He replaced termite-ridden roof supports with freshly cut beams and reinforced the heat-defying mud walls, some of which are a yard thick and more than a hundred years old. After replenishing the roof thatch and sacrificing a goat to the memory of his ancestors, all that remains is applying layers of rainproofing to the exterior.
“The mud will keep us cool. The motor oil, clay, and cow dung will keep us dry,” Mousa says as we tour his living space, which is a good 25 degrees cooler than outside. “We’ve perfected this.”
Mousa, a 50-something retired school librarian with a somber demeanor, is proud of his house. That doesn’t mean living in it is his first choice, though. In recent years he’s