Monday, March 28, 2011

More about my house

More about my house
I told you a bit about my house, but I thought you might be interested in seeing some pictures of the interior. I am not allowed to post pictures of the exterior as a matter of security, but I think the inside is more interesting anyway. First, here is a picture of me in my living room.

There are several things to notice here.

The chairs are referred to here as village chairs. They are made of tree branches, goat hide, and metal wire. They are very cheap, the equivalent of about $3.00 each. In normal use, being hauled to and from the courtyard every day, getting caught in the rain, and so on, they may last a few months or a year. I am hoping these will last for my two years here. I found the seats a bit hard for sitting and asked my Burkinabè daughter in law where I could find some cushion stuffing. A couple of days later she showed up with the blue cushion I am sitting on which is a cover over a piece of foam rubber. At Christmas, when my family and we did a run to the big marché, I was able to buy a chunk of foam to use for making cushions. I had some left over pieces of material from dresses I had made for me at the tailor (there will be another blog about clothes) and I used them to make the covers you see behind me and on the other chair.

The little table is lucky to be here. When I had my first termite attack it was sitting in the corner behind were I am sitting. I had lined up my books on it against the wall and thought it was a great idea until I noticed one day that there appeared to be mud on the top of several of them. I looked closer and found that they were termite tunnels. I knocked the tunnels off and put insecticide all over that side of the room. Before I noticed the tunnels the termites had eaten the margin of my Intermediate French Review book, and a track across the top of this table. They only got through the first layer of the plywood so it is still serviceable. On the table is also a copy of that great picture of my family some of you have seen in my office or on the wall in my living room at home. It is a great conversation piece and reminds me of home. The whisky bottle is filled with peanuts and a gift from my Burkinabè daughter in law.

Water storage
Behind me in the picture are the things in which I store water. About every 10 days I get 200 liters of water. The daughter of my community homologue comes with the donkey cart and a 200 liter barrel filled with water from the town water supply. I understand that it has received some treatment and is much safer to drink than water from open wells, but I still treat it. Below is a picture of the things I store water in. There is a big 100 liter garbage can, four jugs that hold about 22 liters each, and a few buckets for what won’t fit in the other containers.

Water treatment
Even though the water is supposed to have been treated I don’t trust it. Here is a picture of my water filter.

You put the water in the top bucket and it slowly drains into the bottom one through a filter. I add Eau de Javel (bleach) to the bottom bucket and the water tastes like it came out of the faucet in Cleveland. Now I also put Eau de Javel in all the water I use to wash dishes and rinse vegetables, etc. I had an attack of giardia back in November and I am pretty sure it was from not putting the bleach in the water I use for dishes and such. I have always soaked vegetables in bleach treated water as soon as I bring them into the house. However if I leave tomatoes on the counter after that, they get dusty. I think I rinsed some off with untreated water and the rest is history. Ugh! Not fun.

Other stuff in the living room

The picture above shows my book case with one of the wall hangings from the handicapped gift shop I mentioned before, and a small drum that is decorative but makes a good sound. I will try to bring it home if the termites don’t get it before I leave. The book case if full of paperbacks from the “library” at the transit house. I am really grateful to have a place where I can get books to occupy my time where there is no work to be done. Every time I visit Ouaga I have a half a dozen books to return and come back with more. On top of the book case are two bronze bookends that my family bought for me at Christmas. They are a boy and a girl reading books. Next to them you see my substitute for a fly swatter. When flies get into the house (every time you open the door) they tend to end up on the screen doors. I have found it very efficient to take that piece of cloth, trap them between it and the screen, and squish them. It is much easier than trying to swat them and saves the screen, I think.

A couple more pictures

Above is another wall hanging from the gift shop I have mentioned,

This last picture shows a piece of hand weaving that I also use as a wall decoration. I actually wore it as a pagna at our in-service training when I first bought it and I think I stretched it out, so it looks like it is hanging crooked. I still like it. Also notice the bicycle in the livingroom. My neighbors would have a fit if I tried to leave it in my courtyard over night. Someone might steal it!

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