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Making Mud Blocks - Stills from Video Clip

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Sun-dried mud bricks and blocks are environmentally friendly, with one of the lowest energy requirements of any building material. They are used all over the world in areas of low rainfall, but also in wetter areas, provided that waterproof protection is applied. Mud blocks are known as Adobe in Spanish speaking countries. For more information about how mud blocks are made and used, see the Mud Brick and the Adobe   entries in Wikipedia

These pictures show mud blocks being made in one of the compounds visited in February 2005. The great majority of family compound buildings are built of mud blocks, as cement is too expensive, and these blocks were for an additional bedroom. A small hole is dug in the ground and water poured in. The soil and water are then mixed until the correct consistency is achieved. If the soil is too wet the blocks will collapse, whereas if it is too dry the finished blocks will have cracks and soon fall apart. When the mixture is ready it is shovelled onto a sheet and then transported to the drying area. The soil mixer now has a rest whilst his colleague forms the blocks. A simple metal mould is placed in position and the block maker takes a large handful of the mixture, rolls it to give a light covering of dust and then throws it into the mould, this is repeated until the mould is full and then the top surface is hand finished by patting and levelling. Finally the mould is removed and placed alongside ready to make the next block. There is obviously considerable skill involved with making sound, long lasting blocks. The mixture must be correct, the mould needs to be filled properly to eliminate air pockets and cracks and then it must be removed carefully to avoid damage to the block. Then after two days of drying in the sunshine the blocks are ready to use.

soil being dug from a hole in the ground spadefuls of clay dug from the hole and placed on a sheet
soil is mixed with water in  a hole in the ground, and shovelled onto a sheet
two men carry the sheet with its load of mud a pile of mud next to the blockmaking area
a load of mud is carried from the hole and dumped on a pile near to the block making area
rows of mud blocks with an empty mould box at the end of the front row a man takes a quantity of mud and shapes it on the ground with a rolling action
mud blocks made previously, with an empty
mould box on the left of the last row
a quantity of mud is gathered and shaped
by rolling on the ground
the man places the mud into the mould box, pats it down and levels it the mould box is lifted leaving a new block
the mud is placed into the mould box
 patted down and levelled
the mould box is lifted up, leaving a new block,
 and placed ready for the next one
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