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domingo, septiembre 02, 2012

Up On A Roof

In late June, before any of the tropical storms or hurricanes came to this corner of the Caribbean, the palaperos came. Four generations of them. Palaperos are the people, traditionally men, who make palapa roofs. Palapa roofs are roofs made of palm thatch. The calling of being a palapero is passed down withsin various families, as its been traditionally way for thousands of years. Typically, palaperos work without nets, without good ladders, without helmets, or restraints. And they wear sandals while climbing in high places on narrow, wood supports.

The roof on the Nah Yaxche, this house, was 15 years old. The original roof was installed by Sixto and his family. And though we'd been repairing it, the time had come, as it does eventually with all things, to replace the roof. It was worn out. And it couldn't be repaired any more. It would not stop leaking from TSs or bigger Hs. This was a big task: the roof is extremely tall,and round, and has many poles supporting it. The supports were all still in great shape, so they did not have to be changed. Sixto again returned and with his family replaced the whole thing. There are before and after and during photos for another essay (one to be put up when I have an Internet connection like a fire hose rather than the straw I'm using here).

This essay is just to show you two photos of the finished roof. Inside:

and outside:

And, of course, to note that this kind of indigenous, traditional, green architecture is art. Of course. Just look at what goes into it and how it's done. But more important, and essential to its being great art, it works. It's cool in the house even when it's bright and hot outside like today. And ceiling fans are more than enough to keep it cool. It's dry even when there are gail winds and downpours from TSs and Hs. Put simply, if you were going to design a green house for this corner of the Caribbean, one with a small carbon footprint, you just not do better than this house. What a remarkable structure it is. Is it any wonder why I love it so much?

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