Home sweet office

Posted on March 22, 2011

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Well, I thought it was about time I showed you what our house/office looks like. Apologies for the delay but I’ve been having to deal with intermittent internet connection and power cuts! This is the Congo after all.

Avenue de Kabalo, where we are based

So, let’s begin. Our office is located on Avenue de Kabalo in Lubumbashi, for any interactive map fanatics. It’s situated down a reasonably  quiet street lined with some lovely trees. The roads are absolutely shocking in places but the red-brick coloured earth is a nice feature. What should be about a 5 minute ride into town can take anywhere between 10-15 minutes depending on roads (potholes, potCHASMS, rainy season!) and traffic.

Our house/office is pretty basic but does the job very nicely. Currently there aren’t any showers (buckets of cold water), there’s only one functioning toilet (with no seat or flush – have to use a bucket), and no functional taps as there’s no running water. There’s also some construction to do outside, such as another toilet and shower, water tank structure (which currently resembles the leaning tower of Pisa) and setting up parking spaces and maybe a vegetable patch. All that said though, none of it is an issue and I love it – the only frustration we all have is that the Congolese take their time (and time off) when doing things over here! All part of the fun and experience though!

It’s generally quite quiet, until you have the various church choir practices that reverberate from different directions, building works going on or kids coming out of school, and then it gets loud! There are some beautiful singing voices around though – though the construction workers have yet to start singing ‘Hi ho’ or anything similar. There’s still time at least. We’ve also had some very strange praying/chanting from our neighbour this week. Normally I have nothing against praying, but when it sounds like an exorcism or a cult frantically chanting at 3.15am (there were at least 5 different voices) and at various occasions during the day, you do start to worry slightly. It seems to have died down now at least – hopefully the poor woman is ok…

Right, so I’ll let the photos do the talking now. I’ve started with a (birds-eye view) building plan that I put together very briefly – there is a very apparent reason why I never got anywhere with Art at school… Despite being horribly out of scale and inartistic though, it should help give an idea of how everything is set up here. The highlighted numbers correspond to the order of the photos in this blog. The panoramic shot at the end, which was very badly stitched together by a useless online program, is from the garage looking back at the gate. Enjoy!

(Very out of scale) Building plan

Our street - nice trees, bad roads...and a Merc!

Front gate to our humble abode

View from open gate once inside

Our office space - my desk on the right

Our room - 4 beds

Into the next room, heading outside

Unfinished inside bathroom

Prince in the kitchen while sink is being fitted

Outside eating area at the back

Unfinished outside toilet and shower

View from garage back to front gate

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