My House

Alec Yeh - Senegal


November 12, 2009

My house is much smaller than my house in Dakar, but I like it much more. It’s quite small, but more conducive for socializing. There are three buildings. The largest is the one with all the rooms. There are three bedrooms, including mine, and a living room. There is another small building that simply a room with a refrigerator in it. I think they want to turn it into a boutique though. The last building is where the cooking is done. I don’t exactly know if I would call it a “kitchen,” at least not a Western kitchen, since it’s just a room with a propane tank for the cooking. There’s no stove, no sink, no table. The room also smells a little funky, due to the lack of ventilation. There is an outdoor “sink,” which is just a spout and drain. It’s the only source of running water in the entire complex. There’s also a pen for the sheep and turkey. I have no idea why we have a turkey, but the sheep are for Tabaski. There’s a courtyard in the center, and that’s where all the hanging out, the eating, the laundry, the playing happens. There are always cats in the courtyard. My family gives them leftovers, so now they just loiter there. It’s interesting though. It’s like having a new pet every day.

Then there’s the outhouse. The Outhouse. I italicize it because it literally is like a horror film for me. It’s two small rooms. One is the toilet and one is the shower. When I say “shower”, I mean it’s a bucket, a cup, and a drain. You have to fill the bucket up with water and bring it to the outhouse. You basically get yourself wet, soap up, and rinse. It’s really not that bad. Now the toilet. When I say “toilet”, I really mean a hole in the ground. It’s a squat toilet, and it doesn’t flush. There’s a huge bucket of water next to the toilet, and that’s used for wiping and flushing. When it comes to flushing, you basically throw water into the hole until everything disappears. It can take a whole bucket of water. The higher you pour from, the better chance it disappears, but you risk a bigger splash that can come right back at you. I’m hoping I get use to it.

Then there are the bugs. There are bugs everywhere; hiding in the toilet, the shower, the sink, everywhere. They’re the biggest bugs I’ve ever seen. In my bedroom, bugs literally rain from my ceiling. Thank Buddha for my mosquito net. Imagine the number of spiders I’d be eating in my sleep; more than the seven a year, according to the urban legend.

But nonetheless, I still love it here.

Alec Yeh