This week was set aside for In Country Training (VSO speak) and Orientation, which includes lots of sorting out of practicalities. On Tuesday I moved into my flat, which is on the first floor of a modern building on a busy road, with a little balcony out the front - and celebrated with my first proper mug of tea - see pic!
The road has lots of traffic and pavement life, with loud music. Moving in is a gradual process, it is taking a bit of time for it all to work properly. Funny thing, time – some things take forever, others are very quick. There’s quite a lot of waiting around for people to turn up – bit like British Gas or City Link! The VSO office has an agent in Bobo called Ali who coordinates all sorts of things which need doing, including bringing in various people to fix things – or not. He and his envoys are forever, allegedly, on the point of turning up.
Here apparently you move in in the evening, so that people get less chance to see what stuff you’ve got. I arrived with my luggage from the plane – so a suitcase, a rucksack and a holdall - and various plastic bowls and other purchases from Burkina Pas Cher, where we had just been shopping for domestic bits and pieces. Shopping, that’s a whole other subject.
My flat: up an external stair from the street. Into the ‘salon’, which has been furnished with a 3 piece suite – you’ll have to wait for the pics – a coffee table, a little ‘study table’ and a chair. Only at present the chair is in the bedroom covered with clothes because the cupboard for my clothes is apparently not finished yet. Window onto staircase. An overhead fan, much used.
Off the salon is the little kitchen, which is really quite nice, except that it’s very hot – the window in there gets the morning sun (nice at home, not good here!).
All the windows are treated with something reflective which I guess deflects heat and also means you cannot see in during daylight, although you can after dark if the lights are on. To try to reduce the heat I have put dark film on the kitchen windows, I think it improves things although it’s harder to see out. The kitchen has a stainless steel sink and drainer, some shelves, a ‘garde-manger’ – cupboard for food – on top of which sits a 3 ring gas burner, bit like a moderately posh camping one. And I have a good sized fridge. Also a water filter, provided by VSO, which is meant to make the water safe to drink – makes it taste a bit funny tho – slightly chalky.
And 2 bedrooms, one of which is furnished with a bed, comfortable mattress, with mosquito net and bedside tables. There is supposed to be a clothes cupboard but there isn’t yet, so I am still living out of suitcase, apart from the study chair! The bedrooms look out on to the back of the houses in the street behind, and I can see people hanging their washing on to the branches of palm trees, There’s more jolly music from this direction too, so not much peace and quiet.
Then there is a little shower room, with a proper flushing loo (pleased about that), a shower of sorts and a little sink. In each case, one working tap with water of variable temperature – of which more in due course.