Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Where we stayed

So, I told you all about how we got here and who I came with, now for the question of where we stayed...
We stayed in a hostel that was part dental clinic, part training center, part hostel.  It was located in the town of Jui, which is one of many refuge camps/towns set up for those displace by the civil war here.  Jui, from what we were told was set up for those with amputations, though we only saw a handful of amputees.  The question is whether they are in hiding because of the general attitude in the area that those with physical defects are cursed, or whether most of the amputees have moved on out of the area.
There was no air conditioning in our hostel, but whenever the power was on (overnight from 7 to 7, and a few hours each in the am and pm, thanks to generators on site), we'd get the fans going to cool us off.  On the one hand it helped us acclimatize, on the other hand... the first week it was reeeeeealllllly hot and I didn't even want a sheet to cover me while I slept.  Our hostel had a room for the women, and a room for the men.  Unfortunately there are an uneven number of men and women on our team.  We had 17 females and 7 males.  The rooms were identical in size and had mirror-image bathrooms.  The men's bathroom was cleaner and had a better cross-breeze, plus all of their stuff was working.
The women's bathroom had one shower (the middle) that was such a slow trickle that we eventually all refused to use it.  It would have worked better to bring a bucket of water into that shower stall to get clean.  And from the beginning one of the three women's toilets wasn't flushing properly.  By the end there was only one reliable toilet.  Oh, and there was no hot water.  On the plus side, no hot water meant showers were quick and if you were the last one into the shower in the afternoon (after getting back from working hard and sweating in the village), it was rarely more than an hour's wait.
The water we used inside was all filtered for us, but there was also a pump outside where we could wash our shoes off before we came in, or that the guards/workers used for cleaning things.
The hostel was on the banks of a river, and had some great views.  I didn't go around to the back until our last full day there, but it had a gorgeous gazebo as well.
We spent a lot of time on the balcony, where we had a view of the street nearby. The views from the balcony were great, and it honestly felt like we were living in luxury.  Especially when you consider what most people around us were living in.

 Our morning devotionals and our evening meetings were out on the balcony, as well as random games or worship.  It was a nice spot to sit and have quiet time, and everyone generally respected your wish for privacy when you sat facing the view with a book/bible in your hands.
There were lots of lizards all around, and the kids had fun chasing them, especially the colorful ones.

The hostel was fenced in with a guard always present, so we were very safe.  But from the balcony, we could watch the people and traffic go by, as well as hear and be heard by those going by.  This sometimes meant it was hard to hear each other in the evenings, or that people would randomly yell comments at us.
There were numberous walks down the street for roasted corn, popcorn, or softdrinks, which were all relatively cheap.  Roasted corn on the cob is great, it's like a cross between corn on the cob and popcorn, a little crunchy, and very tasty!  I'd actually like to try making it at home sometime!

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