Voyages & Découvertes

The house of termites

Wednesday 9 September 2009 by Stephan Mardaga

During a Sunday morning stroll, with deep impression I stopped before a smash opened and huge ant-hill; a nose cone like a resembled a cathedral. Two little boys accompanied me during the trip. At my request, they stood before the ant-hill for a photo. My aim was to substantiate its size; the centre was comprised with little compartments carved in a light wooden structure. Where is then the other half of this edifice ? I could easily comprehend that the ant-hill is partly destroyed to secure people and their backyard garden in the neighbourhood; but it is controversial that even the ground at the front was dug. Inquiring from the kids, they held me by the hand and carried me at the back : some bricks made up with dirt were laid there on line on the ground. I could not understand the explanation given by the kids; I was then left in suspense.

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The ant-hill
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The bricks

Many days later, I came back and met the bricks maker. After greeting him, he summarised his work in a happy mood : from mixing water with clay to the brick moulding and drying process. "Where does the clay comes from them ?" I asked. With a wide smile, he showed me the ant-hill. My doubts were cleared. No need to go deep in the ground to find clay, the termites do it well to build their net. Isn’t that wonderful ? A house built by men from materials used by animals to construct their own house. There is nothing much to say, human are endowed with a fertile imagination.

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The mould
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The house

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