Saturday, January 23, 2010

Our house, in the middle of our street

So I thought I'd take this lazy Saturday to show some picture of where we hang our collective hat. Our house is not actually just one house- we live in three houses in a gated compound belonging to an Indian man who owns a paint company. His name is Tochi but we call him the Toche and we rarely see him although he and his family (son, daughter in law and grandson) live in one of the houses. The compound is located on Kabula Hill which is about a fifteen minute walk from downtown Blantyre.

Here is Vela, one of the kids who lives in the compound. There are about 5 from three different families ranging in ages from 3-12.  Their parents work for the Toche and all three families live in a tiny house on the compound. The kids play together all day in the driveway. They love to say "hello" (the only English word they know) and also relish any attention you give them. If you are walking back and forth between the houses you will get greeted approximately 3,000 times (hello apparently suffices for hi, how are you, bye, and play with me). When we return form the field they rush to the gate and start chanting our names and waving.

  Needless to say it's impossible to whip out a jump-rope and iPod and exercise when there are kids around. And these kids don't seem to have any toys, they just play with the big banana leaves and climb on the old forklift that's in the driveway. So instead of exercising I just end up letting them use it to play:

Here is the driveway and you can see the corner of the "down house" where Indi lives. We store some Chiponde and some of our supplies (syringes, data cards, antibiotics, office supplies etc) in the down house so that's where we pack our boxes everyday after the field. We also do most of our data entry down here. You can also see the edge of an old forklift (left side) where the kids always play:

Here is a view of the front of the "up house" where I live. The biggest kitchen is up here so that's where all the cooking happens and we also eat dinner up here:

So there's a small glimpse into my domestic day-to-day.

I still need to get a picture of Precious- one of the little kids- because he's my favorite. He's about 4 and looks like a pudgy little demon. He isn't as enthusiastic as the others about the azungus and I imagine he's way too cool to get all excited over some dumb white people. He does, however, love to open and shut the door to the car for some reason. When we pull in the driveway he gets a grim, determined look on his face and will run toward the car without any regard for his own safety. He also dresses in some crazy outfits. Yesterday he was wearing a Cleavland Indians hat, jorts and a pink Supergirl vest with nothing underneath as well as what looked like a pair of miniature ladies dress mules. What can I say, my man knows how to dress.

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