Summer is upon us and most Europeans dream of hazy days spent enjoying the sunshine, and maybe – for the more adventurous, nights spent out under the stars too. Glamping, Mongolian yurts and wigwams make the idea of camping more appealing to the aesthetically minded. And as a seasonal garden installation to captivate the kids, they’re a lot more handsome than the ubiquitous trampoline. I’d like to propose a DIY idea for the good-looking-camping genre for this summer: make your own straw hut!
Ok so I know the weather is a bit hit and miss (and for Brits perhaps more miss than hit) but be encouraged to know that the traditional Fulani grass hut which I am suggesting is meant to be rain proof. Some of my Fulani friends in the North of Burkina Faso live 3 months a year out in the bush so they can grow millet. During that time, they will live in a buguru, which in their region of the Sahel is made out of sticks and millet stalk mats. It’s cool during the hot days and if built well should resist the twice weekly torrential downpours. Here’s how to make a fulani style straw hut at home.
You will need:
50 long sticks,
8 straw mats (between 15 and 20 feet long)
Rope and/or strips of cloth for tying
Any extra dried grass you can get your hands on
Step 1 Firmly plant the sticks into the ground (2 feet deep should do it) and bend the tops inwards to meet in the middle. Fasten with rope or strips of cloth. Secure the shape with three horizontal sets of sticks.
Step 2 Wrap three of the mats around the middle of the structure
Step 3 Wrap three more around the lower part of the frame leaving a gap for the doorway
Step 4 Use two mats to cover the roof and secure by tying them onto the frame
Step 5 Add more dried grass for better waterproofing.
If you do try this out at home I’d love to know how it goes!