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Self-build housing

Building a traditional Maasai home

A traditional Maasai house is called an 'enkaji'. This is a temporary home based on a simple frame structure and made from materials like twigs, soil, cow dung and grass.

The enkaji's frame is made of timber poles fixed directly into the ground. These are interwoven with smaller branches and twigs placed closely together to form a matrix. Wood from the oiti tree is used, because it resists termites (destructive insects) and grows in both highland and lowland areas.

The enkaji's roof is overlaid with dried grass. Soil, cow dung and ash are mixed together to form a plaster for inside and outside the house.

Small in size (just 3m x 5m x 1.5m tall), an enkaji provides space for cooking, sleeping and some storage. Although in many ways it is practical as a temporary home, you might not find it very comfortable to live in on a day-to-day basis.

The problems of living in an enkaji

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