Post 123 / The Next Language
January 3, 2023
Java is only one of over 17,000 islands in the nation of Indonesia. But it is where most of the population of the archipelago lives. Someone observed that Java has more people than Russia which is the largest nation on the earth.
I have been amazed at the people and the culture of Java and their ability to get things done. Let me share with words and pictures how 10 guys converted a banana patch next door into a new home with only hand tools, a few shovels, and one wheel barrow and periodic deliveries of gravel and cement over the course of two months. Some of the handles on the shovels were crafted from trees that were cut off the property to make room for the house.
We learned of the impending project when a couple of guys showed up with a shovel and some cement rings to dig a well. The hand dug well went down about 16 feet through beautiful looking topsoil into a local aquifer that seemed to be abundant and flowing through giant lava rocks. Every house in the neighborhood taps the same aquifer.
In the middle of a banana patch construction begins on what two months later would be a cozy Javanese house for a family of six. With no excavator or compactors or laser or cement mixer the foundation pillars with “chicken feet” bases embedded two feet into the ground with concrete are dug in.
The construction goes up with the use of an amazing building block that is similar to our cinder blocks but lighter. Pictured is a piece of one floating on water.
These amazing Hepel blocks are shaped with a handsaw and or a hatchet.
With those blocks and concrete beams that are poured as needed and some bamboo scaffolding the sky is the limit.
All of the concrete was mixed by hand on the ground with shovels. It is carried around in one gallon buckets to wherever needed. It sounds primitive but those guys ended up with a really nice looking house tiled inside and out.
A small electric hand grinder to cut the tile was the only automated tool we saw. It is significant that the wood for this Javanese house is wood that has been in the houses of the family for at least four generations.
They now join the ranks of the taxpayers in the neighborhood. Every week each house places 500 rupees (three cents) in a can tied to the outside of the gate for the neighborhood watch to pick up.
If you want to see a video Josh did of the project and life around here go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iRplyajEa0
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