Living in a Seychellois House

For a number of years between our African journeys, we returned to the Seychelles. For a year or so, we stayed in a more traditional house. It was on stilts, with a series of steep steps leading to the front door. The windows did not have any glass, but only mosquito netting that did not actually work to keep out the clouds of moustiques that invaded especially during the evening. The house had a corrugated iron roof and the ceiling was asbestos (yes, you heard right). Outside the front door was a huge breadfruit tree that provided for all our starch needs, and if we had been so inclined, we could have walked down to the beach every day, thrown a line in the water and pulled our meals from the sea. As it was, we went to the grocery store...

I loved living in that house, asbestos ceiling and all. I remember the sounds on the roof most of all. Breadfruits would drop down with an explosive bang that made us jump for the first little while, but which we soon got used to.

The other sound was the rain. In Seychelles, rain showers come suddenly and violently and end just as quickly. I remember the sound of the rain thundering on the roof, the coolness of the air, and that indescribable feeling of being safe inside. It's one thing to watch the rain falling from within our insulated, double-paned windowed Canadian homes. It is cozy, but one feels distant from the downpour. It is entirely another matter, however, to experience a sudden equatorial rainstorm when the windows are open and the sound echoes unimpeded through the roof--immense, thunderous, as if the vaults of heaven are being opened and the world is about to be swept away in another Great Flood.


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