Friday, April 1, 2011

The Traditional Homestead

main house building

traditional kitchen
The homestead was separated into two residential areas inside of one yard: both traditional and non-traditional housing structures. The main building is a pretty rural looking, one story house with a kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedrooms. On the other section of the yard is the traditional side, separated by brick walls and containing a couple smaller buildings and an open area. There is a location for washing clothes and a kitchen containing a fire place and a stove on the ground. The stove is made up of three car wheels- without the tires- put together as a stand for the positioning of cooking pots. In the middle is where the wood is placed for the fire. The traditional elements of home life were present in the making of porridge, mahangu drink (oshikundu) and marula fruit juice. Juice is prepared by piercing the marula fruit with a cattle horn, squeezing the juices and letting the liquid run through a sieve. Furthermore, traditional maize meals, fish, chicken and an assortment of other food are made here.

main traditional residential area
Oshikundu is prepared by cooking mahangu flour in water on a traditional stove. Porridge is also made from the mahangu flour and is a staple dish in everyday living. Mahangu is a grain common to Namibia and used to make flour. Our family uses the flour to prepare porridge and traditional mahangu drink among other things. The mahangu drink is rather bitter strong and is drunk daily. The flour is made by stripping the grain from the plant. The kernels are put into a hole in the ground where they are pounded with a large stick. It is quite heavy and requires great effort over a long period of time. The grains become finer and finer over time until they are fine flour. The ground is made wet and kept clean. When grains fall out of the hole, a small brush can be used to push them back into place.

clothes after a hand wash
I had my first experience washing clothes by hand during my rural homestay. It is a lengthy process comprised of four steps. Firstly, clothes are put into a bucket with soap and water to be washed and this stage is repeated for step two. Next, clothes are put in plain water to be rinsed and finally in a bucket with water and fabric softener. Then they must be wringed out and put on a line to dry. No tools are utilized in the process; instead hands are used to scrub parts of the clothes against other parts.

The place where I stay is in a small hut with just one room that is in between the main house building and the traditional homestead. It is symbolic of my time here as my experience has been a mixture of both ways of living and I have been finding my way between the two. 
my bedroom

1 comment:

  1. The Haitians washed their clothes this way too. They used bleach in addition to soap and water. Our clothes always came out brighter then when we brought them.