I gave up city life to live in a hut made from cow dung in Ghana

I gave up city life to live in a hut made from cow dung in Ghana- I’m proof anyone can have a sustainable lifestyle

  • Joshua Kwaku Asiedu, 31, shares his off grid lifestyle in Ghana online
  • READ MORE: Couples reveal how they chose to live off the grid

It might sound like a nightmare to the average city-dweller, but living off grid in a house made from clay, cow dung and bamboo in the middle of a tropical forest in Ghana has proved ‘so good’ for one 31-year-old man that he simply had to share it. 

Joshua Kwaku Asiedu, who grew up in Milan and now lives in Ghana, was inspired to live off-grid after travelling the globe for seven years to ‘find himself’ and has been living remotely since 2019 after his father told him his family had land available in Ghana.

He began living remotely in Ghana on a beach bed, with a mosquito net, tarpaulin and some tools, before upgrading to a tent which he lived in for around a year until it attracted mould – it was then, in 2020, that he began to build a house.

Joshua spent just £1,000 on materials, using mainly clay, cow dung and bamboo, to construct his 27ft by 10ft house – he completed the project in just six months and it is now a fully functioning home with no monthly bills, complete with a shower, toilet, bedroom, kitchen and living area, with running water and a clay fridge.

Joshua shares his off-grid lifestyle on TikTok and Instagram, where he has hundreds of thousands of followers, to ‘show people that people can have a similar lifestyle to (him)’.

Joshua Kwaku Asiedu, 31, who grew up in Milan but now lives in Ghana, was inspired to live off-grid while travelling the world for seven years hoping to ‘find himself’

Joshua built his 27ft by 10ft in the middle of a tropical forest using mainly clay, cow dung and bamboo. He spent just £1,000 on materials and had completed the house, which boasts a shower, toilet, bedroom and a kitchen and living area, in just six months 

He makes a living through his social media, as well as hosting workshops on his off-grid lifestyle, inviting guests to stay on-site in glamping tents and selling items that he and people in the area have grown online.

‘There’s two rooms, one bedroom, one living room/kitchen and then there’s a spacious veranda,’ Joshua said.

‘I also have a beautiful shower on the veranda with a beautiful rock platform.

‘I have lights from a little solar panel, all my utensils are mainly recycled glass jars, and I have a natural fridge that I made with clay to keep things like fruit and veggies fresher for longer.’

In 2012, aged 20, Joshua left his life in Italy to ‘find himself’ and embarked on a trip around the world.

He said: ‘I decided to go and explore myself, I had no intention of travelling the world, I had the intention of travelling within myself and exploring myself and this consequently, brought me to many different areas of the world.’

Joshua’s seven-year trip saw him meeting aboriginal Australians, travelling around India and staying with monks, having adventures which ultimately inspired him to live an off-grid lifestyle.

One of his most memorable experiences was staying with a family in Samoa.

Joshua’s living room is decked out with a sofa, chairs and bookshelves. The lights work thanks to a solar panel and the property contains a handmade clay fridge

 Joshua only occasionally ventures into the local village to buy food from the market, preferring to eat the food that he grows, including tomatoes, peppers and ginger

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He said: ‘They were living very much sustainably, I lived with them for a couple of months, and they would gather fish with spears, gather their own fruit, make their own clothing by extracting fibres from leaves.

‘It was a beautiful and rich culture that gave me so much and pushed me and made me realise, even in the 21st century, this type of life is still very much doable and possible and beneficial.’

In 2019 Joshua decided to settle in one place and embrace the off-grid lifestyle he had experienced while travelling.

He said: ‘The main reason for me going off-grid was to reconnect with nature and my heritage.

‘I was looking for a piece of land but I was refusing to buy land because I don’t like the concept of buying.’

After looking for free land and being unsuccessful, Joshua met up with his father and told him about his plans and, to his amazement, found out his father had inherited land in Ghana from his grandparents.

Joshua joked: ‘I didn’t know about these lands at all, so I said, “Oh, thank you for telling me this right now, awesome”.’

When he told his parents that he planned to live there, he said: ‘I think they admired that I was reconnecting to my roots.’

Joshua, who lived in Italy until he was 20, has made himself a fully-functioning kitchen with running water and natural clay fridge. His utensils are mostly recycled glass jars 

Between 2018 and 2019, Joshua went to Ghana and examined the land.

He said: ‘There was not just one piece of land, but multiple pieces of land – I decided to move on to this very piece of land because I felt that it was the most untouched and the most isolated, it’s located about one kilometre from the closest village.

‘So it’s in a tropical forest, and the land used to be a cacao farm.’

In 2019, Joshua moved on to the land, for which he said he did not need a permit.

He said: ‘When I first came, I was sleeping on a beach bed and the only things I had were a mosquito net and a plastic tarp to cover me from the rain, as well as a shovel and a few tools to dig a well for water.

‘I then moved into a tent and lived there for about a year, but it started to deteriorate because of the humidity, and it attracted mould, so it was not suitable for me to stay there, so I started to build a house.’

Joshua built his house in just six months, spending only £1,000 on local materials.

He said: ‘Over three months, with one of the villager’s elders, we put up the house and then after three months he left and it took me another three months to make the house functional.

Mainly natural materials were used to build the house, namely clay, cow dung and bamboo, and Joshua completed the impressive project within six months

Joshua, who mostly eats the food that he grows on his land, only occasionally supplementing it with market-bought goods, posts pictures and videos on social media to show others that it is possible to live a more simple life 

‘The house has been mainly built with clay with a few recycled materials but mainly clay rocks, cow dung and bamboo.’

Joshua’s home also has a toilet and shower.

He said: ‘I have running water, so the water is collected from the tank or from the well.

‘I wash my dishes and bowls and even have a shower on the side of the veranda.

‘There’s also a garden where I grow different types of food, like tomatoes, peppers and ginger, it really feels like home.’

Joshua does not pay any bills, he occasionally goes into the local village to buy food from the market, but he mainly eats what he grows.

He has been able to generate an income from posting on TikTok, where he has more than 379,000 followers, and Instagram, where he has more than 317,000 followers.

Joshua created his Instagram account first, in 2019, and explained why he began to post about his off-grid lifestyle, saying: ‘I think it was the human nature of being willing to share something that is so good, that cannot be kept for oneself.

Joshua is able to have running water in his home thanks to the well onsite. He’s able to wash his dishes and bowls, and even has a proper shower on the side of the veranda 

‘My real aim is to show people that people can have a similar lifestyle to me.’

He has also developed a business selling items that he and people in the area have grown, such as plantain flour, and has guests who stay in glamping tents, hosting workshops on his lifestyle.

Asked if he could imagine ever going back to the way he used to live, Joshua said that his lifestyle is now set.

‘Maybe life will bring me in a different… geographical area, but the lifestyle will be the same for sure,’ he said.

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