This mini-tour around the world has proven one thing: shelter is a necessity, and it will be built with whatever resources are available.
Homes in Sub-Saharan Africa reflect an ingenuity fitting of their sparse region. In Swaziland, walls are constructed of sticks woven between larger upright beams and then packed with mud. If stones are available, they make a more sturdy “foundation” for the walls, as these two homes demonstrate.Recycled parts like doors and windows are superior additions to any home. Roofs may be fashioned out of large tin or aluminum pieces, but they are difficult to secure against the wind. Heavy objects like stones and tires may anchor down the roofing materials, as you can see on the homes on the right. And look at that newly planted garden!
Residents of Mozambique, which neighbors Swaziland, also make the most of the materials available to them. In more rural or coastal regions, this may include walls and roofs made of grasses and leaves. However, as the homes behind the children illustrate in the photo at right, families will opt for cinderblock even if window panes aren’t available.
Resourcefulness is also evident in the communities in which we work in Kenya. Homes may be built of the stick-and-mud frame, but in areas that experience drought, mud may not be available. The domed structure at right is common to our projects in northern Kenya. Would you believe that this is two-story dwelling, providing a measure of safety from the insects and snakes on the ground?While some of our projects in Kenya are located in rural or coastal areas where building materials are harvested from the ground and the trees, we have several projects in and around Nairobi. These are often considered slum areas, where shelters are built out of tin, wood, and recyclables.
Many of our projects in Ethiopia are also located on the outskirts of urban areas. As more families go to the city in search of work, quality housing is difficult to find. Many communities build up out of whatever they can find, creating a patchwork of tin and tarps as protection from the elements.While your sponsored child may live in a simple structure, it is a home they would welcome you into at a moment’s notice, just like this little girl in Ethiopia.