When I share with someone that I’m joining the Peace Corps, I get one of…
A lot of Peace Corps’ Volunteers post photos and /or videos about their Peace Corps’ homes–and I plan to do that as well. But this one is a little different. While I’ve still got a few more days until I depart for Rwanda, I wanted to celebrate my new home, and what I hope will be my home for many years.
I acquired this house in October 2017. At the time it became available, I had already been in the Peace Corps’ application/clearance process for a year. So while I wasn’t 100% sure I’d be joining, I’d already been through a lot of the steps.
When I moved in it look like 1990 made a pit stop and never left. The walls were cranberry-colored and they had put wallpaper on the cabinet doors. The oven/stove combo dated back to 1970.
One of the first things that happened was a new metal roof. While a new roof was needed, the decision to go with metal was my own.
Next up, was a lot of wallpaper removal and painting. And patching holes. And more painting. I got my ‘Africa’ room done first. It needed the least amount of surface prep so it was relatively quick to paint the accent wall ‘Moroccan Red, and the other walls ‘Ethiopia’. With curtains hung and furniture from my previous living space, this room served as my bedroom for the first few months. It’s the smallest of the three bedroom, and now functions as a guest room… you know, should anybody living more than 50 miles away visit.
Then I worked on my ‘office’. While I don’t do a lot in here, I do have my big, comfy chair, and my desk in here. I’ve since added a bookcase and a long dresser. I have a TV/DVD which is almost never used, but this is where I come to study [file papers, scrapbook, ect…]. My favorite wall is the checkerboard wall in orange and white representing The University of Tennessee. I also have my college diplomas hanging in here as well.
The living room and kitchen/dining room took a lot of time. The walls are mostly veneer paneling that I’ve painted over. When I do my major remodel post Peace Corps, walls are being moved and it’s all becoming drywall, but for now I went with a blue accent wall [Caribbean Blue] and a moody gray [London Fog]. I’m using a muted orange as an accent in the living room.
For the kitchen, I went with a more neutral shade of gray, concrete counter tops dyed black, a 3D aluminum splash back, and a muted gray subway tile in the dining room and counter top I created next to the oven. Around Thanksgiving/Christmas, I got new appliances [stove/oven combo, dishwasher, refrigerator] in a slate finish. I painted all the upper cabinets bright white and lower ones gray. I finished the look with a industrial knob pull on all the cabinet doors.
My bedroom is green with brown accents and the bathroom is a hot mess of mis-design that I can’t even deal with until I knock walls down and do a re-design, but at least I have a shower, a working toilet, and a bathtub should I feel compelled to use it
I’m most proud of the walkway and flower beds I added in the time from the original Madagascar departure until the current Rwanda departure.
I’ve got big plans for the back yard space including a screened in porch off the bedroom, adding a breakfast nook off the kitchen, and creating a ground-level patio and fire pit.
The house itself is pretty modest by American standards, but most impressive by world standards. I’m not exactly sure what my living situation will be in Rwanda, but I am guessing Lucy and Molly will have a higher standard of living that I will.