During our time in Uganda, my father and I built a brick oven. It started out as a dilapidated foundation of a barbeque.
Then . . .

We spent an afternoon demolishing the top half...

And another afternoon mixing and pouring the concrete base.

A couple of days later we had finished laying the foundation. The floor is all firebrick, because that is the only part of the oven that will be in direct contact with the flame, and the walls are made of the local bricks, which can crack under intense heat, but if they do, so what? the oven won't collapse, nothing's going to happen.

Then came the exiting part! 
Dad made a jig for the arches, so we can make them all uniform, and not guess around. We set all the bricks in place, made sure the keystone was level, and put stones in the cracks in case the mortar wasn't strong enough. Then we slopped the mortar on. When we were done, the arch was beautiful. I felt so proud, and felt really accomplished.

We had our friend Albert come over to show us the correct mud for insulation. We mixed dirt and water, scooped it up and threw it at the oven. By the end it was covered, four inches deep. I had so much fun and was absolutely filthy... And by that night we were cooking.

But, the mud would wash away in the rainy season, so we bricked up the outside.

I feel really proud and I loved spending my time in Uganda with my dad.

Rich Walker
4/11/2012 12:20:06 am

Hi guys! Remember me? I'm the large Hittite enthusiast from the states that you met in Cappadocia. Just sitting in a coffee house in Ohio and marvelling over your blog. The India and Thailand sections have me particularly filled with envy. Can't wait to see if you enjoyed the Balkans as much as I did. Be safe, although I think it's probably all down hill from here :-)

Carolyn and John
4/15/2012 09:15:32 pm

Great to hear from you Rich! I trust you are well and enjoying your memories of a quick peek back in time..
It was good meeting you,
Carolyn and John

Valerie Pollock
4/11/2012 07:20:57 am

Awesome! Your hard work and ingenuity have created a fabulous oven!

I have been enjoying both the blogs so much. Sorry I haven't commented much, but I have been thinking of you all and sending good karma your way! Can't wait to see you when you get back.
Val xoxo

Debbie Greene
4/15/2012 02:10:17 am

Hey John and Birch amazing job on the oven, it was nice to see the pictures I was wondering what it would look like. I bet it was bitter sweet leaving Africa, enjoy your time in Europe. Love to all.

Tess Morgan
4/15/2012 05:46:59 am

This looks amazing!! I'm so jealous and it looks like you guys are having a great time! :)

4/15/2012 09:56:00 am

I was going thru withdrawl cuz I hadn't seen blog updates for a while. Great updates....great experience. Keep up the writing!!! Great stories

birchy boy
4/15/2012 09:10:43 pm

sorry danny.. we couldn't access our blog during our whole six weeks in uganda. But now we are in europe, the wifi is so plentiful, the signals are causing us to vibrate. wwee aarree hhaavviinngg lloottss ooff ffuunn.

4/15/2012 09:11:49 pm

actually, I think he's vibrating from the cioccolata and the capuccino...

ella mary
4/17/2012 10:53:44 pm

That's a really neat oven. How long did it take you to build it? What did you cook in it the first time? Bye, bye, Birch!


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