Monday, July 19, 2010

The basics of life

Food, shelter, a toilet, and a place to wash are some of the basics of life which we relied on other people to provide for us when we were on the survey trip. I’ve already talked about the food, so now for the other three.

Our living arrangements were very varied. Sometimes we stayed in a house that was made out of modern materials and was fully screened, so we didn’t need to use our mosquito nets. Other times we stayed in a traditional bush material house.

We stayed in bush houses similar to this one in some villages:

The toilets in most places had been provided by World Vision, and were little huts, with a concrete floor, and a ceramic toilet bowl with plastic seat and lid, over a pit. Thank you to World Vision and everyone who donates to them. Not only does their work benefit the locals, it benefits the foreign visitors too! Two places we stayed had even better toilets – one was a fully functioning flush toilet, and the other one was similar, but you just had to fill the cistern manually.

Here’s the inside of a western style house:

We didn’t have any showers with hot water on the survey, but the best shower was like a normal shower, just that it was only cold water that came out of the shower head. Everywhere else, we had a bucket filled with cold water, and a dish to pour the water over ourselves. The shower rooms had varying degrees of privacy – from full privacy, to fully open (no shower room). A lot of the places had just a simple, small square frame with tarp around it as the walls. I have a skirt that I can wear to cover myself while bathing, which means I don’t need to worry if we don’t have a fully private shower room.

This is the house that had the flush toilet and normal shower:

Good, clean drinking water was available too – also thanks to World Vision who provided water tanks for the villages. I shouldn’t give all the credit to World Vision however because Care International, Red Cross, Caritas and Ausaid are some of the other aid organisations that work in the area too and have probably also provided water tanks and toilets.

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