In The Gambia, Real Estate is starting to boom. For me, it makes trying to plan for something in the future, without more support very hard.
As I mentioned else where, we have land but desperately need a house because the one we are living in is unsafe and is literally falling down.
I have spoken to a number of local builder's about house prices. I would like to take a loan but on my income, the idea is out of the question at present. One of the reasons is that our wages are low( Gambian Dalasi) but commondities, including houses are selling at US prices. For example US$100 = 4880.00 Gambian Dalasi. You see my problem.
At the cheaper end, a typical concrete-brick shell known as the compound style in The Gambia, is about $7,000. It has no plumbing or additional amentities and would certainly be a better then the traditional home-made compressed earth-blocks - like I am presently living in, which is old and now falling down). With heavy rains, is very hard to keep the moisture out.
I have been thinking that it might be possible to build my house with "Benefits of Polystyrene Panels for Construction". I am still learning about this sort of option but I believe a modern material like this would have it's benefits for the build and for the environment overall. Alternatively, a Facebook friend from Australia send me this link on precast concrete, which outline the benefits.
Our second option is to buy a big shed
This is because I am not sure how long the roof of the house we are will hold-out. As you can see, the house we are presently living in falling down. It is impossible to fix it, it would be too costly and, the house is not ours.
As an emergency option, we may have to find a way to buy a shed while we try to raise the money for a house. I know this is the way many people had to do, before they actually get to build a house. We are thinking about it.
The advantage yes, would be that we would be on-site. We could work on the food-gardens and prepare the block for building. I have been looking at some ideas I have seen about building a DIY small concrete-earth water-tanks from the Phillippines. I am about to experiment with this idea. Having a shed on the block would certainly help harvest the water-run off.
Building a House myself?
This concept is a difficult one. Firstly because I am the main bread-winner within the family. I work long hours and wouldn't have enough time to build a whole house. How long would this option take. What are the probability? It is a risk when you are supporting your mother and her four young children. I worry the stress would be too much, given the uncertainties. I worry because I have no building experience.
Secondly, I would prefer to do a build with modern materials. This is because The Gambia is moving forward. It is not unreasonable to suggest that using these materials would be any more expensive. Then there is the paying for labour and all the legalities, without the professional over-sight.
If I was to canvas this option, I have been thinking about calling for "international volunteer" or "woofer" type support. I am wondering if I could find a way to create a group of volunteers. I have only just found out about this possiblity. If anyone could tell me more I would be most grateful.