12 November 2011

Tammy's house in Tsevie.

Tammy rents a house, or more like a "complex", in Tsevie. Apparently, a member of the Peace Corps (PC) has rented this same complex for some time - it changes hands as the volunteers start and finish their service. Since her place is so large, it is kind of a "home base" for other PC volunteers if they travel to Tsevie. A lot of the Togo PC volunteers are stationed in villages, and sometimes need to come to the city, and they stay with her. Tammy's PC assignment is called: "Small Enterprise Development Program". She helps get local people set up small businesses, for instance, selling pottery.

Her place is enclosed in a wall. Inside the enclosure is the main house, a courtyard, and a long narrow building that has several rooms (including a toilet) and one covered but open area (for eating outside). The rooms are used for storage and one is used for her bunnies! She has the cutest bunnies.

Her wall and gate.

The hammock in the courtyard. The window next to it is the kitchen window. You can see the faucet in the planter next to the wall. Note the huge basil plant!

John sitting next to the door to the house. The hammock is to his left.

Two of Tammy's bunnies. The black one is the male. The third bunny is shy and didn't come out as much.

That's me in with the bunnies. Behind me is the little room where they hide, sleep, and nest.

John built this wire gate for the bunnies. When we got there, Tammy was keeping them locked in the little room, sometimes letting them run loose in the courtyard. But they ate all the plants she tried to grow, and made messes. So the gate allows them to get out in the fresh air so we could watch them run and play, and allows Tammy to have her basil and other plants.

Lot's more! Be sure to click on "read more" below.

Here are some photos of the inside of her house:

The kitchen area.

The kitchen area.

Looking from the kitchen to the two bedrooms. The bathroom is off to the left.

She has a propane stove with a couple burners - no oven. There is not running water in the kitchen area, so to do dishes, she brings water into two big basins in the kitchen. One on the working table has soapy water, and one on the floor has a little bleach in it for rinsing the dishes.

For drinking water, she runs the water through a filter set-up. She drinks that water, but for us, she treated the filtered water with bleach. (John and I usually drank bottled water, though, either in plastic bottles or in sealed plastic bags that you drank from by biting off a corner.)

The bathroom toilet and shower are plumbed. Sort of, at least - the shower works (no hot water, though) and the toilet is flushed by adding water to the bowl itself from a bucket (that we refilled at the faucet in the courtyard). (We now call this method of flushing toilets "Togo flush" as we had to use it in October in Colorado when we had a long power outage.) City water costs, so in Togo they conserve it as much as possible. Tammy collected rain water too.

There is no trash pick-up. This is not a minor point: it has lots of implications. Just think of all the trash and garbage we generate when making a meal in the US. Try to think of how you'd get rid of all that trash without a garbage disposal or trash pick-up. She doesn't have a refrigerator, so leftovers have to be eaten soon.

So this is how she handles it all. The bunnies get all the vegetable peelings. Most goods come in thin plastic bags, and she throws these in a pile on the street and burns them when they gather, along with any paper (not much paper gathers). The goal is to produce as little trash as possible.

Clothes are washed by hand. John washed some clothes and we hung them on her clothesline. It took them a long time to dry. It's so humid there that I didn't even use any of the hand lotion that I brought with me. When I wore shorts, I'd rub my legs together through a layer of moisture.

John washing clothes.

Tammy burning trash.

Tammy accesses the internet using a set-up through her cell phone connected to her laptop. She pays as she goes, and the connection is slow. That's why she's not online a lot.

She has electricity. The light in one of the bedrooms didn't work when we got there, but John got it working - most of the time. The main area lights usually worked, but the bedroom and bathroom lights worked sometimes, and sometimes not. John thinks it's a weird wiring job, in series rather than parallel. Sometimes the power went out everywhere, and all the people were ready with their flashlights on their cell phones.

Well, that's how Tammy lives most days in Togo! She likes her house, it's a safe and restful haven after trips to other cities or villages. We liked it too!

Next: Home-cooked meals.


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