A friend of ours from the Knuckles Mountains, Agara, was recently back helping us out in a particularly busy period. A truly creative and resourceful character, he is always looking out for ways he can apply his knowledge of his native environment to ours.
This time, after much previous talk, he actually managed to teach us a system for using paddy grass to thatch huts. Traditionally the people in this area have always used coconut cajans or ‘illuk’ grass, as seen in the roofs on most of our huts.
In order for the paddy sytem to work effectively, it is vital to initially harvest it by hand and and not machine. The commercial machines cut much higher and mean the the left over grass is too short to be used in the thatch. Following a back-breaking harvest we were ready to give it a go.
We started on the farmer’s hut and it worked really well. We shall be experimenting with this technique much more in the future.