windows which are screened but have no glass. Yes, this means the rain gets blown in at times, but it saves you washing the floor, right? You just need to make sure you don't leave anything important by a window when it's raining.

Wood houses with zinc roofs are probably the most common. Not all of these are created equal as some have concrete floors while others enjoy the same dirt inside to which they are accustomed outside. The window openings may be covered by a curtain by day, wooden shutters closed tightly against fauna and two-legged intruders by night.

There are also some grass or thatch houses. Bamboo poles usually provide the frame while palm leaves or woven grass comprise the walls and roof. Some wooden houses also have thatch roofs. Also, some wooden houses have a thatch cookhouse; other have a matching wooden cookhouse.

Finally, one can't neglect the walls. I do not refer to walls around the village but to half-built houses, of which there are sufficient to warrant a category of their own. Money is preferably invested in buildings, not left in the hand, nor in banks which are too unreliable. If you have money, you start to build, regardless of whether you anticipate being able to finish. Piles of moss-covered concrete blocks not even taken shape before funds ran out, and forlorn-looking walls sans roofs are a common sight.


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