We arrived here during the Summer holiday for schools, so I'm not doing a lot of teaching. In addition to our language lessons, we are doing some home improvement projects. When we arrived, our home was... a fixer-upper. In addition to thoroughly and continuously clearing the cobwebs, etc., we decided to set aside a portion of our budget each month for home improvements.
Gravel for the courtyard: to cut down on dirt and mud tracked through the house. (NB: cut down, not eliminate). After the gravel was dumped in our driveway, I carried it bucket by bucket into the courtyard. I was tuckered out that day, it felt like I had been hauling rocks all morning. Oh, wait... In any case, it seems we've traded mud tracking for rock throwing.
Rain Barrel: SAC had a problem with its well, and after a few uncomfortable experiences of running out of water... to flush toilets, to do laundry (esp. diapers), we decided that this was a high-priority item. It didn't take long to fill it. By the way, we could, if we wanted, drink the rain water, as we have a filter. In fact, we filter all of our drinking water, as well as any cooking/food prep water that isn't boiled. The well is working fine right now, but we are now prepared when it doesn't.
Welcome mats: There is so much dirt! Dirt everywhere! And during the rainy season, that dirt becomes mud. Everywhere! The mats help. Or we pretend they do.
Back up Tank for Cooking Gas: This was expensive, but useful. Now, running out of cooking gas doesn't become an urgent problem to be solved immediately, and I can schlepp the empty can to Mbve' for a refill in my own good time. Instead of on Sunday. This has been the biggest item we've added to the kitchen... but not the last. The kitchen is a constantly improving part of our house. A funnel here, a glass jar there...
Mesh for windows: there isn't as much malaria here as in Douala and Yaounde, but there are mosquitoes here and you know what? I don't want them in my house. We'll also see about a screen door...
Farming: Everyone farms here. Most people grow 80% of their own food. So, we'll join in, and are now preparing some land to plant a garden. Slowly and surely. My New Mexico Green Chile seedlings started well, but were attacked by Sally. A few survived, so I'll care for those few and hope for the best.
Husbandry: Chickens and Goats. They're coming. Watch out. (In preparation for the general lack of a freezer section, let alone supermarkets as we know them, I "processed" our chickens in New Mexico before we came out here.)
Almost all of our improvement projects will, in the long run, save us time, money, and consternation. We hope. We are very blessed to be able to make these improvements.