Saturday, 25 August 2012

Our house is a very very very fine house

We are very fortunate in having the best house - the only ones with a lawn anyway! David and I have an ensuite room and we share a large open plan lounge with kitchen area. We share with two younger volunteers who each have their own room. We also have a spare room for guests - which happens quite often at the weekend as we are fairly central and the buses stop running at 6 pm. We are lucky to have a washing machine (antique but it works), and washing lines under cover. It always seems sunny here, but it can really chuck it down any time at all. We have clubbed together to get the internet in the house, which comes along with cable TV, so now we are blessed by having BBC World News. It is such a relief to see those familiar faces and the dulcet tones of reason. The house has a massive verandah looking over the garden with chickens and chicks, and quite a few birds hopping around the trees. Of course said chickens/cockerels start crowing under our windows any time from about 4 am. We have a couple of dogs which are the tail waggy type thankfully. Most dogs here are the mangy scary type - so I now take my umbrella everywhere - the dogs creep off when they see me coming.
It is in a quiet area where the extended family of our landlord live, so we feel we are surrounded by many people who know about us and keep an eye on us. We have some family members who groom our lawn and sweep the leaves off it. The area has dirt roads and well spaced houses among jungly trees. Just over the road is a traditional building called a fale - it is now used as a family meeting place, having open sides. We can have a little stroll around the local area if we are feeling brave about dogs and ask permission at every opportunity. It is rude here to wander around and not pass the time of day. People here ask Where you are going? which is similar to us saying How are you? Another interesting thing is that most houses have the graves of the ancestors in the front garden. Funerals are massive things here, they set up a pergola outside the house and large numbers of people seem involved for quite a few days.
David and I both have a 40 minute walk to our schools, and pass some reasonable shops on the way home so we can pick up most things that we need. The prices are more than the US or UK, but that is what you might expect as nearly everything is imported. There are some pretty cheap things like local veg, pork, chicken. There is a lot of tinned fish and meat like tinned tuna, greasy corned beef, spam. When you look in the freezer cabinet you would be amazed and bamboozled by the exotic body parts - chicken feet, turkey tails, pigs chaps, intestines, tripe, gizzards, massive octopus with 1 inch wide suckers, dodgy shellfish. Unfortunately it is all a bit expensive to buy if you are not sure you could stomach it!   Hope to put on some more pictures soon. Kate

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