Friday, January 27, 2012

Holy Smoke!

It was the one thing I was dreading living here. 

And its happening. 

You see, our apartment faces behind the compound. It is much better than the other side which is right on the busiest street in our area. Being along the street is safer than living ndani (inside- meaning off the main road). However, it comes with its faults mainly the noise and dirt and little privacy. However, since our apartment is at the back of the compound, it was facing a large grass patch, and we have a relatively peaceful and quiet life. It is still a bit noisy (there is a school a little ways away and there is a pub downstairs) but nothing compared to the front. 

My prayer was that the beautiful patch of grass outside would stay that way for a while. I didn't want anyone to start building on it. 

But it is a beautiful space and the owner would be silly not to maximize it's use and get a good profit from it. 

So the building has begun. 

But before the building started, some of the guys thought it would be best to burn all the grass. BAD BAD idea. The small patch they burned pretty much smoked us into our apartment. I quickly closed all the windows and turned my fans on high. But the smoke just kept seeping through the windows. I was now starting to cough and my eyes were burning so I thought I should step out my front door into the corridor. However, the corridor has no roof and so smoke was entering from the top making it even more smoky than inside my little apartment. My neighbour ran out in her slippers thinking that the building was on fire. I assured her it wasn't but she was so furious that she went down to complain. In the meantime, I waited it out in my bathroom. It was the only place I could hide without my eyes burning from smoke. I sat on the toilet lid and played on my computer. 

I think my neighbour wasn't the only one with angry complaints. The fire was put out very quickly and the men were instructed to get out their machetes and start chopping the rest of the grass. When I looked out, only a very small patch of grass was burnt. I can't imagine how much smoke it would have created if the burnt the whole thing. 
The dry grass lit on fire so fast that you couldn't see the ground.

I couldn't even see out my window!! That's how bad it was! 

 The next morning we awoke to about 50 guys digging the holes for the foundation. That was the sound I dreaded to hear. 

After the first day, they had made some pretty good progress. They were noisy but they managed to get a lot done and not many returned the next day. Although nearing the end of the day, I could hear a bunch of yelling right outside my window. I think the guy who hired them all was refusing the pay them what he had promised. I would be pretty upset as well. 

I am happy that they are only building on that one side which means that I won't have any structure obstructing my view or cross breeze anytime soon (although I do pity the people on the other side of the building). Also, I think the noisiest part is over and they are going to now start lay bricks and allowing cement to dry. 

As I am typing this now, they have lit up some of the leftover grass again. Really?? I can feel the heat through my windows although now the wind is blowing the smoke away from my house. Phew! It's a good thing most houses are made of concrete here instead of wood that catches on fire so quickly! 

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