Monday, 28 January 2013

Life in Mlango Mmoja

Hamjambo Familia na Marafiki!

Although there is lots that I could blog about tonight, I am feeling really lazy so I thought that instead I would share a few photos of my apartment and write a little bit about what it's like to live here... 

Our apartment is on the third floor of a three-story walk-up in an area called Mlango Moja. Most taxi drivers know the building if you just say the area because there are only a few apartments around here and enough Mzungo (white person) student interns have lived here over the past five years that it has become a safe assumption on their part. This is great since, as I mentioned in my last blog, I don't actually have a more specific address I could give them. Mlango Moja is a fairly busy area of Mwanza. We are surrounded by shops and markets so we have easy access to food and what-not, but it is also really loud outside. I mean, REALLY loud. Take what you are imagining, triple it, and you can almost grasp how loud it is. I have a sound machine app on my Iphone and ear plugs that I wear to bed, and yet the sound of dogs, cars, horns, people and loud speakers blasting music from the back of trucks (which is an oddly common occurrence here) still keeps me up most nights. In terms of location, walking 20 minutes in one direction will take me downtown, and walking 20 minutes in another direction will take me to the APYN office, where my roommates Emily, Susan and myself work each day. If we want to take a taxi it costs $3,000 TSH to get to either, or $1.50 CAD. 

The apartment is clean, fairly spacious, and equipped with most of what we need on a day-to-day basis. We have a house lady named Grace who comes three times a week to clean and take out our garbage. I didn't realize this before I arrived but Grace also does all our laundry (except for underwear) and will buy fruits and vegetables for us from the market if we leave her money and a list of things we want in Swahili. She can get a better price then any of us Mzungos ever could, and it keeps me from having to bargaining for prices, which I hate! Honestly, Grace is an invaluable asset to the interns here. She makes life so much easier, and although she speaks virtually no English, she is very sweet and often sings while she works, which I like. 

A balcony surrounds our apartment. You can access it from the living room, the kitchen and all three bedrooms. Yes, this means that including our main entrance, there are actually six doors into our very small apartment. This fact explains the nearly 100 keys that I found and put into a bag when I was cleaning the apartment last week. It seems that every time the locks have been changed since 2007, interns have been given new keys to all six doors. Still, I didn't want to throw any of them out, just incase.... This is probably the exact same thought process that lead to so many keys remaining here today. Anyways, the balcony offers very little privacy or shade, or peace, so it's not as ideal for things like reading or yoga as I had assumed before coming here.

Main Area (from entrance)

Dining Room 
(you can see our water filter on the left here, which we use instead of having to boil all our water to purify it)

One of two toilets (the other is above ground in the master ensuite). 
There are also two showers in the apartment and a hot water switch you turn on ten minutes before you want to shower.

(Note the mini fridge sticking out on the far right, which all three of us share and is the bane of my day-to-day existence)


My Room

My Room

 My Room (and daily reminder of love from Canada)

View from my balcony

View of the street from my balcony

View of the street from my balcony

Although the apartment is nice enough, my roommate Susan and I have decided to move into a house closer to the APYN office about three weeks from now. Currently this house is being occupied by our friends Megan and Shannon, but Megan is moving out in the middle of February and we are taking over the two remaining bedrooms. I wont get into too much detail right now about how awesome this house is, but it is AWESOME. Briefly, it is a gated home with a 24/7 guard (who carries a slingshot- yup.) and is surrounded on all sides by a garden possessing lime and papaya trees, hot pepper bushes and flowers. It is much bigger, more fully furnished and... wait for it... has a full-sized fridge and freezer. You don't even have to be a foodie/cook like me to understand how amazing this is for someone who is currently sharing a mini-fridge with two roommates in 30 degree heat. I can't wait! Photos to follow as soon as we move in.   :)

Well, that is all for now.

I love and miss you all so much.



1 comment:

  1. Love the pictures Kate - can't wait to see what the new place looks like!!