|On Sacred Ground|
|Protecting Baba's Bungalow—A Photo Journey|
Avatar Meher Baba's Main Bungalow in Meherazad simultaneously shelters and displays many of Beloved Baba's irreplaceable belongings, and it gives Baba's family of lovers a place to experience His Loving Presence and recall precious times spent in His company and the company of His mandali. Of course for many years the Main Bungalow was home for Baba and the women mandali; Baba did His unimaginable work for all humanity in each and every room of the house, leaving His beautiful imprint for all mankind. So when it comes time to make necessary repairs, great care is taken to protect every aspect of His home, both interior and exterior. Cupboards and rooms are carefully packed up, floors protected, ceilings supported, glass windows covered; even plants often have to be quite substantially cut back (with the knowledge that they will regrow).
Mehera would often describe the time when she and Meheru designed the Main Bungalow. She would lightly but seriously say that she should have designed the front verandah to be a good bit larger to accommodate a greater number of Baba's lovers! But with some sadness, Mehera would remember the local farmer who'd been hired to drive the bullocks round and round for long hours to properly mix the lime mortar for the new construction. He would very often be found asleep, bullocks at a standstill. Consequently, the lime mortar for the new bungalow's brick walls and slab was compromised and did not gain the bonding strength it should have.
So 40 years later, after Mehera's passing in 1989, problems began to arise in the Bungalow due to this porous, poorly mixed lime mortar. There were moist walls that rarely dried out, bad cracks in the walls, mildew, rotting beams and rafters, termites and even a partially collapsed ceiling. The roofs developed leaks which would be temporarily fixed, but clearly it wouldn't be long before a comprehensive repair would be necessary.
As you may know, repair to Baba's Main Bungalow in Meherazad began in earnest for a six-week period in January of 2015, and then continued in 2016. Plans for work in 2017 are already well underway.
Here are some "before and after" photos of the 2016 work sanctioned by the AMBPPCT, to repair and strengthen Baba's Main Bungalow so it may welcome His lovers and, of course, protect the very precious collection of items used by Him, for as long as Baba allows!
This is the original roof over Baba's dining room. You can see on the right side where the tiles are beginning to sag ...
… because the deteriorated rafters had broken and fallen on the false ceiling.
Indeed, there was a lot of water and termite damage to the rafters.
New teakwood rafters replaced the old ones ...
… and pieces of marine plywood with a radiant barrier on the underside were put in place atop the new rafters.
Tar paper and copper drip edges were added.
And here is the new roof minus some overhead branches—cooler, leak proof, and looking much as it did originally!
The original lime mortar slab over Baba and Mehera-Mani's mories (washrooms) was badly cracked and it even broke through the ceiling in some places. The leaks into the rooms and walls below were unstoppable.
Removing the lime mortar slab was difficult, but it had to be done.
Construction team-leader Chris reveals the teakwood beams. Only two had to be replaced.
Extensive preparation was required prior to pouring the new cement slab.
And it was done with great effort and love, by hand ...
… creating a new slightly sloped leak proof roof over the mories below!
The paint on the west wall of Baba's bungalow had been badly streaked for many years.
The team went to work to pressure wash, prepare and paint the wall.
Here it is freshly painted. The upper right window belongs to Baba's original bedroom. All the old window overhangs were replaced with long lasting copper, and soon the bougainvillea and cup-and-saucer plants will regrow and Baba's Bungalow will return to its original appearance.
These bougainvillea and cup-and-saucer plants had to be cut way back to repair the bungalow's foundation and paint the walls and rocks. But throughout the project they were watered and within a week of the end of construction the plants had sprouted and resumed their job of beautifying Meherazad and reinforcing its magical atmosphere.
There was a great camaraderie amongst the volunteer workers in both the 2015 and 2016 roof projects. Leader Chris Pearson put together skilled and enthusiastic teams that never lost sight of their great privilege to serve Baba in this way. But only Baba could have masterminded the successful running and completion of this critical, extensive and detailed work that was done in less than seven weeks. And we wondered, could He have orchestrated all this work because His Beloved Mehera so wanted Baba's Bungalow to be beautiful and strong, and to last a very long time for the sake of her Beloved Baba and His lovers? It certainly seemed like it to us!
—Kacy Cook for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 23 June 2016