15 May 2014

mtv cribz: the tanzanian house tour.

You've been with us through House Hunter's International, parts I and II. So tell me, were you right about your guess of which house we would choose? To be honest, we would have guessed wrong ourselves. For a good month, we had our hearts set on House #2 and changed our minds at the last minute. It wouldn't be an adventure otherwise, would it?

So let's peel back the curtain a bit and let you step into our new digs. And because we're awesome, there's a surprise announcement at the end of the post as well. Excited? You should be.

Karibu! Welcome! Here's our small but cozy front porch, where we've been chilling on some plastic chairs. It's always nice and shady so we're hoping to have a couple of sundowners in this spot.

If you turn to your right, you'll see our barred front door, which is pretty customary for a middle-class home in Mwanza. The iron barred door is on the outside, with a couple of spots for some mighty heavy padlocks on the inside. The second door is just your average wood door with a basic lock. Walking into our front door, this is what you'll see:

These couches may look simple, but they were a beast to get into the house. Since we couldn't fit them through any of our doors, we actually had to call the couch maker and ask him to come out to the house to take it apart, lug it into the house, and put it back together! And guess what? He did - that same day. Phew! We also had the couch cushions hand-made. Lucky for us, they're looking pretty good with our paint color. (Yes, it's bright yellow throughout the whole house!)

When you turn slightly to your left from the couches, you'll see our awesome dining table, which our friends graciously let us "borrow" indefinitely. Yes! We don't have a separate dining room, but with just the two of us, we don't mind.

Straight out the door from the living/dining area are our shower and bathroom, which we affectionately refer to as a "squatty potty" here in Tanzania. Not a ton to explain there! It's pretty customary in Tanzania to separate your toilet and your shower. Thankfully, we were able to purchase a hot water tank to heat up our shower water. It's the little things in life that make the difference!

Down the hall to the left is our master bedroom. Pretty snazzy, huh? We have room for our amazing custom-ordered mattress, which we had to order just so that Michael could lay completely straight! I guess Tanzanians are a bit shorter than my husband. We also threw in a dresser, our laundry basket, and a kabati, which is a mobile mini-closet.

Luckily for us, Westerners used to live in this home so it's already outfitted with one sit-down toilet in our master bathroom, which we're more used to. Hallelujah! There's also a sink and a pretty decent size mirror. Although there is a shower faucet, using it would mean absolutely everything would get soaked, so we're going to stick to the shower in the hallway.

Across from our bedroom, there's a tiny guest bedroom that we're going to use as an office. It's pretty empty right now, except for a bookcase and another table we're using as a shared desk.

Down the hall on the other end of the house sits our kitchen and a larger guest bedroom. Similar to our own room, the guest bedroom has a double bed, dresser, and kabati. I know it looks a bit sad at the moment, but we're not buying a mattress until we have a visitor. Any takers?

Our kitchen is a great space, and rightly so, seeing as we'll be spending a lot of time in there. It has a large window that opens up into our front yard and a door off to the side, so we can allow a nice breeze into the room when we're heating it up with our cooking. Because cupboards and shelving are not customary here in Tanzania, we had a custom table built that can double as a countertop and as a shelving unit on the bottom. If you were to turn to your right, you'd see our handy dandy stove and fridge. (They're pretty standard, believe me.)

Now, onto one of the best part of the house: the outside. We have a great yard and a beautiful garden to boot. This picture is taken from the back of our compound, as if you were standing almost behind our house. The structure you see in front is the back side of the three shops, or dukas, we've previously mentioned. At first, we weren't excited about this prospect, as one of the dukas has a door that leads onto our property! But in reality, there have been no issues. Our landlady stuck a large padlock onto the door and gave us the key, so there's been no bother.

An added bonus of these dukas on our property is the existence of this awesome porch on the back side! It's huge and fully shaded so after the purchase of a plastic table and more chairs, we're hoping friends feel welcome to come over on the weekends and just hang out!

You know what else is a bonus?

This dog! Yep, can you believe it?!? We got a dog. For those of you who know us, this is basically a sign that hell has frozen over. Due to Michael's allergies and my apathy towards dogs, we vowed we would never own one. However, we reconsidered when we learned that dogs act as wonderful guards and when we observed that all of our friends in Mwanza own dogs! So, we caved and here we are! Three weeks ago, we welcomed little Noli into our lives and as much as we hate to admit it, we absolutely love her. Most likely a mix of German Shepherd and Rottweiler, she's almost five months old and every bit a puppy. Who would have ever thought we would be dog training?

There's so much to get used to in our new home but we're thankful to finally have a space to call our own. We hope you enjoyed the brief look into our crib and hope you know you're welcome anytime! Karibu sana!


  1. Hey, a puppy! Great to see the house, and that things have shaken out so well. The blog has been a really enjoyable read, looking forward to more updates from the new home.

  2. Alex, it's so great to hear from you! We are happy to be settled in our own place and look forward to making it our own in the coming months. We hope all is well with you!

  3. Congratulations! Your house looks nice and neat to me. Noli looks nice, too!
    Is your house close to the Mary-Knoll priests' house?

  4. Thanks, Father Tino! Unfortunately, we are a bit of a jaunt from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers residence - about a twenty minute drive. But we can walk to the Sisters, so that's a plus!