Join a mud hut building team

This social tradition of the Panamanian countryside is replicated every year during the Canajagua Folkloric Gathering, in Macaracas, Los Santos Province.

With the appearance of mud and thatch houses came the chore of building them. All of the peasants were convened to work together on a "Junta de Embarre" in constructing the homes. The communal task involved searching, up to weeks before, for the structural materials, including wood, reeds, red vines, straw, and forks to raise the house.

The day before building, the team begins by putting together the "cage" of the house with slender sticks of the Madrone tree and red vines. Once the structure is in place, they chop up and shred pasture grass. The straw is then moistened and spread out over a mud and clay soil, to later be mixed together. At this point the men form a human chain by linking their forearms and stomp on the mixture, adding water until the mud and clay become solid.

The most experienced builder in the group digs around with this foot to extract the first lump of clay. Little by little, the work team applies the clay around the cage to form the walls of the thatch hut.