Monday, September 14, 2009

Palapa – working on the thatch

Tuesday was spent hauling thatch and making some final adjustments to the framework.

On Wednesday we gathered one more load of thatch in the morning, had lunch and started preparing the thatch to put up. Since Chuck and I are gringos and we haven’t split thatch before, Julio made us a splitter so we wouldn’t break either side of the cohune stalk which is the backbone for the thatch to hang from and is used to tie the palm frond to the roof supports. Julio whipped up this little device with his machete in about 5 minutes and mounted it in the ground using “jungle tools”. Here is how it works for us novice thatchers.

Well, the local guys are much better than Chuck and I at splitting the fronds (without the splitter) so we decided to leave it to them and we helped haul and stack so that it was easy to hand up when we started working up on the roof. When we were done splitting, it reminded me of a very neat, organized lumberyard except the piles were of thatch instead of boards.

In the afternoon, we finally started thatching. It was great to finally see what the roof was going to look like. To attach the thatch, they use black twine woven into the palm fronds and then tie it to the wooden roof supports. It comes out very strong and each section of cohune leaf can hold the guys up when they stand on it to straighten it all out. By the end of the afternoon, we had one of the short sides done (the hottest to do in the afternoon sun).

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