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The Building of a Quincha House (Part II)


[Cutting of the mud batches. It is done with the legs and feet.]

Cutting of the mud batches. It is done with the legs and feet.


[Even women join the carrying of the mud to the house.]

Even women join the carrying of the mud to the house.


[A ditch is built at the base of the walls, in order to make the mud stick and not flow to the sides.]

A ditch is built at the base of the walls, in order to make the mud stick and not flow to the sides.


[Little by little, the walls are built.]

Little by little, the walls are built.


[A view of the house's inside with a few men working on the walls.]

A view of the house's inside with a few men working on the walls.


[All this work is done to the happy tune of our music.]

All this work is done to the happy tune of our music.


[This picture shows the mandatory work in pairs. Without a partner working at the other side of the house, all work would be in vain, because the wall would fall down in a matter of days or weeks.]

This picture shows the mandatory work in pairs. Without a partner working at the other side of the house, all work would be in vain, because the wall would fall down in a matter of days or weeks.


[A view of the walls, properly compacted for higher endurance.]

A view of the walls, properly compacted for higher endurance.


[A group of helpers taking a break and having fun by throwing people on the main mud pit.]

A group of helpers taking a break and having fun by throwing people on the main mud pit.


[A young

A young "embarrador" works on a window of the house.


[This wall is nearly completed, we can see that the mud has reached the top of it.]

This wall is nearly completed, we can see that the mud has reached the top of it.


[A slope is fashioned at the base of the external walls. This helps keeps frogs away from the wall.]

A slope is fashioned at the base of the external walls. This helps keeps frogs away from the wall.


[The last smoothing of the walls is then performed.]

The last smoothing of the walls is then performed.


[A view of the house as it is left at the end of the junta. The doors, windows and roof will be completed later.]

A view of the house as it is left at the end of the junta. The doors, windows and roof will be completed later.


[Our correspondent, Architect Tamara Ponce, with two of the men who directed the junta.]

Our correspondent, Architect Tamara Ponce, with two of the men who directed the junta.


By:

Tamara Ponce
2008-03-10

In the first article of this series, we described the works completed before the day of the junta, such as the building of the structure of the house.

Now, we will concentrate on the mixing of the mud with the grass and the process of carrying the mix and applying it to the walls of the house.

There is not an exact proportion between the mud, water and grass, which is actually rice grass. The more experienced builders can tell by seeing it, if the mix is right or not.

The mixing is attained by having 15 to 25 men form a line and walk again and again in the mud pit. After this is repeatedly done, and the mud is ready, several pairs of men expertly cut the mud in batches using their feet and legs.

The less experienced workers carry the mud batches to the house and give them to the men who will shape them into the walls of the house. If there is enough people, this can take a very small amount of time.

After the walls are completed, the workday ends. The house, now ready except for the doors, windows and roof is then left to completely dry.

Meanwhile, the hungry builders are offered a very nice and traditional meal. This is usually made of rice and beef soup, both considered adequate meals for hardworking men.

In this junta, held once a year in Macaracas, they have the tradition of forming a tuna at the end of the workday and then walking to the town's main square while singing tamboritos.

Also, people who don't look that they worked a lot in the junta, you can tell them because they are wearing very clean clothes, are singled out, hunted and dumped in the mud pit, so they can avoid the stigma of looking like they didn't do any work.

This celebration marks the end of the junta.


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