Tuesday, August 31, 2010

home away from home


Or, Trip to the Village, Part Two:

After driving up, up, uphill on a road that a few local women pointed out to us (commenting that it might be too steep for us to drive up) we arrived at the end of the road. It was the village high school, where students were out front practicing folk dances, an important part of their daily curriculum.

As we pulled to a stop, students paused to look, and Sammy asked them where Ate (Ahtay) "E" lived? They pointed to the house next door, from which emerged a group of Filipinos and our co-worker, "E."
Several of the high school girls were brave enough to come and talk, and were very curious about the two 'new girls.'

This house below was to be our home for the next 3 days.

Our co-worker has been living and working in this home for the past 20 years.
That tin roof does a great job keeping the house dry! But the noise made by a rain shower is close to deafening. And in the heat of the day, you can feel the temperature rise inside - I think you could cook an egg on the ceiling!

We were invited inside to the office (below), and then to see the rest of the house.

Below is the sala, or the living room, the place where people gather to talk and share morning and afternoon merienda (coffee break!)

Below is the kitchen.
Think about it - can you imagine living in a home with no refrigerator and no oven, not to mention no dishwasher or microwave? Yet it's the normal way of life here, and it works!
Before we came, I asked "E" what we could bring to her from the city. Her response? Good bread! With no oven, and no bakery in the village, bread is one of life's luxuries.

We were shown to our living quarters for the duration of our visit - Sammy slept on the bench in the office, and our family shared the bedroom below.
The walls in the house are more like partitions - they didn't reach the ceiling, so you can see light from other rooms over the top, and hear the snores of your fellow house-mates in the wee hours of the night. (Of course, that means they could hear our snores, too...!)

Amy and Elise pose under the mosquito net hung over the bed they shared with Barbara
It was our first time to sleep with a mosquito net!

Mark slept on a cot off to the side, and here's Michael on his bed...

...which converted back into a table the day we left for home!
Curtains were strung on strings surrounding each bed to provide a measure of privacy for visitors who might share the room.

Below is "E's" room - what you see is not much smaller than what she gets. This space has been her home since 1989. Since her house is used by a group of employees, she keeps all she wants to be more private in this room; special foods like coffee creamer, jam and cereal (if they were stored in the kitchen, they would be eaten right up!), extra household supplies and toiletries, etc.

And finally, here's the CR (for those of you who are new, that means 'Comfort Room'!)
Notice the luxuries - running water, a lock on the door for privacy, a drain in the floor to allow for indoor (sponge) bathing, and an actual throne!
The differences?
-Flush by pouring a bucket-ful of water down the loo,
-Sponge bathe in very cold water ("E" told us they laugh evil laughs when they hear visitors scream the first time they dump that bucket-ful over their own heads!)
-Squat, don't sit
-Don't expect to bathe alone...the rats love this room!
-So don't leave your soap here, because rats love to eat soap.

It's true, rats DO love this room.
Each evening we could hear the scuttling of little feet in here as we prepared for bed.
We tried not to look too hard for our co-inhabitants.
Michael saw a rat the second night in the kitchen, but he graciously didn't tell his sisters until we were on our way home the next day.
Barbara was getting ready to take one of those exhilarating baths when she came nose-to-nose with a rat who was perched on the shelf just behind the water buckets. He wasn't too keen to see her either, and rushed away through a hole, for which she was relieved!

Next time - what we did in the village!


1 comment:

Heritage Clan said...

Oh, my word! A face to face meeting with rattus rattus! My brave friends!