Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life in Botswana: Home

More excerpts from my parent's journal, Life in Botswana.

We live in a three-bedroom ranch type house which has concrete walls, vinyl tiles on a concrete slab, and a tin roof (corrugated steel), which reverberates when we have a downpour! The plot is about a quarter-acre, with a simple wire fence on three sides – there is a high, cinder block wall separating us from the house next door. The location is on a corner (we seem to have a fixation for corners!) of a nice residential area. Across the side street are tennis courts. To the left is an international grade school, and to our right, past some housing for teachers, is a new international high school, Maru a pula. There is a lovely auditorium in the school, and we walk from home to attend the frequent lectures, seminars, concerts, slide presentation, dances, etc. Most of the programs relate to Botswana life, history, wildlife, archeology, etc.

In the house there are two bathrooms, a central hallway, a working fireplace, and a separate dining room, off the living room. There are doors for every room, except between the living room and dining room, including the hallway. Doors have French-style handles, and each has a different skeleton key, which means we have about 15 different keys which Nancy has stored somewhere since we never use them. The kitchen is smallish, with a double stainless steel sink. The stove is electric, and old, but we bought a new refrigerator. We brought microwave, toaster oven and hot shot (for quick hot water) from home. In the living room we have a large corner bookcase which holds books, tapes, pictures, craft items, the stereo system that we brought, and a PAL-system TV and VCR, which we bought here. The PAL-system will not play US tapes and tapes made on it cannot be played at home (the TV systems have different number of dots and lines).

In the living room and master bedroom we have Sanyo split-unit heat-pump air conditioner units which provide heat and cold. We bought those in Pretoria and had them specially trucked up and installed. We were pleased to learn that they are computer controlled, and will reach and maintain any temperature we want, and can be set to turn on or off at specified times. Fantastic!

Attached to the house in front is a carport and a storage room. In back we have a laundry room and the maid's room and bath, outside access only. We have a nice garden in front, with a curved rock-lined path to the front gate, which Nancy has added to. There are frangipani, hibiscus, lantana, guava, mulberry, jasmine and poinsettia here plus a few unfamiliar plants, i.e. a pink orchid tree. At the edge of the walks and driveway are border gardens of ageratum, red and blue salvia, iris, pansies, penstemon, agapanthus, various ferns, alyssum, phlox and dianthus. Sounds messy and is a bit (this is Nancy talking here) but you know the Ambrose method is to plant as much as possible in every available space.

In front there is a small slab porch, roofed, where we keep a white round table and four chairs. Off the end of the porch is a barbecue that we designed and had made by inmates in the local prison welding shop. Pots on the porch hold a camellia, bay tree, and several kinds of fern.

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