No Place Like Home
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Typical small village
A small village in Bandundu, east of Kikwit. 
The contrast between grass covered savannahs and forested valleys can be seen in the background.
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Building a house frame Architecture in Bandundu reflects the fact that much of the province is characterized by sandy soils.  House walls are built first with a framework of sticks and palm frond stems.  The rope used to tie the sticks to the stems is made from a vine found in marshy areas.
Small building After the frame has been built, and the roof has been placed, sand is mixed with water and the resulting paste is used to fill the framework.  Another layer of mud, sometimes mixed with cement, is used to cover the walls.   The walls are then sometimes painted with a chalk based white-wash.
Drying vines on the roof of the house Grass roofs like this one need to be replaced on a 1-2 year basis as termites tend to make their nests in the roof.   The owner of this home was drying the fibers from forest vines on his roof before taking them to market to sell.    These are the same vines used in home construction. 
Welcome committee  For those who can afford them, corrugated tin sheets are used to roof their homes.  Villagers place basins under tin roofs like this one in order to collect water during heavy rain storms.  That is one less basin of water that needs to be fetched from the local water source.  This house was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer's home for 2 years.  
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