Making mud bricks in Nampangala.

One of John’s projects is brick making. The process is started by digging into the fine sand of an ant hill / nest . These are very common. Thanks to the actions of the ants the mud tends to be very fine. Heaps are made and mixed with water to make a thick moist clay like texture. This moisture is retained for a few days, remixed and remoistened if necessary. After another rest the mud is placed in moulds to form the bricks. These are then stacked to slowly dry. To prevent any rain from damaging the bricks they are covered with grass, banana leaves or anything at hand. Sufficient bricks are accumulated in this way.

Once there is enough to build a stack for firing the stack is built, perhaps about fifteen feet high. Mud is smeared over the stack and left to dry.

Three ports, generally, are built into the stack. Fires are lit in each port and kept burning for many hours, often through the night. Once sufficient heat has been generated the ports are sealed with bricks and mud.

After a considerable cooling process of cooling the stack can be unsealed and dismantled as and when required.

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