A typical village homestead will not have a "kitchen" inside the main house, instead it will have a designated area outside. The structure, or structures is the heart of the kitchen area, with outside spaces being utilized.
The purpose is to have a fire going and being protected from the rain and wind. This area is the social setting for the women of the homestead. Girls helping mothers get water, fire wood, preparing inshima.
The amount of enclosure for insakas are cultural issue. For many it is the way things have been done and so it is continued. The availability of materials also plays into this fact. The amount of enclosure is also determined by climatic factors, some areas my be quite windy and a wall is needed to guard against wind.
Amount of enclosure
A wall (made of brick or poles and mud) is built to a height of 1.3 m. This gives ample protection from the wind as well.
Poles are use to support a thatched roof. Protection from rain and sun, but is not protected from wind. The most basic of shelter.
A wall is constructed to a height where it meets the roof structure thus completely enclosing the space. Small openings are provided to allow for ventilation and allow smoke to escape.
Poles are laid across the top of the structure. Planks are also added if available. This creates a shelf of sorts which utensils and dry goods are stored. The bark on the poles are taken off and treated with old motor oil to prevent ants, mice, rats and termites climbing up or eating the structure.
Examples Of:
The following pictures are just a few examples of what a cooking insaka looks like. There exist may variations off of simple shapes.
Back to Insakas
The fire and work area is protected from wind and rain allowing the fire to burn.
Women pounding maize
inside an enclosed cooking insaka