Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Home Sweet Home

Kitty in bed construction mode...

But where are the drawers?

Very happy with completed bed!

We're here, at home, in our huge and empty new house. The kids are asleep, each in their own room for the first time since we arrived. And we even have internet, albeit only in the study, which currently has no desk/table or curtains. So here I am, surrounded by all the boxes of bits that haven't found a home yet, sitting on one of our 5 folding canvas chairs and all lit up like a museum exhibit for anyone who wants to peer through the glass. The background music floating through the mozzie screen consists of crickets chirping, dogs barking, the rather garrulous neighbours and the occaisional pad pad of tonight's Askari doing his rounds.

Mr B popped out half an hour ago to check that E - the new askari - had actually arrived for his first night on the job. He came back in rather sheepishly to report that, well, yes there is a black man out there in the dark... and it could well be E...or anyone else for that matter!

A busy day all round. We loaded the landrover up inside and on top (the cot) this morning and Mr B drove it up while I dropped Kitty at school and picked up J - our new housekeeper. She will find her own way here tomorrow but it seemed easier to collect her today than give complicated directions in Swahili. After unloading, Mr B headed off with a long list of errands including obtaining an internet connection and an arrangement with a security firm, buying a gas bottle for the stove, organising the paperwork for the transfer of ownership of our cars, commissioning the spare bed and mosquito net frames for that and our bed, commissioning the actual mosquito nets, registering for the conference he's attending for the rest of the week, collecting Kitty from school, buying fruit and veg and phone cards, getting spare keys cut (none of which turn out to fit...) Amazingly he achieved them all, despite provocative comments from the various aquaintances he met who all thought him very callous to be 'relaxing in town' while I was slaving here to set up house.

Meanwhile I put up lots of curtains, with the help of the Mancub who was particularly fascinated by the curtain hooks. (I suspect we'll be finding them in various nooks and crannies around the place for months) J cleaned lots of cupboards, floors and bathroom fittings and washed all the new crockery and cutlery. She worked very diligently, albeit not quite as I would have expected. Over the next days and weeks I'm going to have to explain a few pointers for effective cleaning (not exactly my own strongpoint!) but I'm going to have to work on my Swahili too as some of today's requests were clearly misunderstood! We unpack and sorted and stored and made beds and even put up an alphabet poster and Peter Rabbit frieze in the Mancub's room. Kitty has some stickaround Disney Princesses (HER choice, needless to say) which we brought all the way from B&Q in Aberdeen and which will go up tomorrow after school.

So, all in all, a very productive and satisfying day. It will be nice to get a proper dining table and chairs and some sofas to relax on, but we managed to eat a proper meal, cooked in our new pans on our new stove and eaten off what will become a desk while sitting on what will become some outdoor chairs. A far sight more civilized than our first night in our flat in Dunbar almost 8 years ago when we ate off a minute inlaid occasional table bought in the Souk in Damascus whilst perched precariously on two folding camping stools some prescient person had selected as a wedding present. We thought of that flat - the first home we owned - over dinner as we gazed around our new living-dining room and concluded that it could encompass the whole Dunbar flat quite easily with a couple of extra box rooms thrown in for good measure.

So, plenty of room for overseas visitors. Our first arrives on Christmas morning and we have more booked in for February and April, but we are keen to have more! Book now to avoid disappointment.


  1. Am de-lurking to wish you very happy landings in your new home - hope the rest of the furniture materialises before too long. Did indeed bring back memories of visiting you in early days in your Dunbar flat...

    Will have to persuade work to fly me out to Tanzania... how's the justice/security there?

    love to all!


  2. Welcome HOME at last! I hope having your own home helps in the whole feeling at home in Tanzania bit too.

    Here's to a peaceful night.
    the ancient sister.
    (PS - nice dress, Kitty!)

  3. A lovely dress indeed. Whoever bought/made it must have had outstandingly good taste!

    Delurking is a new blogging term for me! A bit like coming out??! Nice to hear from you Jessica. There are most definitely justice and security issues here... the UN tribunal for Rwuanda is based her for a start, and I have a security guy here as I write installing some security buttons and a loud siren in case of burgularies....

    I'm sure you can find some way to visit, even if it involves being a paying tourist! Food and acccomodation is all provided, and tour guiding and general acclimatisation are also part of the package!

  4. Well done all, it looks really nice. Drawers, we don't need no stinkin drawers! Kitty looks very pleased with herself (and so do you Colin!). The kitchen is enormous, I hope you will be putting it to good use! Good luck with the rest of the settling in.

  5. Glad you had a productive day. Kitty's bed looks great. What aspects of housework will you have to explain to J??