By Arch Ben Wokorach
“Lapwony Okeco” directly translated as “The teacher got angry” is a statement commonly used in my home area to describe a housing style/typology. This style of housing is very simple, consisting of basic straight lines, mono-pitch roof and few rooms and very affordable.
Normally the design is done on the ground, rooms are measured by feet on site and construction done by any local mason.
Despite the low pay scale for teachers in the country, society expects the teacher to maintain certain standards. It is considered shameful for a teacher to retire without an iron sheet structure in his/her compound.
This is where the saying comes in that, “Indeed the teacher gets angry and builds something.”
When I realised that my mother was about to retire from her profession, I could not bear to let her retire without a house of her own. I was so annoyed that after all her years of public service, she may have nothing to show for it. So I got angry and started building.
This structure, now 70% complete is for my mum, who retired from teaching in March 2020. She too wanted “Lapwony okeco” not so big, sizable and within a manageable budget.
Borrowing from the simple style, I worked my magic and here we are…the truth is she is so excited about the outcome and she never stops talking about completing it.
Only when I begun on this structure did it begin to dawn on me that many people actually do not have their own homes. Many people wish they could construct a simple house that is decent, with comfort and elegance that they can call their own. Building for my mother made me realise I can help more than just her.
My five year plan is to do more research and design innovate affordable models that any Ugandan can put up and not spend more than shillings 35 million ($ 10,000) or less for 2 bedrooms…it should be possible!
I will call it, “Lapwony Obunyu” which translates to, “The teacher got excited” model.
The author Arch Ben Wokorach is an architect constructing a home for his mother