Monday, March 28, 2011

Lap of Luxury

Awhile ago I posted a picture of the main building at Qalaa House. Evidently some people think that is where I live. This is incorrect. That is the main building...where the big shots work...there is a lounging area on the main floor with a TV and games and such...but I don't spend much time in that building.

Here is where I spend all my time:

This is the engineering building...called Loma Linda. I work on the 2nd Floor with architects, mechanical, electrical, and structural engineers. Other disciplines are also found in this building on the other floors. It is a pretty nice set up. Truthfully, the individual work spaces are actually a little nicer than my office in Portland...very open. My team gets together and cooks a meal together every week...about once a week. The other day a guy named Tom from Mississippi made gumbo for us. We were able to have the local nationals, LNs, that work in our building pick up some of the necessary item that we couldn't get from our DFAC. They were even able to find okra. The gumbo had shrimp, chicken, bacon, and some sausage that was HOT! It was pretty great. Families have shipped ingredients that can withstand the 3 week shipping time to us and we store them and then use them during our weekly meal time. I need to start thinking what I want to make to share...

We slave away here all morning long and then typically go across the street to Camp Eggers for lunch. There are a number of dining facilities, DFACs, at Eggers...but we typically go to the Goat. I have no idea why it is called the just is. For some reason, they seem to have the best food. It is weird, though, as I think most of the DFACs serve the same is just better at The Goat for some reason.

I've been getting a couple of questions about living conditions. As I mentioned before, the residence buildings are made from conex boxes stacked up. Conex boxes are metal shipping containers. Here is a picture of the back of the building in which I live. You can kind of tell where the edges of the containers are...that is our bedroom wall. I think I can add a picture of our room as taken from the door.

As you can see, the width of our room is exactly matches the length of a twin bed. I said "our" because almost everyone here has a roommate, conditions are pretty crowded. So in every room we have 2 beds, 2 wardrobes, 2 shelving units, 2 night stands, 1 desk with a computer with chair, and a fridge. I don't think that our fridge is even plugged in or not...but you can imagine that conditions are a bit cramped. Here is another picture of the backside of my building. You can see that each room has its own heat and a/c unit...that is what the little mechanical units are.
There are a bunch of these all over the is the lap of luxury in which everyone lives. I think we started working over here about 5 years ago and people have been coming and going from this base ever since. As this is not like a hotel, when people leave they don't send in a housekeeping crew to clean up their room. I don't think our room has been cleaned since Day 1. It was pretty gross. I wondered why Kristi stuck some Clorox wipes in my suitcase...but I'm glad she did...nice job wifer! It took 4 wipes just to clean the window area...totally gross.

Not surprising, though, as I was never promised 4 star accommodations...


  1. Really glad to see these pictures of where you live and work. It kind of looks like a lab with cages stacked up. Yes, please let us know what we can send to make it more like "home". Love, MOM

  2. Enjoying these little 'shorts' of yours, Kevin. Hopefully we'll get updates like this while Virgil's over there, too. Keep 'em coming! Take care, Terri

  3. Wow - I am totally impressed that you took the initiative to clean the place! It must have been really bad. Let me know if I can send you more clorox wipes :)