Monday, October 29, 2012

Bem Vindo a Nossa Casa (Welcome To Our Home)

Casa Ercoli

Here is our humble abode. Our front yard comes complete with a spot to park a motorcycle and keep an old toilet. They have promised to come pick it up, but I'm not holding my breath.

Here is our main room - the windows and door face the front of the house. Until recently, our stove was under the utensils hanging on the wall, but we moved it into the newly renovated kitchen. This is where we eat, (that's a bowl of rice & beans on the table), the kids do school, and hang out with friends when the kids are in bed. The door near the windows goes to the kitchen and the other door near the table is for the bathroom. Our bedroom is also off this room on to the right.

Previously, this space housed a toilet (please see photo#1 for a visual) and a sink. We tore those out and had an actual sink and countertop installed. Shawn is planning to put up shelves, but that will probably get done after his trip to South Africa. I painted this room in a shade I call "Acunya" which is Makua for white person.

Now this might not be exciting to you, but please notice the faucet under the sink. This makes filling water buckets much easier because I don't have to fill a small bucket to fill the big one. I just turn on the faucet and let it go. Assuming there is water. 

Our stove. It's no small miracle that there is even a stove here, and it's even more miraculous that it hasn't blown up yet. Shawn kindly labeled the knobs for us: Left Rear, Left Front, Oven (Lo, Med, & Hi), Front Right, and Death.

This bathroom used to have a broken toilet (now fixed) and a shower with 3 shower heads. That was great for parties, but since there's not enough water for more than one dribbly shower it made more sense to take two out and put in a sink. I purposefully waited to post pictures of the house (especially this bathroom) until we made some improvements. I didn't want a well-meaning/horrified friend or family member calling the UN for an emergency evac. I haven't gotten to go snorkeling yet and it's almost mango season.

The master suite. Shawn turned the bed into a 4 poster so that we wouldn't have a droopy mosquito net. Not pictured is an armoire that holds our clothes, extra sheets and towels, school supplies, shoes, and electronic equipment we rather not have sitting out getting sandy. And under the bed I have some suitcases - one is called Target, one Costco, and the other is stuff we're saving for our return trip through Switzerland that we don't use here. Like pants and socks.

This is the "office." When we first got here, there was a set of bunk beds for one of the kids to use, but we felt that the enormous cracks in the walls and the cracked and sinking floor made it better suited for hammock time and facebook trolling. 

This is where the kiddos sleep. Asher is on the bottom bed in the back. Luciana is on the bottom with the pick pillow and Judah got stuck with the top. So far, it hasn't been too hot for him up there, but it's not summer yet here. I stood on their dresser to take this picture, so they have that and another window on the left.

And just so you don't think I sit around all day drinking out of my American sized coffee cup and sweep, I had a really great meeting with one of the volunteers (Anthony from New Zealand) who has worked for the last 6 months straightening out the well-drilling program. IRIS Relief has just been handed the well-drilling project and since Anthony is leaving in a couple weeks, it's my job to maintain all the hard work he did. I've been going over all of his paperwork to get as familiar as I can with the ins and outs of the admin of the program so that the transition will be as smooth as possible. 

Shawn has also been working on a well project of his own. When we first got here, things were a little slow and I know in Shawn's mind he was thinking, "I did't pay all this money and come all this way to watch Joy sweep." So, true to form, Shawn looked around and made up his own projects. One was to renovate the house, another to clean up all the trash nearly covers every inch of ground here and build a suitable containment solution for it, and the other was to fix a stinky maggoty muddy drainage problem at the well near our house. He drew up a plan, secured funding, bought materials, and found helpers. I have a before photo but I'm still waiting for the after. They should be done today, but

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Antes e Depois (Before and After)

So we had a regular door on our house, but it gets pretty hot in these parts and we mostly left that door open to keep some air moving.  As you can imagine, the house was full of flies and mosquitos. Gross. Thankfully, it is Shawn style to take matters in to his own hands. Just a little DIY project Mozambican style.

Here is the door before. We used the door that had been in the "office" but we took it off earlier because it was mostly in the way.

Glamour shot of Shawn sawing through a solid mahogany door.

As a life-long member of Team Eskola I know that "Doing It Is Doing It." I also have a pretty strong resume in hand tools. Then to make it even better, Shawn asked for my help by saying, "Hey, do you want a workout?" Yes, please. 

The finished project. We are soon to post this on Pinterest.

And now, just a few random photos from the week.

This is Luci and Asher playing in what I think is a place formerly used to wash clothes. Now it is used to "store" old toilet parts. They made a fort using said parts, but I wisely did not take a picture of that because it most likely could and would be used against me. 

You might think that this is just a picture of a dirt pile. And you would be right except that it is the 7th dirt pile I had swept up that day. We probably sweep 10x a day and each pile is like this. The window are only screens, the sand is everywhere, and the wind blows constantly. 

Luciana sporting the local 'do. 

And Judah as a Super Hero. It's hard to see in this picture, but he has a screen belt that is holding his beloved Swiss Army knife and a later, post-photo op addition was a cape. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Multo Fotos (Many Photos)

 A little breakfast of bread and Nutella. So messy and sooooo delicious.

This was supposed to be a video of Luciana squealing with delight, "It's tickling me!" It was a millipede.

 Judah homeschooling.

Luciana learning how to read with Katia and Filito. More importantly, check out that amazing and HUGE coffee cup. It is full of Starbucks Via and sometimes it seems too small :)

 Luciana just can't help herself.

Tub Time! I never call them clean; just less dirty and wet.

 Making it work. It's a glamorous life here on the edge of the world.

That's right. I'm drying out Ziploc bags to reuse them. Super Target is a looooong way away.

It's all day every day in the dirt.

Luci was getting every last bit of the organic olives sent from the States. Here she is enjoying a bowl full of the juice.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tudo Bom (Everything is Good)

Ahhh, the first post from the comfort of my mosquito net in Pemba. This might not be one of my most well thought out posts, but there’s a good chance it’s not the least either. It’s been just over a week since we arrived here and we took the first few days to get settled. We unpacked, did a town run for the essentials: fans, electric water kettle, bananas, a fuse for a power converter, etc., did a quick accounting of the Starbucks Vias, and by Monday, Shawn already had meetings scheduled and it was time for the kids to finally have their first day of school. I have a great picture of Luciana working on her reading with a few of our new neighborhood friends hovering around. But I haven’t convinced the internet to let me upload pictures yet. I’m working on it.

This has been an exciting week for IRIS Relief here in Pemba, too. In August, we invited Francois Batalingaya the country director of Somalia for World Vision to come and do some sessions at the Harvest School on disaster relief. He has been in the relief field for nearly 20 years and is a wealth of knowledge. It was a great opportunity for the Harvest School students to get to hear him, but even more for IRIS Relief.  We are babies in the disaster relief business and to have him share from him experience is priceless. Shawn got to take him out for dinner one night with another IR friend and they spent the evening telling stories and drinking coffee. I would have gone, too, but I had a Mozambican baby shower to attend.

The kids are having no trouble adjusting (only sometimes fussing about rice & beans) and they already have 3 friends who live around us – I’m not sure where, but it must be close because they’re always showing up. There is Filito, (4 or 5) Orlanda (maybe 6), and Katia (3ish).  Luci and Katia met the first morning and became fast friends. I often hearing Katia yelling, “Amiga! Amiga!” at Luci who is clueless as to what that means. She’ll catch on J

It’s only been one week and there is still so much to tell. This is definitely an adventure.