Being an anarchist, anything regarding auto-sufficiency is of a huge interest to me. The thought alone that I am so dependent on other peoples knowledge (most of these commercialised through companies) is dwarfing to me. Most of my friends wouldn't even know how to grow a tomato, let alone change a door knob or fix a broken toilet. In the recent years, I have tried to combat that notion. We are more powerful and capable, than we ever give ourselves credit for.
That's why I'm fascinated with learing life skills, learning how to grow my own food, build my own house and repair my own clothes, tools and electronics. I am also intrigued by ideas about living without money, off the grid and minimalist life style. That is how Build a House made it to my bucket list.
Said jokingly, how can I call myslef a man, if don't even know how to build a house? Well, now I do, and it was one of the most empowering experriences of my entire life! We were a bunch of people, with no skills or training, whatsoever, who set out to build this house in the mountains of Mexico. We leveled the ground, dug the wholes for the poles, filled cement bags with clay and dirt and build up the buttoms of the walls. Putting up the skeleton of the house took a lot of hands and a lot of work, but the results were breathtaking. One of the climaxes for me, were when me and two friends put in the floor on the first floor, the floor I would be sleeping on for the rest of my stay. Nothing quite beats sleeping on a floor you made yourself, under a roof you helped build and put up (with the moon and the stars visible through the windows.
We made the house with primitive tools and primitive means, often we would have to chop down a nearby tree, when we needed timber. My soft academic hands filled with blisters, but hardened over time. Every strike with a hammer to a nail, improved my precision and understanding of how the nail can make or break the wood. I had experience with axe work, but my skills vastly improved, as I had to make floor boards fit, fortify angles or cut firewood for the meals (all cooked over open fire).
Being with this group of highly resourceful people taught me more than any teacher ever could. Sometimes we learned the hard way, the really hard way, as when we had build the wall you see in the picture, but put more weight into the cob than it could take. The wall started sliding down towards me and my friend Henrik, as we were building it. We had to tear the whole wall down and start over. Most of the house was build out of salvaged materials, so when we found out we could use old soda crates and thus gain more light and ventilation, we were pretty psyched. The final result was, that the house got a church like feel, when the sun shined in through the coloured plastic in the afternoon.
Granted, most westerners would probably fancy a bit less basic conditions of living, than what is possible in a house like this. But we killed the misunderstanding, that you have to be a carpenter to build a house. A carpenter will definitely build a much better house, but anyone can do it, we have so much power to change and create, if only we would get better at accepting it!!!!
When was the last time you did something really empowering?
Please share in the comments!