Monday, January 12, 2009

At Home in San Salvador

We're spending a day around the house - waiting for manifests of medications that will come with our February Medical Mission Team - so this seems like a good time to introduce you to the Base House. We rent this townhouse, the corner end house on a small street (Pasaje los Angeles). We're just outside the gate (though the guard is responsible for us as he is for the 16 neighboring houses inside the gate).

Our two-story house is well suited to the climate, with tiled floors that stay cool, open courtyards for drainage in the rainy season, vents at the roofline to let out warm air. Now the windows are mostly closed; in the rainy season, they'll all be open to catch any breeze that comes along. Upstairs the master bedroom has been turned into a guest bedroom with two beds; Eleanor and I occupy small bedrooms at the front of the house. All the upstairs rooms open out onto a big sala, which serves as our office. Downstairs there's a living room (photo), dining room, tiny kitchen. Outside the kitchen is the open courtyard with the pila, the cement water storage tank and connected washtub that you find all over Central America, and on the other side of the courtyard, the muchacha room. That's where the girl from the country is supposed to live, the girl who does the dishes and laundry and cooking and cleaning. We don't have a muchacha (I'm happy to say) so this tiny room (with its own tiny bathroom) mostly gets used for storage. Another Central American specialty is the hammock room (though there, again, we don't have a hammock in it): separated from the outside only by iron grillwork, this room will catch any breeze on a hot night.

There's a parking space behind iron gates in the front and a parking space behind iron gates in the back, some lovely small garden patches. Every window has a handsome, elaborate and practical iron grating and lots and lots of electrified razor wire protect any part of our borders that are not under the guard's watchful eye. And about security, more to come later.

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