I’m house sitting right now in a very large nice house and while I’m sitting here reading some posts from friends that live overseas it got me thinking of the realities of living in a Third World Country.
Here’s some of the realities I’ve experienced:
• Spending a month trying to figure out the best way to heat our house (or at least a room or two)…we should have started a month earlier because our first 3 attempts left us freezing through the nights.
• Getting high on the gas fumes from the propane or diesel heater you use to heat your room.
• The slushy, muddy, unpaved streets that try their best to take you down if you’re not careful.
• Needing to pay special attention as you walk down the street as to not be hit by a car or run into an animal or step in the open sewer flowing down the street.
• Not bathing for 5 days because it’s too much work to heat up the bathroom and the water and then to brave the still cold experience.
• Wearing clothes/outfits that I would have never picked out back home.
• No electricity…this brings about a lot of reality checks like: all the kitchen things we are use to using (including a fridge), no blow dryers etc, no computer…No Lights!
• Using a headlamp on a regular basis in your own house.
• Having a well for water with a gravity system to make it run in the house. The well breaking or going dry…living for two months with only buckets of water brought carried to the house from the nearest pump.
• Sleeping under a mosquito net…they are great but not near as romantic as in the movies.
• Always wearing shoes in the house so a scorpion doesn’t sting you.
• Often being the one that doesn’t know what is going on because everyone is speaking another language too fast for you to keep up with.
• Not drinking the water (boil it first or filter it or buy bottles)
• Washing clothes by hand.
• Having a house helper (someone that cleans, cooks etc).
• Not flushing toilet paper and learning to use a “squatty potty”
• Shopping for hours in the back corners of an open market to find some kind of Christmas Décor. We actually found a tree (possibly one of the only ones in the whole town) and then we made lots of homemade decorations.
• Singing around the fire became a normal way to spend an evening!
• Cooking dinner in the freezing kitchen and running upstairs quickly to the warm bedroom to eat. (eating French Toast for about a month straight because we didn’t have the energy to figure out something else to make for dinner in the cold)
• Having friends over for Dance Parties!
• Walking to work etc.…stopping to talk to people along the way.
• Being known by everyone in your neighborhood… “the foreigner” “horagi” muzugu” …
• Drinking tea every time you go to a meeting or a visit with a neighbor.
• Getting so use to the sound of explosions that it barely fazes you.
• Learning to drive where there are no lines on the streets and people walking and herding animals, as well as big military vehicles all in the same road…all while wearing a head scarf (I learned to tuck the edges behind my ears so my peripheral vision wasn’t impaired).
• Living at a slower pace!
Life in other parts of the world often has some harsh realities but I’ve also found that it has amazing depth and richness!