Monday, June 16, 2014

House Hunting

In June Sahel Academy closes for the academic year and many of our personnel leave.  Either their short term is completed, they go on home assignment, or they leave for good for a number of reasons.  Then in July and August we get a large influx of personnel....some are new and others are returning from their home assignment.

Many years the houses that are vacated by those leaving are filled by those arriving.  But every now and then we don't have enough houses.  This year is an example.  For now we are in need of two more houses.

So Friday my friend, Beka, and I went house hunting.  Beka is in charge of making sure houses for short-termers are furnished.  So I really appreciate her input on housing. 

There are a lot of fruit trees in the yard.  Some potted plants on the terrace would make it look really nice.
 We were taken to a house that on first tour through we thought, "No.  It's going to require too much work."  Then we started thinking about the positives, such as it's just the right size and the rent is reasonable.

The landlord then informed us that if we could pay several months of rent in advance he would do all the repairs we wanted. 
Living room/dining room
 We want glass windows and window screens put in.  Fans need to be replaced.  Door handles need to be replaced.  He needs to check the roof and see if it's leaking. The entire house needs to be painted. But the major thing is this kitchen.  As you can see, it's just an empty room.  He said he'll put in a sink and a work bench. 
Can you imagine a kitchen here?
Sink, shower, toilet....not room for much else in there.
 Adding wall cupboards, etc. will be up to us.  It will be a galley kitchen, but I think with a lighter color of paint it won't be bad.

What do you think?  Can you see beyond the grime to what it CAN be?

One good thing....the landlord has recently tiled the house and it looks really nice.

We'll let you know if we end up signing a contract for this one or not.

Monday, June 02, 2014

He's Back and the Craziness Continues

Wow, this past week has been crazy! John got back from the UK on Friday, May 23, around 2:30 p.m. He had had good connections and a good trip, just very, very tiring since he'd had a red-eye from UK to Ethiopia. We had a nice afternoon together and I made pizza for supper and we watched a short video before John headed off to bed.

The next day John started in on a household task that has needed to be done for quite awhile. We have grass mats over our terrace to keep the sun from shining directly on the house and to provide shade so we can sit on the terrace.

 The mats do wear out with time and these were about at the end of their usefulness. When they did the roof repair job, the guys let big hunks of cement fall on the mats, knocking holes in them. That meant that every day there was grass mat debris all over the terrace and it was getting harder and harder to keep it clean. So John's first job was to rip out the grass mats. It was harder than it sounds since the person who put up these particular mats during our Home Assignment had added lots of extra wires that he had to work around. Two sections of the terrace are shaded with mats and he got the biggest section done. He was a filthy mess by the time he was done. He was so dirty, as you can see from the pictures below, that I had to hose him off with the garden hose before he could go in the house and take a shower. And did I mention that it was about 106 degrees and 40-some percent humidity? This is what happens when you sweat while doing a dirty job....the dirt sticks to you!





Meanwhile I needed to check on the house of a family who is coming back soon to see what we needed to put in there for their arrival (sheets, towels, etc.). I realized the curtains had been hanging in the windows for a year and were filthy, so I took them all down and brought them home to wash. When I got back home I helped John by carting the mat debris out and dumping it in the empty compound next door.
It didn't take long before I was overwhelmed with heat and decided our guard could finish the job.

Saturday night we went to a nice Italian restaurant to celebrate my birthday a bit belatedly. We had a nice evening and when we got home John gave me some gifts he had bought in England. Then I slept fitfully.....garlic dreams, I guess. Also, a storm came up in the night and all those curtains were still hanging on the line, so I went outside to take them down. So, I didn't sleep well and was still asleep when John went to church.

John jumped right back in to working on his studies. He's busy coding all of the interviews he's done. It's going to be quite the process looking back through each interview for key words. He's also working on the weekly Bible studies and planned out what we need to do for the pre-marital counseling sessions we have left.

Tuesday morning I found out that a short-term missionary had arrived Monday night. Thankfully our taxi man was already at the airport to pick up somebody else and thankfully there was an empty room at the guest house. I knew he was coming, but hadn't received his itinerary so his actual arrival was a bit of a suprirse to me. I did an orientation with him in the morning and in the afternoon I took him downtown to get a sim card for his phone. That evening we had the young couple we are doing pre-marital counseling with come for supper and then we had our counseling session after supper.

Wednesday was a busy day at work, including a trip across the river to meet with somebody who needed a listening ear. That evening we had the new short term arrival over for supper and then had our usual Bible study. I took him back to the guest house after and was hoping to meet up with two other gals who had just arrived. Unfortunately they had already gone to bed.

Thursday was another busy day. John helped me do an exit interview with a French short termer who had come for three weeks. By night I could tell I was coming down with a cold and went to bed early. Friday morning we went to the program at school for our neighbor girl. It's fun watching kids we've known since babyhood growing up.


On the way home we stopped in the market to buy a few things. Then we were going to go to Day of Prayer prayer meeting, but John said he was taking me home. I hung up a load of laundry, then went to bed and slept for two hours straight. I still didn't feel well in the afternoon, but went up to the office to work on the field newsletter. We had a simple supper and watched a movie and went to bed early. I had a good night's sleep and felt much better in the morning.

Saturday John finished ripping out the mats. I took all the curtains back to our friends' house and got them hung back up again. I also did some yard work and John and I took all the pieces of metal roofing that the roof-repair guys had laid in the yard and leaned them up against the wall. The rain water was collecting in them and we didn't want mosquitoes to start breeding in the pools of stagnant water. I also made cookies yesterday and spent the afternoon going through my email in-box. And we ended up pulling all of our basil plants, so John and I pulled all the leaves off the plants and are drying them now.

Sunday afternoon we went to visit a Nigerien friend. John wanted to ask her some questions about his research. She had invited another guy over to introduce to us. He had some very interesting things to say and we ended up talking for 2.5 hours instead of the 1 hour we had thought. My brain was exhausted after listening to French for that long, not to mention having had 2.5 hour church service in the morning!

In spite of the busy-ness, the craziness, the heat, and the fatigue it sure is good to have John back home!