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#4 Home from home?

Moving in
We finally moved into our new house two weeks after arriving in the country. One late afternoon, Johnny the school bus manager helped us transfer 6 suitcases, plus 4 more from a previous visit, along with lots of drinking water, food, a palm tree and a couple of young dwarf coconut trees. A few labourers were still there finishing things off but stopped to pickaxe holes for the trees, dig them in and unload the van.
Inside and out
The house is quite grand with tiled floors, ceiling fans, barred windows and lockable metal doors throughout. The locks however are particularly rubbish and a few mornings later we found ourselves duly imprisoned and shouting for help, resulting in the front door lock being replaced. Inside is a living room, dining room, kitchen, 3 downstairs bedrooms and a large upstairs room with a small balcony. The outside yard is walled all around and has moderate space to the side and front, but no back garden. By the kitchen door at the side is a small tiled area for sitting and a concrete water tower on which sits a polytank. At the front are the trees, some soil for grass, a tiled patio and car park area enclosed by lockable metal gates. At some point, ugly barbed wire will go around the top of the walls, as most houses have here.

The Trappings
For furniture, there is a dusty and uncomfortable second-hand leather seating suite from the roadside in the living room and a set of bamboo chairs with punky patterned cushioned for the upstairs room. Beds, some lockable wardrobes and curtain poles have all been made for us by a carpenter in the church and we have two chests of drawers made out of cane. Gladys the seamstress made our curtains from cloth purchased at Madina Market and there is a fridge, gas cooker and fitted units in the kitchen. The bedrooms are all en suite but the flow of water is more akin to that of an old man peeing.

As for food, at breakfast we’re eating dry bread, sometimes with banana. For meals it’s either yam or plaintain chips – super-large green bananas sliced and fried; tasty spicy Jollofe rice; ‘red red’ – red beans in a spicy tomato-based sauce; fish like large sardines; Spaghetti Bolognese and sometimes chicken. Meat and fish are quite difficult to get hold of and there’s no chocolate worthy of mention. Heather made a curry one night – all using natural ingredients and very nice. Some of the biscuits are ok and there are shops selling imported expensive English food – a tin of beans is £1 and anything McVities is double the UK price. BUT there are bananas, melons and particularly pineapple. I have become a master of slicing this most juicy of fruits into chunks. As for drinks, we have tea and coffee sometimes with powdered milk and cold drinks of usually water. And there you have it – not the most riveting piece of writing I’ve ever done but it paints a picture.
Phil is author of A12 To Heaven a true account of the kindness and compassion of God at a time of loss. “There is truly no one and no thing that we can lose that can surpass what we have gained in belonging to him.”



    • Sue Johnson on 21 September, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    The house looks amazing. Seems a very healthy diet. Hope the teaching is going well. Xx

    • Leeann Brunton on 23 September, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I love reading about your adventure and your house looks wonderful. Just seen the picture of Tom in his new uniform, he looks so grown up. Hope I am at school if you manage to do a link up.
    Keep safe and keep sending the updates

    • Angie on 25 September, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Hi, its looks great, nice to hear you’ve moved in. I saw your mum at the drs yesterday, she looks well, and we hope to visit them next week, I’ll tell you all about it later, bye for now.

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