I decided to build myself a hut out at my garden. I already spend so much time here working on my plants and trees that I thought it would be great to have another cool, shady retreat for the hot part of the day and a comfortable shelter for spending the night when I don't feel like leaving the the tranquility of the bush. I also just love building forts, so it wasn't a hard sell.
Current status: walls almost complete. Have cut roof beams and rafters and left them to dry while I finish up the walls and inner excavation. My efforts have drawn increasing interest from my community and surrounding villages. A surprising number of people come out to the farm I work on to visit with my grandfather who spends all day out there keeping birds from eating the ripening rice. Now that word has spread of the strange creations of the white man almost all these visitors cross the water to my side of the garden to satisfy their curiosity. While the cob hut is undoubtedly the main attraction it provides a great chance for me to share the other projects I'm working on, including cob oven, terraced beds of fruits and veggies, mango trees I've recently pruned and grafted, and the various other tree species interspersed throughout my garden.
The rainy season left me with a lot of weeding and repair work to rebuild what Bevan and I had created by the end of last dry season. But having the outline all in place helped significantly. Many of our cob berms needed only a fresh layer of cob, having held up to the rain quite well. The beds closer to the water, however, are still saturated and have succumbed almost entirely to weeds and swampiness. I can only wait for the water level to recede before reclaiming these lower beds.
Enlisting Andalla's help to re-cob the inside of the oven. The wet season didn't harm my oven too much but after a season of baking and then months of rain it needed a remodel. This kid was gutsy (and small) enough to slide inside the oven on his belly and plaster wet mud all over the walls and ceiling.
Another new hobby while out in the bush is slingshot hunting. This was a beautiful iridescent blue-purple bird that I just stunned and caught before letting it go. Other less flashy and larger breasted birds like bush pigeons don't get away so easy and usually end up as a tasty snack if I manage to hit them.
Some kids and me spending an afternoon drawing and coloring my wall with chalk
The bird I drew. Unfortunately it's inevitable that tiny eager child fingers will smear the colorful chalk into oblivion and carve unintelligibly over it with blunt hunks of charcoal. Metaphors for Peace Corps service are ubiquitous.