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    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Well here I am again writing of yet another home in our journey around this wonderful world. After nearly a year of living 'on the move' we are finally settled! Where ever I have lived throughout my life I have put effort into making it my own, a few things that have followed me on every move is, my books, my pictures, art, grapefruit spoons and my tea of the moment (which right now is rooibos with flower petals of rose, bachelor button and lavender). It has always brought me a lot of joy to make my home lovely for my family and me. I must admit as the information coming in from Africa on what our house would be like worried me. I am usually up to a challenge but after living four years in our wonderful home in Calgary I was not looking forward to living in a fifteen year old flat. But I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived and saw how large, bright and well laid out it was.

    The entrance of the house opens into the main living space which holds the living room, dinning room, and our computer area. This area has large windows all around and lets in a lovely amount of light. The main windows of the house are facing the courtyard of the compound. The compound is about three acres and boasts of fifty trees or more. Our windows rest just above the treetops allowing us to have light all day but we still see and hear the tree branches giving me the sight of nature all day! On my first morning in Africa the bright sun was lighting up my new home and a line from a favourite poem was brought to memory. 'A rose-flushed tender, a thrill, a quiver, When golden gleams to the tree-tops glide.' Jean Ingelow

    A small toilet room is off on the left, right besides that is the door to the LARGE KITCHEN! What joy, working in a very small Asian kitchen last year only makes this kitchen feel more wonderful! It really is huge! The kitchen has large cupboard and counter space and a large island. I am able to have space to put my dehydrator, juicer, mixer/blender and sprouters. The kitchen window is over the sink looking out the back of our house to Nigeria..... always entertaining! Something I need, as we have no dishwasher. The laundry area is around a bend in the kitchen. This is very nice, as last year we had no laundry area in our flat. Beside the laundry area is a door that goes out onto the kitchen balcony. I have put a shelf there to grow my wheat grass. Off to the side of that is the pantry.

    On the other side of the living area is a long hall, the girl’s rooms and their bathroom is on the right side and the master room and bathroom is on the left. At the end of the hall is the playroom. The nursery is a perfect size small and cosy, bright, sunny and sweet. The colours are wonderful in Davina's room. My Mom and I had sewn her bedding and accessories before she was born; I had fallen sweetly in love with this material long before I had become pregnant. When I found out I was having another lovely lady I picked up all the material they had left and lucky for Roger it was all on sale. My Mom added with every stitch creativity and it turned out splendid. Little did I know Davina's nursery would be relocated three times in her first years but her room has looked beautiful where ever we have landed. I think Davina's room is very suited to her.

    Marion's room is large and wonderful for her play; she likes to set things up in scale and needs A LOT of space. Her antique bed (which my brother found in a dumpster and I refinished) came from Canada we have hung a bed net up for her as she was the only one getting bug bites during the night, it makes for a very fairytale sleep. The playroom is PINK and fun and right out of Ikea! It was fun putting this room together, with a extra curtain and some tools I turned a rather bulky unusable children desk into a fun hide out, which also is the 'garage' to the girls ride about cars. There is ample amount of bookshelves so a home for every book has been found with extra room for toys, crafts and such.

    Roger and my room is beautiful. It is very bright. We have our own balcony and walk in closet. The highlight of our things from Canada was our bed ahhhhhhhhh what delight to be sleeping in my own bed!

    This home has lots of outdoor balcony space and I have been very busy finding plants that I like and arranging them. Shopping for plants is an adventure in its own as there are no shops, just clusters of plants being sold on the sides of roads. It has taken some time to find the right plants for me as every vendor has different plants and often only one or two of the ones I want. I am done now and enjoying tending to them. I have found some wonderful artists who sell hand made garden pots. So my garden is special in it's own way with a touch of African art. I have found another roadside vendor who sells me cut flowers every week. Very tropical larger ginger plant flowers. The seller has come to know over the last few months the colours and types I prefer. He is a good business man as he has found my weakness to whites and reds and will have a few bundles of expensive ones around on the day I tend to come. (Just a note in the pictures of the main balcony it may seem as though my large plant in the corner is dying but really it is just shedding its leave due to transplanting it. When I went to purchase this tree there were two of the same type one was much smaller and I wanted the smaller knowing the roots would be younger and less likely to go through shock by being moved. But the gardener was sure that I did not know what I wanted and surely the white women would want the biggest and best! As hard as I tried to explain why I wanted the smaller he continued to argue that I did not know what I wanted! Finally I said I would take the larger! The seller was very pleased with himself confident he had sold me the best! Well all said I have a tree losing its leaves!)

    The Compound is beautiful and very peaceful. For all the bustle and noise that goes on outside it is amazing how quiet it is in the courtyard. I love to sit under the canopy of the trees, listening to the birds watching the girls play at the park. It is amazing to see nature so different then in Canada but just as enticing. What a creative and generous God! To give us the gift of nature and beauty that spans the world from Canada to Africa!

    There is one consistent thing in Africa and it is ANTS! Every day our little critter neighbours welcome themselves to the crumbs that fall to our floor and every morning we have a hunt! Marion’s favourite part of the morning is her job of killing the train of ants that are walking along my dinning room floor. After some time of researching natural ant killers Marion and I mixed up a concoction of all things ants hate.... It works so well I am thinking of patenting it, but I will let you in on the recipe just in case some African ants come to visit your home. For the base we used dish soap, and saltwater, we then added essential oils of clove (add the most drops of clove ants hate the smell), eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, and lavender, pour into spray bottle and go hunting. It smells wonderful. I have finally found a good use for coffee, to deter ants. I have added it to my indoor plants so the ants wont make home in the dirt I also added it to me wheat grass dirt, I think Roger is hoping the wheat grass will turn out tasting like coffee, might go down a bit smoother!

    We have made a wonderful home here one that we love filled with our treasures and as Anne Shirley says, "provides scope for the imagination". I pray it will be a home that will be remembered fondly. I pray my family will grow in love for each other here in this home and that each of us will leave Africa sad to say good-bye.

    Dining room

    Living room




    Laundry and Rose's wheat grass station


    Girls Bathroom

    Davina's room

    Marion's room

    Marion's bed


    Master bedroom

    Master bedroom

    Master bedroom balcony

    Main balcony

    Main balcony