Our House

If our house would be located in my country of birth (The Netherlands), I have no doubt a city official would show up to board up the entrance and put a sign ‘unfit for human use’ on the door. But since we’re in the tropics and things around here work a little simpler it’s not that big of an issue. Still, it’s not a quality house, especially on sunny days the metal roof heats up so much that inside you feel like you’re in an oven.

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We started by changing the open space under the roof into a closed off living room and kitchen. Instead of using glass we used mosquito mesh to keep ventilation adequate but bugs and chickens out.

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Even although we’re almost always outside, it’s good to have a roofed over space when it rains. The house as it was only provided space for bedrooms.

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When we arrived there was no running water, you’d be dragging buckets from the water tanks to the kitchen. As you can guess from that there is also no connection to municipal water, the water we use is 100% rooftop rainwater. We pump it uphill a bit and then it gravity feeds back to the shower and the kitchen through a hose.

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The picture below shows our catchment system, 5000 liters in plastic tanks and 15,000 liters in the concrete tank at the right.

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We also did not have any hot water, but that was easily solved by putting a black hose on top of the shower. When the sun shines we get pretty hot water like this, but in clouded or rainy days and at night it obviously doesn’t work.

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The house is connected to the electricity grid by long cables coming of the mountain. The power regularly fails though, mostly due to weather related damage to the above ground power lines. The longest time without power was 8 days after lightning struck the cables right on top of our mountain. That gave quite a spark and a bang where the steel anchor cable for the pole is secured to the ground.

Internet we have through the mobile phone network. The antenna stands right above us on the top of our mountain.

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The guest room:

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A little corner for our computer. The door inside on the left goes to our ‘master bedroom’.

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The shower…

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The conditions we live under are a bit on the primitive side, it’s almost like camping. Most of our neighbors have similar or worse houses. We’re living in the poor countryside of Colombia. The plan we have is to construct a new house, more in the middle of the farm, using the earthbag method. The current house can then be renovated and used as a guesthouse.

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