achatfromchad

blog from chad

Our New Home

The House ……  

(double click on photos to view properly)

First impressions, not bad! The barbed and razor wired high perimeter walls are a little daunting though. Our entrance is a newly painted, bright blue, very solid metal gate with peep hole. Parmenas, our guard’s white eyes and smiling face pop up in this hole every time we pull up in the car and hoot! I have to keep thinking ‘Parmesan cheese’ to remember his unusual name!!

Our street, hmmmm somewhat of a rubbish tip. It’s a dusty red earth road with potholes. There are women sitting in the dust, shaded beside high walls. All day we see them chipping away at large stones, breaking them into gravel size pieces. Further down on the street corner are a group of cheery young children with begging bowls. They are well positioned close to our nearest supermarket (proudly called ‘Modern Market’)which attracts a steady flow of expats! These young girls call our boss, Annabelle, Mrs Bonbon as she usually gives them sweets if she has some in her pockets.

We live in a residential area of N’djamena, the capital, very close to the centre of town. It seems that all the foreigners are housed in this area called Quartier Klemat. The properties are large, have gardens and plenty of much needed shady trees. Each house has secure perimeters and its own private guard on duty 24 hours.

Front of house with Sudan Embassy behind (yellow building)

Front of house with Sudan Embassy behind (yellow building)

front verandah

front verandah

Back to the house …… It must have been quite smart in its french colonial heyday. Now, like most of what we have seen in Chad, the glory days are over. The paint is peeling, the shutters are rusting and the once manicured garden runs wild. BUT and there is always a positive BUT in this part of the world …… the interior of our house has just been newly painted from top to toe and is squeaky clean when it comes to cupboards, doors, windows and walls. So newly painted that we had to stay in the Meridien Hotel for 3 nights while the work was finished. We moved in to very strong paint fumes and have been running the overhead fans constantly to clear the air! First day was quite tough.

Now, 4 days in, the paint fumes are fading and the smell of mosquito coils permeates the air!

La cuisine

La cuisine

Carlo reckons last owners had a fight with the pans - they are dented!

Carlo reckons last owners had a fight with the pans – they are dented!

Found in the sink.  Cute ghecko, you can move in any day as you eat mosquitoes!

Found in the sink. Cute ghecko, you can move in any day as you eat mosquitoes!

Le salon and dining room

Le salon and dining room

Carlo and I are rattling around in a spacious 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom house, larger than our house in Provence. It doesn’t have quite the same comforts and that is an understatement BUT (see what I mean?) it is bright, airy, has air con, overhead fans, a modern TV, washing machine and plenty of scalding hot water. The fact that the gas bottle leaks whenever turned on, the kitchen taps have to be banged to turn them off, there’s air in all the water pipes which sing, splutter and cough when we use them just seems normal in Africa! Oh there’s a shower missing in one bathroom, two loos won’t flush and don’t have seats, our washbasin floods the floor along with our shower which mainly sprays water horizontally! BUT (here we go again!) a plumber did come on Friday, did some of the repairs then disappeared to the market to find washers etc., never to be seen again. BUT I have no doubt that he will return …… sometime …. Probably when Annabelle puts a bomb under him!

Just heard a crash in the main bathroom. A mirror has fallen off the wall and shattered. It was already badly cracked so no bad luck for us.

main bathroom

main bathroom

Haven’t yet found a way to take any photos out in the street ……. will try the IPhone as it is discreet. Next time a bit about how one copes with day to day things like impure water, buying a SIM card for the IPad or perhaps about our safari on Sunday, by car and dug out canoe, to see elephants in the Cameroun! We’ve not been idle!!!

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