Recently, a fellow volunteer painted his roof white to reduce the heat absorbed by the metal sheets. He then generously offered to donate paint and a helping hand for me to do the same. It turned out to be exceedingly simple. Most of the difficulty and frustration came in securing (paint was hijacked) and transferring (khombis ran out gas) the paint from his site to mine. The actual painting took an hour at most. There were two of us working on a pretty small surface and I was not particularly concerned with how it looked. It has only been a few days now since the project was completed but I can already tell there is a difference. I would say it knocked a few degrees off the temperature which is most appreciated in the afternoon. This is the sort of thing that is extraordinarily satisfying to me; it was a simple and easy procedure that has a fairly substantial payoff. For posterity sake here are the steps:
1. Wake up early so that the sun has not had time to turn the roof into a baking tray. Get out the ricketiest most unnerving ladder you can find and scramble up onto that roof.
2. Once your up on top, the metal is probably sturdy but it helps to walk on the support beams-- I could only picture in my mind were exactly I would be falling through into my room if things went terribly wrong ("right about here I would snag the electrical supply to my room and then hit my head on my desk"). Clear away any objects that might make painting difficult, this includes things like shards of animal bones, wheel rims, bike chains, and all manner of scrap metal.
3. It would also be good to give your roof a once over with a broom just to get all the finer sand and dust particles. This is especially true if you live in the desert. Mark out your intended area of roof coolification.
4. Paint the roof white. Using white paint might be the most important step of all; any color would not be as effective and probably worse, much worse if you choose black. I feel sad for you if you don't believe me on this point but test it out for yourself.
5. Enjoy the benefits of a more comfortable living space.