Friday, February 18, 2011

The View from our Window

A number of families lived in the little dwellings right below our window (at least ten people lived in one home alone), and I spent considerable time watching the ongoings of their lives during times that we were in our room, especially first thing in the morning.  The residents of these homes never looked up, never seemed to notice our observations, but I always felt a little intrusive nonetheless at this peek into their private lives.

You can tell that these homes are actually much, much nicer than most you'll see in most of Addis, in part because they're quite a bit bigger than the miniscule places that most people cram into, and also because the side walls and the interior floors of the dwellings are made of concrete; the vast majority of homes that we saw throughout Addis were made entirely of corrugated meal fastened together, and the floors were of rough dirt and stone.

The women worked hard, let me tell you.  Every morning, they built the fire, made breakfast, washed the dishes, did the laundry (I can't figure out why people persisted in wearing lots of white clothing, given the grime and dust, and given how much laundry they have to do every day), washed the concrete floor of their dwelling, scrubbed their heads or the heads of the children, swept the dirty and broken concrete floor of the 'courtyard, sorted lentils for use later in the day, and on and on.  And all of that before 10:00am.

Note the rough concrete of the 'courtyard.'  It always amazed me to see attractive teenage girls coming out of these kinds of homes; despite the rough surroundings that they lived in, they emerged with their hair beautifully coiffed, and their clothes clean.

washing the floor of her home...concrete being a nicety for the floor.

Note the jerry can, with which they filled their wash basins with water

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