Home Sweet Home
This is the front of my host family's house after too much rain caused the dirt wall to fall.
My host mom Ouardia on the left and her niece Aicha on the right, after the shock of the fallen wall.
My mom asked me once what happens to my adobe house when it rains. I didn't know then but boy do I know now. This is my host family's house. It had been raining for about four days and one morning we looked outside and saw that half of the front wall of the house had fallen. Not only was the entrance to the house now exposed but the wall had fallen on the well and the bathroom. This meant no water or facilities. Fortunately for me, but not so much for my host family, I was moving into my own house that day. It has taken over two weeks but the wall has been completely rebuilt. I would go over to the house and watch my host grandfather and his sons rebuilding the wall. They basically used the mud and rocks that had fallen and repacked them to make a new wall and used bamboo to rebuild part of the roof. A little water, a little mud, some bamboo and lots of hard work and there's a beautiful, new wall! So, now every time I go to my host family's house I ask, "how's the wall today?" and they reply with, "well, it's still there."
What remains of the bit lma (bathroom). My host family had to squat elsewhere for two weeks.
My host Grandpa working on rebuilding the wall. Doesn't he look so cute in his work clothes?
As for my new house, it's great. I felt really bad moving out of my host family's house and into mine just as they were experiencing this dilemma. I offered to help in rebuilding the wall but they told me that it was a mans job. Hmm, a mans job. I tried hard to repress my thoughts on that subject. Good thing they don't understand any English. I did help pick up the bamboo shoots once they were cut. They had no problem with me doing that. I guess picking up after a man is a woman's job. Please don't get me started! Regardless, I don't have to worry every time it rains because it's not an adobe house. It's actually built out of concrete. It's also not in my community but in the community attached to mine. Even though it's a different community, it only takes me 10 minutes to walk from my house to the women's cooperative, which is where I'll be working for the rest of my service. Because my site is so small, the housing was very limited. The houses that were available were not approved by Peace Corps for this or that reason. One of the places that I was shown as a potential living space was an actual hanut (store) that still had bags of sugar and empty bottles of Coke in it. I don't know about you but I've always dreamed of living in a 7-11! That "house" also wasn't approved. After much work, I'm starting to settle into my house. I am pleased to say that I do have water everyday! There's a chateau at my landlords house that supplies water to them, me and my neighbor. A volunteer from a bigger city came to my house and asked me how I got hot water and I just looked at him with that sarcastic look that I'm sure you all know very well and said, "well, sometimes if the sun hits the chateau just right and it stays there long enough then I might get some lukewarm or tepid water." (J-Lo, I used the word "tepid" just for you!) You have to understand that some volunteers have more amenities than others. This particular volunteer has a hot water heater, a shower and a western toilet! Other volunteers even have ceiling fans, something I'm going to wish I had when the summer heat kicks in. Even though I don't have hot water, a shower or a western toilet, I am very thankful that I have running water everyday.
My new tdart (house). The big double doors go into my landlords house. My door is the little one on the right and my house is connected to another house just like mine. The white line in the middle is the seperation of my house and my neighbors house.