Towards the end of 2017 our landlord of 10 years dropped a bombshell on us by saying that he was providing all of his apartments to the Vision Hospital (2 minutes walk away) for their nurses, so we as well as the other tenants beneath us had to arrange new accommodation. We had always got on really well with the landlord but when the other tenants moved out and with some nurses already moved into the apartments below, we were getting a little worried that we wouldn´t find somewhere suitable in time.
Our main issue is our accommodation needs to be something big enough and close enough for the kids to reach. Over the next 3 months we looked at so many places and found a few that were good but not on an easy bus route for the children or were in a great location but far too small. It was really difficult to find a good match. Our place was a generous size and over the years we have grown into it. This now made most other places feel cramped for all our tables, chairs and storage boxes.
After a month of searching we found an ideal apartment, it was perfectly located, just a minutes' walk for some of the children and was so very bright and airy that it would be ideal for tuition and stitching classes for the children though the direct sunlight might make the rooms too hot. There would be a lovely breeze with the large windows opened on each side and we were hopeful the breeze through the property would cool everything sufficiently and provide a balance. The building work needed completing and the lift was not working and there were a few minor issues with the finishing touches, but when we spoke with the builder he would say it would take just a few more days to put right. Days turned into weeks which then turned into months. Two properties in the same building were available but both had the same problems.
Christmas was getting closer as we ran into December and our workload increased and every minute of the day was spent either sorting out presents or packing them, along with searching for 'emergency properties' if this one fell through. In the end we decided to look further a field so that we could make sure we had a base before the nurses were scheduled to move in. After a long search we found a new apartment; we started moving in the day after we first saw it. It was not as close as we wanted but it is bright and airy and a similar size to our original one so all our tables actually fitted in with enough room to walk around which is a bonus. The apartment would only be a temporary home while we searched for something more appropriate. Several of the properties we saw were still under construction so we hoped once they were finished one would be suitable for our needs.
Moving day was upon us and the moving day turned into a week as we transported all the books, tables and other items to the new place: 5 trips by van and even more by car and bike but we finally made it with the help of some of the older children (Thanks guys and girls). The new apartment was really nice but it was obvious it was too far away for the kids, although they did still come and see us. We had planned to stay for a maximum of 6 months but after just two months we found a lovely Portuguese house that was close enough and big enough. It was all very exciting for us. We got in touch with the owners and arranged for viewing. Yallama and Robert met up outside and were very excited to see the well maintained house.
We went inside and had a look around and it was great to see a large open area which would be ideal for the children's classes, this flowed though to a huge kitchen which would easily accommodate all the kitchen items and a dining table. There were also two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a large spacious verandah spanning the whole front of the house. The only downside is that it just has a small section of garden (rough ground) at the side and front of the property.
The new house, which we have named 'The Brown House' looked ideal and although we hadn't really gotten over our first move, we really thought it would be a perfect home for the charity. We struck a deal and asked if we could start moving straight away.
Robert started making lots of trips by bike taking anything and everything that would fit on his bike, and you´d be surprised how much stuff can go on the bike. Nearly half the items ended up being transported by bike. Thankfully most of the recent football shirt donations had already been given out, but there was still so much to move.
Acchelal, one of the eldest students was on hand to keep Robert working hard. Acchelal knew someone who lent us a van for the day which allowed us to move the remaining large items (tables, chairs, fridge etc). Several trips later and that was it.
The next two weeks were spent organising and sorting, trying to get the perfect layout which would be good for the classes with resources at hand when we needed them. Now a month later everything is pretty much settled, although we have picked up quite a lot of second hand clothing which all needs to be sorted into appropriate ages and separated for boys and girls. The children have started arriving and it already feels like a home and we are already getting new families who want their children's names adding for the next school year. We rarely get a free moment, but it's all worth it.