Experiences Building Shade Structures in the Navajo Nation and Uganda

In the Navajo Nation, we have constructed a variety of shade structures/car ports that are designed as rainwater harvesting structures, complete with water storage tanks. Because many Navajos don’t have piped water, these structures reduce the need to haul water to homes, gardens, and stock watering points. While the structures don’t have walls, the owners can add whatever attachments they like to make them more useful as garages, stock pens, etc.

Rainwater Harvesting Structure (Shade Structure) That's Been Partially Enclosed

Rainwater Harvesting Structure (Shade Structure) That’s Been Partially Enclosed

Volunteers from an LDS Ward from northern Utah constructed a shade structure at a Navajo subdivision park located near Blanding, Ut. It uses metal vertical poles and traditional trusses. In Utah, you have to design for snow loads. Something that is not a consideration in Uganda (it saddles the equator).

Shade Structure at a Park near Blanding, UT

Shade Structure at a Park near Blanding, UT

The Aneth Chapter, Navajo Nation, is constructing a shade structure that is also designed to collect rainwater (for use on a nearby garden) and produce solar power (grid-tied). More on this installation in a future post.

Shade Structure (Still Under Construction) That also Water Harvests and Provides Solar Power

Shade Structure (Still Under Construction) That also Water Harvests and Provides Solar Power

We first thought about building shade structures in Uganda after seeing a small, well-constructed one at a Christian restaurant in Lira. The structure used metal poles as vertical supports and metal fencing to help shore up the roof.

Shade Structure at a Christian Restaurant in Lira, Uganda

Shade Structure at a Christian Restaurant in Lira, Uganda

Metal Fencing (Black in Photo) Supporting the Roof at the Christian Restaurant

Metal Fencing (Black in Photo) Supporting the Roof at the Christian Restaurant

Our first Ugandan effort was constructed at a private school located just north of Lira. We hired a local carpenter to build the structure. Because we were not particularly happy with the supports in the roof, in the future we will be adding more supports. The building is being used in conjunction with a playground to provide relief from the African sun. In the future, we plan to add tables and benches.

Shade Structure at Survival School near Lira, Uganda

Shade Structure at Survival School near Lira, Uganda

Roof Supports at the Survival School Shade Structure

Roof Supports at the Survival School Shade Structure

Our latest effort was constructed in the small village of Abilnino, in northern Uganda. while this structure was completed after we left, it appears to have better supports under the roof. The villagers have committed to complete the walls so that the building can be used as a 3-classroom school.

Shade Structure Constructed in Northern Uganda

Shade Structure Constructed in Northern Uganda

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