The Banana Hut

by Hannah Waller

It all started when I visited the Shik Shack Backpackers & Community Hub with Lottie, Jamie and Pierce on our way back from the Kruger National Park in October. This eco-friendly, community-run project not only offered us a cosy pallet-made bed for the night, but inspired us with all the ways they have upcycled and reused everyday ‘trash’ to build a sustainable space for the local community to utilise; and for passing tourists to appreciate it’s raw beauty.

The bottle cap curtain at Shik Shack
The bottle cap curtain at Shik Shack
Shik Shack's bottle building
Shik Shack’s bottle building
Pallet furniture social area at Shik Shack
Pallet furniture social area at Shik Shack

The possibilities were endless and my mind began to wonder, “What can I make?” “What rubbish can I upcycle?” “Where can I do this?” “Who will appreciate it?”

After returning to camp from a routine snare sweep loaded with snares we had found, I figured that we didn’t have enough space at camp to store the confiscated wires and we certainly didn’t want to dispose of them at the local dump for fear of reuse; this is when the initial idea of a shed was born.

The very next day I was on the case, choosing my location, measuring up, thinking of materials and drawing a plan to show Leah, Braam and the team, like a true professional……of which I was definitely not!

The vital blueprints!

 

Having enough materials to recycle wasn’t a problem, unfortunately Alldays and surrounding areas have a big litter problem; something that the AWCRC is actively trying to manage with regular litter picks and educational awareness at the schools. So fortunately for me it meant that I could start straight away. Plastic bottles and lids, tin cans, old irrigation tubing from local crop farms and spare wooden droppers (fence poles) at camp made up a majority of what was to be used. I was eager to get started and excited by the prospect of having our very own recycled, sustainable space that could be used for all manner of things and not just storage.

And so the build began….

Hard at work
Hard at work
Line it up
Threading the old irrigation pipe

The boiling hot days rolled on and, along with biting ants, the irrigation tubing was becoming a real pain! Threading it through the fencing, making sure it was straight (because it had to be!!) and getting it out of the tangled mess was really testing my patience. Finally help arrived in the form of Lottie and Jeanette……phew! And it was done!

Hannah and Lottie checking progress
Hannah and Lottie checking progress

It was really taking shape now; the tubing walls were up, the door installed and the roof was on. It was just a case of getting enough plastic bottles and lids to finish the back wall and the lid curtain……so we did another litter pick!

Lower walls complete
Lower walls complete, using all old irrigation piping

The construction of the Banana hut sparked many ideas of use with the team. Storage of recyclables, a workshop for crafting, an area for educational activities with the local school and a chill out zone……..with a Bar?!

Then the grand opening of the Banana Hut was finally here, with our first guests being the Vervet Monkey’s of course!

Vervet testing the roof strength
A vervet monkey testing the roof strength!
Our own bottle cap curtain!
Our own bottle cap curtain!
Comfy old tyre chairs
Comfy old tyre chairs

There is still plenty that can be done to the hut, so watch out for ongoing developments!

Finished with a tidy shelf
The finished article with a tidy little shelf too!

It should just be explained that there was no intention of keeping Banana’s in the hut (although I am sure the Vervet Monkey’s wouldn’t protest) and that the name originated from my first school visit where the children decided to call me “Hannah Banana” which has now been reduced to just “Banana”.

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