Toilets, HHE and Housing

Okay, let’s talk about toilets. This is the important stuff. I’ve seen two types of toilets since I’ve been here in Cotonou (not counting the people who pee on the street). Neither one is the lever action flusher we are used to from years with the American Standard company. One, the older model best I can tell, has a pull handle in the middle of the tank lid. I think how it is supposed to work is that the handle pulls up the flapper valve in the tank, and when the water level lowers, the flapper valve closes and pulls down the handle. Okay, I got that. The second kind, the one in my house, instead has a button in the middle of the tank lid. There’s no clear indication of how long you’re supposed to hold the button down to get a good flush, but I haven’t got it figured out yet, other than it’s more than a quick push. I still think the USA has the best toilets in the world! 🙂

My HHE is due into the port October 10th, barring the boat sinking. As of our most recent info, it’s on schedule. Probably another week after whenever it gets in to clear customs. In addition to some furniture I shipped, it has all my DVD collection, the waffle iron and my consumables (waffles and maple syrup for breakfast!).

I did learn I can ship preserved meat and cheeses from my favorite place in Vermont and they’ll arrive edible!

Finally, housing in the State Department. In most places, FSOs are provided with furnished housing (the exceptions are places like Canada where you get an allowance to rent on the local market). The size is based on your seniority and number of kids. I agree with the first, not so much the second. But, these requirements are influenced by what’s available in the embassy housing pool. So, I have a very nice half of a duplex. Pictures to come, but the downstairs is the kitchen and a living/dining room combination suitable for entertaining, along with a huge pantry for consumables. Upstairs are three bedrooms and a TV room. On the other hand there is NO yard. A little much for one guy, but they expect us to do some entertaining and to maintain flexibility in the housing pool, they need housing suitable for the standard family with 2.3 children. Some unusual things about the house – the laundry room is in a separate shed in the “backyard”, the shower is just a corner of the master bathroom with a shower head and drain, no curtain or enclosure. Light switches are up for off, down for on.

4 Comments

Filed under Foreign Service Stuff

4 responses to “Toilets, HHE and Housing

  1. Cat

    I like the idea of push button toilets! Let me know what the push time is once you have completed your assessment!
    My first apartment in Chicago was in a house that had once been single family but had been converted into 5 apts. The toilet in a cubby cum closet next to the entry door and the shower stall was in a corner of the kitchen!

  2. rkolker

    There is something to be said for the original Crappers (named after Thomas) with the tank high on the wall. Gravity did a lot of the work.

    Of course, an American push button toilet would have $250 worth of electronics and have to be rebooted once a day! Unless it was an I-Toilet.

  3. Phil

    Regarding housing, you said, “The size is based on your seniority and number of kids. I agree with the first, not so much the second.”

    I’ve noticed you seem to be free of strings attached. No wife or kids?

  4. Phil

    Love the details about lights and toilets and housing. Thanks. Share more!

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