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As with so many other aspects of life in the Amazon, things we take for granted require hard work and considerable skill to be accomplished. If your roof needs replacing, you don't just hire a roofer and pay him to do the job. Most dwellings in the Amazon are covered with hand-made roofs. Leaves from the thatch palm or "Irapay" (Lepidocaryum tessmannii) are interwoven and secured to bamboo poles with long philodendron ro

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roofer at work

completed roof detail


roofer at work photo

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Here is a villager weaving the leaf stems around bamboo poles. Several dozen of these poles will be assembled to form the completed roof. An example of the finished work is shown below.

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completed roof detail photo

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This picture shows the overlapping sections of leaves tied together. Initially they are virtually leak-proof but after a while the elements and insects take their toll.Typically one of these roofs will last for about four or five years before they need to be replaced.

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