Saturday, October 5, 2013

Close Quarters

As we move closer to living in Urubichá, our main concern has been a place to live.

Our long term plan is to find a place to rent/buy to remodel or buy a lot to build on.  But how can we do that long distance?  Where do we live in the meantime? 

We have been given permission to rent a 3-room apartment, built several years ago by former missionaries in the village.  When we went out there to visit, we stayed in 2 of the rooms, so we have some idea of what it is like.

Here's an exterior photo I took of the place on my first trip to Urubichá:

There is no running water.  The well is an "old fashioned" bucket-and-rope affair.  The bathroom is external and shared with the family next door.  It has a toilet, sink, and shower, but without running water!  Everything is plumbed and there is an electric pump at the well, but nothing works.

That's the well in the foreground; the bathroom is behind that bush:

When we found out we would be living there, we asked our coworker Emilio to measure the rooms for us, so we could start planning how we would use the rooms.  The first room is about 176 square feet and has a small cabinet with counter top and a single-tub kitchen sink.  The second room is about 232 square feet and will be used as the girls' room.  The third, our bedroom and office, is about 205 square feet.

So that's a total of around 615 square feet!

One of the hobbies that Kaylee and I share is house design.  Of course, we have been putting this to good use as we seek to plan an efficient future home of ~1000 square feet.  Ever since we came to Bolivia, I have been using my spare time (usually while listening to language recordings) to design more than 30 different renditions of a possible village house, complete with scale models of our furniture.  I use an old home design software that I picked up years ago, so it was easy to mock up this apartment the same way, just to see how things would fit.

We have also talked a lot about the bathroom.  Yes, it is inconvenient to not have a bathroom in the house, especially with 3 little girls that often still need help (especially with a bucket-flush toilet!).  However, our biggest concern was with the "shared" nature of it.  We want to be very careful with our girls, especially considering the high level of various types of abuse.  We decided that we would do what we could to build a bathroom into our already-tight space.  Maybe a shower too?  That would be nice, even if it's a bucket shower.

Here's what we came up with:

Living/dining room:


Our big plan is that Kaylee and the kids will stay in Santa Cruz for a couple weeks while I go paint, build a bathroom, and see what I can do about making the plumbing work!!

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