18 February 2011

I’m a Millionaire

16 September 2011
That’s right.  This morning, I dropped about a million bucks on kitchen appliances.  Okay, so that’s ‘bucks’ as in ‘CFA’ which is the currency used in Niger.  If I’ve done my math right, it comes out to about $2000.  That’s $2000 for a refrigerator, a four-burner stove/oven (think a momma-sized easy-bake), microwave, deep freezer, and a free-standing rotating fan.  
The appliance store was a single room with two aisles: about a dozen fridge/freezer combo’s and standing freezers lined the wall on the right side facing the deep freezers and stoves; tv’s and computer printers lined the left wall, next to three large executive style wooden desks.  Random blenders and irons peppered the tops of shelves and fridges.  Not quite Target.

But that made choosing so much easier!  At home when appliance shopping, we consider size, without question, but we also have options such as what color would you like?  Would you like an ice maker in the door or also filtered water?  How about a freezer that self-controls how much moisture (ice) is building up?  Freezer on top or bottom?  Double-door or single?  Diesel, unleaded, or hybrid?  You get the idea.
Here, it was small, medium or large (and in the case of freezers, extra-large).  With my stove, getting one that had pilot lights was going to cost an extra 70,000cfa (~$35).  I was told it wasn’t worth the money.  Which I was secretly glad to hear, because the cheaper one had an oven door handle that I can hand a tea towel on, and the other one didn’t . . . silly, I know, but that’s why I said ‘SECRETLY’!
The whole process was quiet entertaining.  Thankfully we weren’t just shopping for me, but for two others as well.  So I had lots of input and help.  When we arrived we were taken well care of by two vendors who answered all our questions and did whatever they could to help us out.  I understood only about half of what was going on, as they would start out each discussion in French, and quickly switch to Hausa.  After my 22ish hours in the country, I’m realizing how important it will be for me to have some sort of Frausa to communicate!  Okay, brain . . . get ready!
We were there for at least two hours.  Our decisions had been made pretty quickly (or so it felt), but between negotiations in price, guarantees (they offered 2 months, we asked for 6) on the appliances, and running down the street to get the microwaves (which are covered with writing in Chinese) and regulators (a big box that acts like a surge-protector for major appliances) we were there for a bit.  It feels good to have it done.
In a little bit, after the end of siesta time (~3pm) we’ll head back down there to make sure all the fridges and freezers work.  They plugged them in when we left, and now we need to be sure that they run.  They will be delivered tonight, then sent on a truck to Galmi tomorrow!  Which means they will be installed in my new place and ready for me to arrive on Monday!  
Oh my goodness!  I move in Monday!  On Monday I will no longer live out of a suitcase (okay, ‘suitcases)!!  Wow!  Since 2007 I’ve felt like I’ve been living ‘transition’ . . . I can’t wait to unpack and know that (for a little while at least) I’m staying put!

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