This is my house! Okay… technically it is IPA’s project house, but since I am the only permanent resident, it’s basically my house. It’s big –kitchen, living room, dining area, four bedrooms and two baths, plus a garage for the car. Yes! I have a car. Again, same story – it’s the project car, but for all intents and purposes, it’s mine. A red Rav4 sporting a nice burn mark down its right side (that’s another story). I must say, I was very lucky that I came into a situation with set living quarters and transportation. The other project associates in the organization were not as lucky and they had to search and purchase their own. Thus, I am very grateful to my research supervisor for doing all of this for me before I arrived!
Above: The yard. Below: Garage view.
View of the mountains from my front porch!
The only thing lacking is that the house is not furnished. I made a massive ShopRite (like Target) run to get kitchen supplies, shower curtains, and plastic chairs. Over the next few months I will be scouting out, getting price estimates and ordering bed frames, a desk, chairs, dining table, floor mats, and kitchen counters. Also, I am on the lookout for some decorative things to brighten up the place. The process is a bit daunting (and potentially expensive) but I’m having fun seeing the place grow little by little.
You might not be able to tell from the pictures, but the house is surrounded by an 8 ft. brick wall. The house also came with a hired 24-hour guard. Besides watching the house while I’m out, he opens and closes the gate when I come and go, maintains the yard and garden, and runs little errands that we may have. Pretty much every big house in Malawi has the walls and guards as well, a feature that makes me uneasy for more than one reason. It is a constant reminder of my lack of safety (although, I like to think it is mostly about privacy) but also is a barrier to being part of the neighborhood. Many of my neighbors live much closer together in unprotected houses, and I am definitely alienating myself by living in a walled and secluded house.
I am happy to say that my house is only a five minute walk to the market. Thankfully, this walk gives me the opportunity to see the neighborhood and greet my neighbors. Beside the market, there is also a café/bar, post office, stationary shop, hospital, and gas station.
In closing, come visit me! I have more than enough rooms and Mulanje is beautiful.