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A Tour of Our House

After all these months, I thought it would be nice to give you all a tour of our grounds. So come along with me on a wonderful adventure.

We live in Jericho village in the North West Province about 1 hour from Pretoria by car. As you come into town on the only tar road, you will pass the clinic just before the village limits. To get to my house, you will pass by the middle school, the police station, the Education and Development Support Centre/Thusong Centre, the tribal authority, two primary schools, the Youth Centre, the post office and about 10 small shops, car washes, and sepatlo stands along the way. This is pretty much everything in town but the welder and the high school. We are on the far side, about 1 km from the end of the village. After the Youth Centre, you will drive over a curb to get to a dirt road that leads to our house. We are the second house on the left off of the tar road.

Kgoathe Compund

Welcome. Don’t mind the intimidating fencing around the house. It is nice and cozy. Come visit. You first need to get through the entrance gate to the compound.

Entrance Gate

Once you get in, the house is inviting, and you will see the family’s house first.

Family House Front Entrance – Guarded by Tlo Tlo

This is the front entrance and stoop where the family sits to relax during the day when it is not too cold. The front room was an addition to the original house and now is the family room.

To get to our house, you have to walk around to the right, where you will see the driveway, garage and our house.

Garage and Our House (car is not usually there)

It originally started with the garage and one room behind. Over the years, Ntate and the boys added on to it, little by little. To get in to our house, you have to go through the gate that links the two houses and leads to the courtyard.

It’s a nice courtyard. A good place to sit, relax, and get some reading done (see Robi reading newest PC Newsletter). When it is hot out, the courtyard is like an oven radiating heat. Sometimes nice, sometimes not. Our house is to the right (see the burglar gate on the right). This entrance goes into the kitchen.

We like our kitchen. Note the plastering of pictures to remind us of home. (Robi’s family is winning with pictures. Friends are coming in last place with 0 pictures up to now.) We do a lot of cooking and the oven allows us to bake breads and sweet things. You can’t see our newest addition of a drip coffee maker. We tried to make it without, only using the french press, but on lazy Sunday afternoons, like today, a full pot of coffee is very nice. Off to the left, and opposite of the cabinets.

Next, we will walk through the kitchen and go into the hallway, making an immediate left into the front room.

This is where we spend most of our time. We use the Front room for relaxing, getting work done (using computer or not), and eating, though not at the same time. We were very lucky that the family had some extra furniture, consisting of chair and sofa set made of bamboo and plastic patio chairs and table. We are still trying to pad the bamboo furniture and use the patio set as our dinner table.

Turn around and we will walk down the hallway passage. This leads to the two bedroom, bathroom, and garage. (Unfortunately, the picture of our bedroom did not come out, but it is the smallest room, with a mosquito net above the bed and full of our stuff everywhere else.)

In the hallway (above left), please note the rafters, showing off the lack of ceiling. That is hopefully going to change soon, which will make the house much more insulated for winter and summer. The rooms are to the left and the garage is on the right, marked by the bike helmet hanging on the security gate. The backroom (above right), we have three extra beds for guests. When we don’t have guest (most of the time) we hang our laundry and Robi does work on her Girls Club crafts and other planning.

Across the hallway is the door to the garage (above left). At the end of the hallway is the bathroom (above right). We are lucky volunteers because we have a nice bathroom, equiped with a flush toilet, running water, and a bathtub. In the tub is a shower head attachment. Unfortunately, we only have cold water even though it is set up for hot and cold water. Hot water is just too expensive. One of our first purchases was a camp shower in which we can pour warm water to rinse off after a bucket bath. The buckets are all prepared for guests, whenever you want to come.

The garage is a nice work space for pretty much anything. This is where we store our bikes. The family uses it for cooking when the power goes out, which happens a lot with Eskom’s loadshedding. It is also a place to store and dry meat when they slaughter a cow for a special occasion. That was certainly a culture shock to us with the open ceilings throughout the house.

If we go back outside, we will see Robi sitting in the Courtyard and venture further into the backyard to see the animals, gardens and fruit trees.

The first thing you see on your way out of the courtyard is the orange trees just beyond the clothes lines. They are just getting ripe and the family sells them because they ripen all at the same time and there are too many for the family alone. In addition to oranges, there are peach, lemon, and nectarine trees. Right now is citrus time. Around November an December is good for the peaches.

Turn right, and you see Lady’s (aka. Spud Mackenzie) makeshift doghouse, the outdoor cooking area, and our JoJo (5000 liter water tank). Behind the cooking area is the cow kraal (corral) and the side yard devoted to corn last year. We are going to walk to the left and come back to the Kraal and side yard later.

Turn left and you will see Snoopy relaxing and the storage building.

To the left, we have the storage building and the old pit toilets that were used before they got running water. What is stored in the storage building? Good question.

Along with an assortment of old and broken things, we are now storing two piglets (above right) that are too small to stay in the pigpens. I tried to get a picture of them, but when they see people, they think food and kept trying to eat my feet.

If we continue on our tour, we find the pigpens next to the old pit toilets. Today, Ntate’s son, Nico, is giving the pigs water and cleaning their pens. Nico owns the pigs and stores them here because he lives near Pretoria. He comes out every two weeks or so to check on the pigs, bring food, and bring change the number of pigs. We used to have three large white female pigs, but they became infertile, so were sold to the butchery. So he brought two piglets and three teenage pigs (one male – below left, and two females – below right).

If we continue on, we will see our gardens.

First, we see Ntate’s orchard and gardens on the right. Beyond the fruit trees is our garden. Our garden was semi-successful this year. We had a lot of zucchini, tomatoes, marigolds, and green beans. In smaller supply were the corn, carrots, squash, radishes and onions. Failures were the peas, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli. But we think we learned a lot for next year.

Behind our garden is the cow kraal, above right. Right now, it is empty because the cows are out grazing freely. The family has about 20 cows, with five born this year. They can make a lot of noise, particularly when the mothers and calves are split up. If you turn right, we will see more of our garden.

Our garden looks dead because it is very cold. But there are a few things still growing. Two squash plants, a handful of carrots, radishes, small onions, one zucchini plant, and a rogue cherry tomato plant that is surviving on will alone. We have a compost pile, but we have not been very good about using it, so some beautiful flowers are blooming out of it, along with two new tomato plants. I guess the rotten tomatoes reseeded. Oh well.

Before you go, we take a quick look at both sides of the house. There is the side yard where we had a corn field this year. It became a grazing yard for the young calves before they were branded and allowed out with the older cows. There are some nice shade trees and a few orange and nectarine trees as well.

On the other side of the compound, there is a driveway that passes the family JoJo water tank to the backyard. Nico uses this driveway when he brings pigs and supplies. This is also how the water truck get back to our JoJo.

Well, we hope you enjoyed your visit. Come back, relax and enjoy the sun in the courtyard with Robi, Will, Nngwe, Pedi, and the rest of the family.

Tsamayang Sentle


4 Responses

  1. Nice and thorough walk through. If i had know you were having a photo contest in your kitchen, i would have sent tons of photos of myself. future package.
    have you gotten the lastest care package yet?

  2. woohoo!!! I typed in “Mmatope School, South Africa” in google to find some other info and your blog came up!

    anyways…that cat is absolutely adorable!

    & I love the photo bannered across the top of the website where the title is listed. good pic.

    Happy Friday!


  4. Why do you say that?

    How’s everything? Last year of Law School good or bad?


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