These are some examples of the different styles of huts found in a Himba village in Namibia. Wood is scarce in this region, so many of the huts have walls made of a clay and manure mixture, and thatched roofs.
All of the huts I entered had dirt floors. The villagers I met both sat and slept on the floors of their huts.
The nice thing about the small huts–for me–was that I could be close to my subjects.
Many Himba villages are not permanent: when the distance from the village to their livestock grazing area becomes too great, the entire village gets moved!
Once upon a time–that time being about 40 years ago–a family lived in this house. Now it’s being reclaimed by the jungle, and in 40 more years there will probably be little left on this site to show that it was once inhabited. Untreated wood doesn’t last long in this climate, and as you can see, most of the paint has already weathered from the walls.
What does survive in this climate is rock. Historically recent cement foundations, and much older lava rock foundations, are what remain after the rest of the structure disintegrates.
One day in the future, someone may walk along the road and notice a moss- and lichen-covered lava rock wall, almost completely camouflaged by vines and small trees. And if they look past that wall with a keen eye, they may notice the remains of a house, perhaps some broken glass or a pile of rotten timbers or a few banged up metal pots, and realize that a family called this piece of land home…once upon a time.
There’s something about this image that makes me snicker…the funny weeds, one straight and tall, the other identical, yet strangely curvy…and the fact that they appear to be as tall as the building.
This house appears to be abandoned, but the property isn’t, as evidenced by the recently-erected silo behind it, and the fact that the field are planted. My guess is that the family that owns this property built a newer house and let this one go. The brick foundation and both chimneys are crumbling. The roof is mossy and probably leaks. Several windows are broken out, and have only half-heartedly been boarded up.
But as I was driving by this charming old farmhouse, she caught my eye, and I had to stop and take a closer look. First of all, I’m a sucker for dormers. I know they’re a dead giveaway that there’s no headroom on the second floor, but I think they add a lot of character to the roofline of a building. I like the stained glass border on the bay window, and the dainty trim between the first and second floor. I mentioned in another post that I grew up in a house with double-hung windows, so of course they scream “Home!” to me. And finally, did you notice the little curlicue flourishes at the end of every ridge on the roof? I have no idea what they’re called in architecture-speak, but I think they’re cute-as-can-be.
Like so many of the abandoned houses and barns I saw travelling through the Palouse region, this one will most likely never be fixed up and lived in again. Everything from the foundation to the roof and chimneys would need a complete overhaul to make it habitable. And yet, it will probably stand for many more years, and see many more Springtimes and harvests before it finally collapses or is torn down. And hopefully, during that time, a few more people will stop on a gravel country back-road and admire this pretty house that once sheltered a family during many harsh eastern Washington winters.