Anatomy of a Fire Pit

In most parts of Africa there is an evening tradition that takes place in winter and in summer…..the fire pit!!

In our camp, everyone would gather around the pit about 6:00 pm, appetizers and drinks would be served, and we would all sit and tell about the exploits of our days. It was a SWEET time and one that Michael and I both looked forward to.

But this was NOT a simple event to set up and the preparations happened at various times throughout the day.

The fire pit in Mungari camp was an amazing structure, built from concrete that had been reinforced using metal traps and snares that had been confiscated from area poachers….talk about a good job of recycling!!! The circle spanned approximately 8-10 feet and could seat a LOT of people around it.

The first task of the day was to clean out the ashes from the previous night’s fire…..

You can see the small indentation where the coals will be placed to start the current fire.

Sometime during the day, one of the camp helpers would build the fire…..

To me, this looks like a pile of wood and not a pre-built fire, but it was the perfect shape, and it has made me rethink the way that we build fires here!!!!

Around 5:00pm, the worker would bring coals from one of the “water-heating” fires and place them in the indentation…..

And then they just let it sit!!

Gradually the smoke would start to rise from the middle….

….then a few flames would appear……

….and before you knew it, there was a roaring fire…..

As the night went on, people would carefully pull out the logs that were on the bottom of the pile and start to stack them tee-pee style over the flame…..

We could tell that it was a warm place to be….I was just afraid that someone would mistake “Puddin'” for one of the logs…..

About the time that the fire started roaring, we were invited to enjoy drinks and appetizers while we warmed ourselves around the fire…..

It was a wonderful way to wind down from the day and get ready for the amazing dinner that was to follow!!

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