Among the Batammaliba of Togo, the word butabu describes a process of moistening earth with water in preparation for building - the prefix and siffix bu referring to the earth and all that is associated with it. Wet earth construction is a complex art based on a sound knowledge of structure and the inherent properties of various kinds of earth. If the earth is not of the correct texture, if its kneading is rushed, if the walls are not perpendicular to the ground, if structural design is uneven, or if a final layer of plaster is not properly applied, a building may very well collapse.

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