Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Place Where I Live

The place where I live has no pipes running through the walls. It has no glass in either of the two windows and a single light bulb near the ceiling of each of the two rooms. It has uneven mud walls, painted over with thin plaster and cheery yellow paint. The floor is cement covered with sheets of patterned, brown plastic flooring. There are no built in closets or cupboards. There is no toilet. Without a doubt, it's basic. But it's ours and I love it.

Of the two rooms, one is filled with a custom-made king size bed fashioned from two twin mattresses. The mattresses are foam and are just under five inches thick. Sheets were found to cover this enormous monster at a single store in the capital. Never could we find sheets that size in our town or even our hub town, the capital of our region. Our bed is draped in a mosquito net which fills the room to near capacity but when you are inside it sitting up or sleeping, it is very comfortable and roomy. On each side of the bed is a square wooden nightstand. Also in the bedroom is a shelf for our clothes and a much smaller basket-style shelf for bathroom and other small supplies. Above this is a small plastic mirror, hung on a nail. It is our only mirror. Next to it is a black bag containing a yoga mat bought in Addis for a very large amount of money, all things considered.

The other room is our kitchen, living room, and dining room. In one corner is our kitchen cabinet, which doubles as storage and a worktop. Atop this is a water filter, an electric kettle, a propane stove (for when the power goes out), an electric stove (for when there's power), some fresh fruit from the market (if we have any) and usually our pots and tea kettle when they are not in use or dirty. Inside the cabinet is storage of food, spices, tea, coffee (both raw and already roasted and ground) utensils, plates, bowls, plastic cutting boards, tupperware, and foil. Under this cabinet is a big aluminum pot with a lid (used as an oven on the stove top) and a green plastic basin for dirty dishes. Next to it are two yellow jerrycans filled with drinking water to be boiled and put through the filter.

In another corner is an identical shelf to the one in the bedroom holding clothes, expect this one contains books and other various office supplies, more foodstuffs that don't fit in the cabinet, candles, toilet paper, games, and various other small things. Next to this shelf is a wooden table and two chairs, where we spend most of our time when we're at home. Next to the table is the corner where we keep the trash can (used only for paper/plastic trash and not food waste), buckets of water for washing, and a bucket for used water/food waste that we dump out in a big hole in the compound every day. The last corner is reserved for the door and behind that, hanging on the wall are the broom, dustpan, an umbrella, and the frisbee. Our shoes are near the door and we have indoor shoes, which we wear inside at all times.

Outside our house are some common areas we share with the family whose compound we live in. One is the shint bet, which is the latrine/squatty potty/hole-in-the-ground-where-we-relieve-ourselves/bathroom/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. It's a small room with a porcelain squat toilet set into cement over a massive, very deep hole. There is also a basket for used toilet paper (to be burned later), a broom, a bottle of bleach powder, and many little winged bugs that are never absent. The family keeps the shint bet very clean. It is very rarely smelly.

Also, is a similarly sized room with bubble gum pink walls and an orange ceiling, called the shower bet. As you can tell from the name, this is where we shower. There is a square piece of shower floor with a hole that drains into the same hole as the shint bet. There is a shower head that gets water from a big plastic barrel filled with water on a tall, thin tower made from branches, located just outside the shower bet. Gravity brings the water down to the shower head and also to the sink, which I didn't mention before but is in there too. Lastly there is a big barrel in the corner which holds extra water. When our buckets (for washing) run out, this is where we fill them up again if the tap out in the yard is not running (It usually comes on about 1-2 times a week).

When we shower, we usually heat up water and carry it in there with a bucket and then pour it over ourselves. It's worth the extra work to not have to take a cold shower. All through pre-service training I took cold showers and I've had enough of them, at least for a while. I've been told that it gets really hot in January and February so maybe then it will feel good. We'll see.

That's about it! This is our living situation in Durame. Oh, I almost forgot the best part—the view! We have an absolutely gorgeous view of Ambericho Mountain from our window. There's a big incet (false banana, looks like a banana tree but doesn't grow bananas) tree and some laundry and power lines and then the beautiful, green mountain. I adore it, especially during the golden hour before sunset. The picture does not do it justice, at all

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Settling In...Still

Hello out there! Sorry I haven't posted for a while, but we've been busy settling in here in Durame. We are both teaching English 4-5 days a week and figuring out everything you have to figure out when moving to a new town. Even though we've been here for six weeks already, I still feel like we're just getting the hang of things! I prepared a longer blog post with a few updates but now it's not loading on the internet cafe's computer. Oh well, such is life! :)

While we're getting settled here, I'm curious: what kinds of things you would like to see on the blog about Durame, Ethiopia, or our life here?? Please let me know in the comments and I'll try to get some posts up about whatever you are interested in. Don't worry if your answer is specific or not, I would still love to hear from you!

Today is market day, so we're off to haggle over some fruit and veggies! :)

P.S. The photo above is of the little kitty, named Peek, who lives in our compound.