Let me introduce you to my lovely apartment! It is a very spacious place… one could say too spacious, given my lack of personal belongings! It used to be a dormitory so it still has a couple of odd features. It is a two story building, with three apartments above and three below. Mine is on the top floor, but as it is built on the side of a hill, it can be reached by a ramp rather than a staircase. It is one of 24 apartments on the campus. As you enter the apartment you will be faced with a long wide hallway; long enough to facilitate a fairly reasonable game of indoor cricket I think!
The first door on your left is the kitchen. It has a combination gas/electric stove (gas and electric hotplates, electric oven). Being gas means I can still make a cup of tea when the power has gone out! I can’t use the oven to warm up frozen bread rolls though… It has a large fridge with a freezer, a table and chairs and a selection of basic cooking equipment. I can make most things comfortably. The biggest adjustment will be having no microwave. I have to plan my meals in advance to make sure meat is defrosted, rather than cook according to my mood. Time to be more disciplined I think!
The second door on the left is the bathroom. This is the room with remnants of its dormitory days. It is a huge room with a large deep bath tub; the question is, is there enough water to actually fill said bath? Seems like a luxury one may not be able to afford! There are two shower alcoves, only one of which still works, a toilet alcove, and a cupboard which holds extra buckets, mop and broom, and cleaning products. I keep a generous supply of toilet paper in here for the potential onslaught of what I like to call “squirty-bum” but have yet to be thus afflicted. I like to credit my new obsession with washing my hands for protecting me so far! Thank Heaven for soap! There is also a sink and cupboard space.
Opposite the bathroom is the lounge, a large and fairly bare room at the moment. It has a three seater couch and a single seat, a cupboard, coffee table a picture of some kind of egret or heron, a small statue of a hippopotamus, and a couple of sadly empty bookshelves. I only brought a handful of books with me, enough for the journey and first couple of days, so intend to use the library and borrow from other staff where possible. I’ve been told there is an excellent collection of Christian romantic fiction available. I can hardly wait to get stuck into them… For the record, I brought Geraldine Brooks’ new novel Caleb’s Crossing with me, which is excellent! I might even write a little review later, just for my Dad!
If you continue to the end of the hallway you will find my room on the left and Sylvia’s on the right. We each have a bed (mine is double, Sylvia’s is a very generous single), a wardrobe, chest of drawers, desk and a comfy chair, so the rooms are quite comfortable to retreat to when a quiet space is needed. My bedroom window looks over the garden to the car park where the school fleet of cars is parked, so when I am feeling nosy I can watch the comings and goings of other staff members. Sylvia’s overlooks gardens on the other side and then the wall of the compound. Just over the wall is a local church which has very enthusiastic and loud worship and healing services which apparently we ALL get to enjoy, even if we choose not to attend. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked me how I am coping with the racket!
I share a laundry room with about three other families, which can mean it is tricky to find a time when the machine is not being used. We have access to a drier but are encouraged to hang our clothes in the attic where clotheslines have been hung for our use. We all have a signposted space for our use. It works well as it generally gets quite warm up there as the sun hits the corrugated iron roof. Most things dry in about 24 hours. I have been warned to keep the door of the laundry closed when it is not in use to keep the mongooses… er… mongeese (?) out of the attic!
The most convenient thing is that I am literally 30 seconds walk from work; the school buildings are right across the car park! This may also end up to be the worst thing, but so far so good!