I'm settling into a really nice house that I've rented for 6 months. Why 6 months? Because in Tanzania, it's customary to demand 6 months' rent in advance when you sign a lease with a renter. Never mind all the credit checks and security checks and cleaning deposits--just get all the money upfront and no worries for the landlord. When I was a Peace Corps volunteer (waaaay back when), I would have killed for this nice a house. I have a combination sitting room/dining area, a kitchen, bathroom, three bedrooms including a master with second bath, an outdoor sink behind the kitchen, and a fabulous front porch with a view of Mt. Meru. All for about $225 per month. I have electricity with a pay-in-advance system in which you preload the meter. We already ran out once--still getting the hang of it! The electricity does go out a lot, sometimes for a few hours. It doesn't matter all that much. I have a good fluorescent lantern with rechargeable battery that lights up the place pretty well. The climate is such that it's comfortable without either air conditioning or heat. And I bought a stove that has three gas burners (from a 17 kg tank that you take to the petrol station and refill) and one electric burner. So I'm covered if the power's out, or if I forget to prepay for the electricity, or if I let the gas run out! The house has running water, which also goes out frequently in parts of Arusha. But we're covered for that, too, with a tank system that holds a large lower tank of reserve water that we can pump to an upper tank by the flip of an electric switch. Hmmmm....what if the upper tank goes dry when the power's out? Didn't think of that before!
The house is in a group of 6 quite new houses, all the same. There's a block wall around the whole development. You come in through the main gate, attended by a Maasai security guard, and enter an alley with 3 houses on each side. Each house has its own compound with its own gate. It's built in an open area with some farms still around, but just up the road is a whole neighborhood of huge houses in walled compounds.