Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The house that Jack built.

Tuesday 25th September

Well actually not Jack but Mr Mmari. 

No electricity again today so I. T. was ‘out the window’ and once my maths lessons had finished I was at a bit of a loose end. (possibly not the best turn of phrase in foreign climes but ok so far, touch wood)  Mr Mmari, who has the computer room as his office and is therefore a person I talk to regularly, asked if I would like to see his house which was in Boza village across the road from the school.  As my only view of the village had been the shop and some of the buildings that are next to the road, I readily agreed.

Houses next to the main road

A quick walk across the road, past the shop and we were soon heading for the middle of the village.  Mr Mmari pointed to a corrugated roof in the distance and said, “That’s my house”.  As we got closer I realised that this was a bit different to what I could see as I biked up and down the hill.

Mr Mmari’s House

Certainly different and begged the question, are teachers paid so much in Tanzania.  The answer is no.  This is Mr Mmari’s long term project and dream.  He bought the land six years ago for very little and every month as he gets his wage he puts a little aside and buys some bricks or a couple of sheets of corrugated iron and gradually over the years the house has grown. I won't bore you with figures all the time, suffice to say that living expenses take most of his money.

In May of this year he made a front and back door and he, his wife and four children moved in.  His main training is in carpentry so he is able to put his hands to most things and all the furniture, beds etc in the house are also down to his craftsmanship.

The house has no electricity yet (the government say that this will be available in January ’13 and the house has electric fittings fitted ready for the day) and the only water is a stand tap outside, but as you walk round and listen to his ideas and dreams, it is a palace in the making.

This next picture shows the dining room as seen from the sitting room. (the lintel is temporary for those who have seen the bow)

And here is the en suite toilet (long drop obviously) which will be available from the master bedroom.

Gradually, as and when Mr Mmasi can buy a bag of cement, an increasing area of internal, and then eventually external, wall is being covered with rendering and soon the curtains hanging over bedroom openings will be replaced with permanent wooden doors.

As we went back outside past the usual goats, chickens and children, Mr Mmari pointed out where he wants to build a small shop in front of the house to hopefully prosper as the village grows.  This won’t be long as there seem to be many such houses being built, although, to be fair, nothing on the scale of the four bedroomed bungalow I had just visited.

I couldn’t hide my admiration for all he had achieved on a monthly wage that for some back home would just about cover a good night out at Xscape.  He replied, “I started with nothing.  I have a little, but my children will have something to be proud of.”  What can you say.


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