My place is actually pretty Western. I live in a 2-story apartment building, with a big courtyard in the center. There are about 25 apartments, although several open onto the street in back, so I never see those people. Chez t has a bedroom, a salon (living room/ receiving room), a hallway, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Yep, I even have a shower in my bathroom (although no hot water, which isn’t a big deal, because I’m usually soaked in sweat when I wake up anyway).
The walls are white. The floor is red. At one point, I think it was cement, and then coated with something. Whatever it is, it’s peeling, and I’m considering just painting over it. And of course, the lighting is all fluorescent.
Furniture-wise, it’s pretty sparse. The kitchen came with a sink and a counter, half of which is covered by my Peace Corps issue range. Last night, I finally moved my table in there, so I’d have a little bit more space, and could get my dishes off the ground (no bugs, it just irritates me). I’ve got 2 bookcases coming on Saturday, one of which will go in the kitchen and serve as a cabinet.
In my salon, I’ve got three dining room type chairs and a pagne chair. You can think of a pagne chair as a super-nice-incredibly-comfortable folding chair, only it really is much nicer than any folding chair you’ll ever see anywhere else. I’ve also got a straw mat, which is where I eat, write in my journal, read, entertain, etc. We don’t sit in the chairs, because, with the exception of the pagne chair, they’re covered in books. Yep, my chairs serve as a temporary bookcase.
My bedroom is even more spare. I have my PC issue mattress, of course. I sleep in my sleeping sack to keep the mosquitoes away, so in the morning, when I fold my sheets, yep, all you see is mattress. Depressing. My clothes are folded (surprise!) and laid out on a sheet on the floor. It’s super-annoying, so my second bookcase is going to serve as a wardrobe. I’ve also got a double mattress leaning against my wall. It’s not comfortable, but it’ll do when my fellow PCVs come to visit.
And that’s it. There are minor annoyances, but they’re nothing unusual for the Beninese, so I don’t sweat them. The people in my concession (apt. building) are great, and I’m starting to feel integrated. Hope you enjoyed the tour, and please come again!