Caroline, the Swedish volunteer and I have finally moved out of the SVP flat and into our new place. Upon viewing the flat, Dr. Gamar, the university dean, led us proudly to the front door, ensuring us along the way that the flat was fully equipped with everything we could possibly need. Our first impressions were good: this was accommodation for teachers’ from the University of Khartoum, a.k.a. a “teacher’s mess”. Superficially, the flat is spacious with a kitchen, bathroom, laundry space, 2 bedrooms and a living room. It also faces directly onto the Blue Nile. We were pleasantly surprised.
Dr. Gamar gave us a quick tour of the flat’s main appliances, fixing up some perilous electrical connections. He attempted to plug the refrigerator into a loose socket hanging up the wall, and muttered in exasperation that he did not know what the problem may be. He tried another socket, and succeeded using a combination of 2 different adaptors and shoving a key into one of the pin-holes. In turn, the socket leading to the television sparked terrifyingly when plugged into.
Once we had been left to explore on our own, we realized that the place was indeed a “mess”. We had been reassured that the flat had been cleaned the day before our arrival, but whatever the definition of cleaning was, this had not gone on here. There was a thick layer of orange dust coating every inch of the flat, which brought on a hacking cough in me. I tried to give the fridge a once-over, rubbing fruitlessly at the orange paste that coated the inside. We also realized that flushing the toilet caused the bathroom to flood with water, which seeped into Caroline’s room. This was the most serious issue thus far.
A man is coming to look at the bathroom today, Insh’Allah (if Allah permits), so stay tuned for further developments…
Sadly enough, we suspect that in terms of accommodation here this probably falls in the “nice” category, and that we have both been spoiled in our respective countries.