A number of events inside the compound have occured where by we have a new committee that meets and discusses the "Camp Rules".
For some background information - and my apologies this is old news, but, I live in a camp or compound - whatever you want to call it. Some of us, refer to it, as Guantanamo. You'll understand why shortly.
The compound is made up of approximately 40 "villas". I laugh when I hear our units referred to as "villas" because...they are...well...rooms inside a concrete duplex, shared with up to four people. We each have our own rooms, bathrooms, and office area, but share a common area. It's nothing to complain about, I'm pretty indifferent to our units - but a villa?? These are NOT villas.
[Damnit - I just went to look up "villa" on line, and I stand corrected. According to Merriem Webster my residence, fits one of the defintions:
1 : a country estate (Um...No.)
2: the rural or suburban residence of a wealthy person (ha ha ha! Um, definetly, NO...)
3 : a detached or semidetached urban residence with yard and garden space (Okay. I guess so...it...has a yard...not really a garden, but...there are a lot of trees in the backyard. So okay...I live in a villa...whatever). ]
Okay - back to the story - sort of. The compound is made up of about 40 villas.
In said villas, we have internet (except from January to March of this year... ) and the option to watch TV in one of three common areas. When I first arrived, I had access to about ten English channels in my room - since January, there is some problem with the satellites - so no more TV in the villas.
The no TV thing doesn't concern me that much - except for listening to the morning news - which my driver has remedied and we now listen to BBC Africa in French - so I'm not totally clueless what's going on in the world outside of MG. (And don't get me confused as some intellectual that's only concerned in world events...I have all my favorite trashy shows on DVD that I brought from Canada....)
Here's an aerial view of the compound:
What the aerial view doesn't show is: a 7 foot tall fence, with an additional 3 feet of razor wire encompassing the ENTIRE compound; 2-5 guards at the front entrance; and individual guards stationed at various points of the perimeter.
Before we leave the camp, our vehicles are visually inspected ('cause we're going to steal something from the camp??? What exactly? Towels? A pillow?), and upon enterring the camp, we have to show identification.
[As I'm the only six foot tall white blonde-ish woman, I don't often have to show my badge, but every so often there is a new guard, and I'll have to rumage through my purse, annoyed (even though the guard is just doing his job...), until I find my badge at the bottom of my purse (which is bad because I'm supposed to be wearing it around my neck at all times. As I've said before, I'm a living rebel...)]
(And yes, that is plastic cutlery.)
Now - I'm sure that cooking for a large group of people is very challenging. BUT, one of our "chefs" proudly talks one of his past employment experience - as head chef at a prison. Hmm...never would have guessed.... ?Alternatively, we can eat eat pizza and wings at the bar, but three times I've had pizza and three times I've ben sick - no more pizza for me (although A LOT of people regularly eat pizza and have never had a problem....I'm just not ready to risk it quite yet...).
Now....have I lost you yet?? Can you see why this is not so lovingly referred to as Guantanamo? Okay, okay, so maybe Guatanamo doesn't have a pool....or a bar....or staff to sort-of clean your room and sort-of do your laundry (It's "sort-of"....because our houses are sort-of clean, stuff from my room sort of doesn't get stolen, and my clothes sort of don't get ruined bi-weekly in the laundry).
Alllllllllllll this background information/hen-clucking to get to the story here.
Ahhhh wait, one more quick note before I go on. This is the only expat camp that I've ever lived in and as far as expat camps go, I've heard this is a great one...and I should be thankful because really, I'm living in a third world country and the living conditions for 90% of the Malagasy residents are far, far worse. I agree. I should just be thankful thatI have a roof over my head. But for now, let's just put that aside and let me be a princess from a first world country and bitch for a page or two.
Okay. Now I'm ready to get to the point.
Recently, there were a number of parties at the pool. Apparently, people were swearing, drinking, smoking (IMAGINE??? We're at work a minimum of 60 hours a week and people get a little tipsy on our ONE day off?!? THE HORROR!!!).
So out comes an email last week:
The consumption of spirits and liquor is no longer allowed in any public area on the Operations Camp as of today, this includes the following areas: Swimming pool, Tropical Bar, Recreation areas, and Dining room. Regards.
Uhhhhhhhhhhh....WHAT?? No drinking IN THE BAR?? So what should we do in THE BAR? Drink juice? Smoothies? (Actually...I would really like if we could make smoothies...but that's beside the point...)
Well - look here buddy - the LAST thing you do is tell a bunch of expats (who are...well....fairly regular consumers of alchohol) that they CANNOT drink.
(Should we have gone all "Guantanamo"??? Paid the guards with cigarettes to sneak us in some liquor and drink by ourselves in our room or some underground tunnel?)
From what I heard - there were a lot of pretty ugly email responses. Which resulted in someone, somehow forming a committee to make decisions like this - which seemed quite fair actually.
This committee is made up of Mr. So-and-so from above, a few housing representatives, and...(and I'm using this term with great affection...) the head camp partiers and/or drunks.
The expat group was well represented.
A meeting was had and the rules were discussed - and reviewed - and changed a bit.
1. No drinking out of glass objects near/in the pool (sounds very fair).
2. Men are not allowed in the women's residences. But women are allowed in the men's residences (this is not a new rule and I'm not quite sure why it's in place, but whatever...)
3. No smoking in the pool (again, sounds fair).
4. All parties must be announced in advance, ie: posters/signs indicating which day the party will take place so that resident expats with children know that there might be alchohol and partying involved.
5. NO PETS OR WILDLIFE.
Okay, most of the rules seem fair...but..if you've been following the blog...Rule #5 means... bye, bye chickens...
Yep, all this to get at one point: The chickens, that were creating a bit of....well, fun and enjoyment for the camp; and companionship for one camp resident in particular; not causing any disturbances or harm....are gone. Huge sad face. Word on the street was that he was just about to give them all names too...
I haven't spoken to the chicken dad yet about this... but I'm sure he's pretty choked (pun intended)...
But....I hope he doesn't mind that the mess hall had "Santa Fe" chicken for supper tonight...and for once...it was actually pretty good... all that love and care....paid off in the end....
All in the life of an expat. :D