906. Kunuku House & Cactus Fence

Kas di Pal’i Maishi (Sorghum Stalk House), Kas di Yerba (House of Thatch) or Kas di Kunuku (Rural) House represents the indigenous dwelling that dotted our countryside in the old days. The rectangular plan of more or less 40 square meters and the symmetrical set-up with an entrance in the middle, originates from the West African region, the place of origin of the slave population brought to Curaçao.

These houses were slave dwellings made of readily available materials. The walls were tapered and constructed with wattle and daub filled with stone particles, rubble stone pile with clay plaster finishing on both sides. The floors were sealed with a mixture of clay and cow poop, the roof was covered with palu’i maishi (sorghum leaves), resting on rafters and purloins mad of tree branches, highly effective for shielding against the hot equatorial sun.

Source: Museo Curacao – Kas di Pal’i Maishi

 Den mi kasita
mi no tin nodi buska
pa haña mi mes.

In my little house
I have no need to look for
ways to find myself.

Haiku in Papiamentu by Elis Juliana.

Photo by Nicole Soliana.

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in and love Manhattan, but sometimes miss my first Awesome island...

6 comments

  1. Ms. Kay

    Hi Carolina,

    I’m a 5th grade teacher at the International School of Curacao. We are studying Kunuku houses and love their simplicity and symmetry. We are recreating our own painted versions of the houses as we study them. We are a bit haunted about the history of slavery on the island. After a recent visit to Kura Hulanda museum, were able to see the similarities of the Kunuku houses to the huts of the Dogon.

    We just found out you will be visiting our class tomorrow. We can’t wait to share our favorite things about Curacao.

    Danki,
    Ms. Kay

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