To finish up my time in
In one of my earlier posts, I was criticizing a preservation project in
So, while many houses are actually getting into better shape, some of the original inhabitants aren’t around. Another thing I noticed is that the new and renovated houses are getting to be quite large. Most of the houses used to be one story with maybe a kitchen on top (to prevent fires from spreading on the floor below). People used to be able to move from roof to roof. However, these new homes are rising up to four and five stories, dominating the houses below. They actually reminded me of our McMansion problem in the
Part of the challenge within all of this is the need to have order and control. And this is much more critical in historically significant areas where preservation is of a main concern. I was speaking with an inspector in the conservation department here, and he was saying that Kenyans don’t really have much interest in preservation. To them, this is an old way of life and does not necessarily represent the advancement and aspirations of the people themselves. They want to be building with what is new and modern, not that which is old and original. Yet, on the flip side, those who do come from the developed world, and have tired from all things modern, seem to fall in love with this place, its buildings, and its throwback to the past.
For preservation reasons, one of the things that has to be controlled is the use of materials. Amazingly, corrugated iron is not permitted to be used here, even though there is still plenty of it. Most of the buildings are made from coral. Locals cut the blocks by hand (as it is much softer than most rock). The wood for supporting the floors and such in mahogany and mangrove. The structure is very similar to that used in