Tag Archives: Housing

Our Future House in Tanzania

Because our mission is an outreach to the Maasai people,we wanted to live among the Maasai. We had seen where a few people had built brick houses in the area dominated by the Maasai, and thought we might be able to rent one. Through a casual connection, we were introduced to the retired Head Teacher from Maasai Girls School, who owns a vacant house in the Monduli Juu area. This is exactly where we wanted to live! We have rented this house in advance, to move in on June 1, 2016.  I have included an album below; I believe you can click on the thumbnails to see a large image.

This is a lovely house, but this community has no water supply. In order to live here, we will need to build an extensive rainwater collection system. With our landlady’s permission, we hope to extend the roof to increase the area for rainwater collection, and to give us some additional covered living/visiting space. With the additional water, we will be able to use the flush toilet and shower that are already built in the house.

When we saw this house, we thought, “We could move in right away!” That’s almost true. It’s a very nice house, but without a water supply or electricity, it would be difficult to live here (that’s probably part of the reason our landlady lives elsewhere). Desert Water Agency estimates a need of 6000 gallons per month for two people.

  • We must enlarge this roof to provide more rainwater catchement capability.
  • We must be able to store at least 2 months supply on location (preferably 3 or more).
  • Estimated cost: $20,000
  • Solar Hot water system $500.00

We will also install solar panels for electricity, because the electrical system here is very undependable. It is often off for days at a time, and rarely on for more than 8 hours a day.We will have a generator as backup, so we will be living “off the grid.” However, because cell phone service (and internet capability) are almost universal in Tanzania, that’s one thing that actually works better than in Memphis.

  • 5 Kv Diesel generator: $1200.00
  • 10 Kv Solar System: $1200.00

Which brings us to the point: We need assistance with these costs. We’re raising money for our support, but we also need money to cover one-time costs like moving, language school and renovating our house. If you, or your church are interested in partnering with us in this work, please let us know.

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Filed under funding for missions, Living in Tanzania, mission prep, Mission Work, Rainwater Collection

Getting Ready to Go to Tanzania

There is so much going on, I hardly know where to start. We’re sort of feeling under attack.

When we returned from our trip to Texas, all excited about rainwater collection, we found ourselves totally buried in the details of life, and of getting ready to travel to Tanzania.

We have several houses, and we had envisioned spending time fixing them up and getting ready to sell them, or getting them rented and handed over to a property manager.
New facia front 2We hadn’t expected to get slammed by our insurance companies, who sent a list of “fix this” demands. So at first, we were just running around fixing and not focusing.

Then one of our tenants moved out, leaving us holding the bag for about $2000, and another house in need of fixing.

And we discovered that my retirement fund (which we had planned to use) wouldn’t be available to spend on  all of these repairs. Time for a loan…

In addition, when I went to the brokerage to discuss said retirement funds,  I learned that we won’t be able to keep my retirement fund in that brokerage: they won’t deal with missionaries and other people who live outside the country.

So we have LOTS of stuff going on, and we just don’t know quite how to handle it. So we need your prayers. And if you want to help fix houses, we welcome volunteers.

So here’s the good news.
We have nearly reached our fundraising goal for our personal expenses. Not doing quite so well on the expenses for building the rainwater collection system, but fundraising is coming along. And we have high hopes.

We have scheduled our tickets. We will be leaving for Tanzania on March 16, and arriving there on March 18 (we have an overnight stay in Amsterdam).

We have a place to stay, or rather, several places. Among the Short family, the Allison family and the Smelser family, we should have a bed to sleep in the whole time we are there. We weren’t too worried about this, but it’s nice to know.

And we have compared schedules and we will be able to spend time with all of those families, getting to know them better, building relationships and talking about plans for future mission work.

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Book Review: First-Time Landlord by Janet Portman et al

 

This is a good basic book on renting a single-family home. It is well-organized, with references to more specialized books and online resources. It would be handy for anyone who is thinking of purchasing a home to rent, or who has a home that they want/need to rent.
The sub-title is a bit misleading. Many of the examples and equations provided have more to do with multi-unit properties. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but as an investore dealing in single-family homes, I know that I deal with quite different issues than an apartment owner. If the book really specialized in the single-family home market, it might be better to stick with examples in that market, or highlight multi-family investment properties as a contrast.
Throughout the book, there are “USA Today Snapshots.” I would have expected them to have some relationship to the text. Sometimes they do. In a section on pets, there is a graphic about pet owners.
More often, they don’t; they seem to be thrown in at random. In a section on relationships with investment partners, there’s a graphic about spouses who lie about finances. In a section on financing, there’s a graphic about joining a business association. Such slap-dash choices suggest that the editors made a decision that a certain percentage of the page had to be graphics, and then the layout artist filled in the spots with whatever was available.
I’m going to keep the book around as a reference work. It looks like a useful tool for a small-time investor.

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers. ( )

First-Time Landlord: Your Guide to Renting out a Single-Family Home (USA Today/Nolo Series) by Janet Portman,  Marcia Stewart, Michael Molinski NOLO (2009), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 336 pages

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Business