Strange homes, and homes for the homeless

Dances With Words - Nick Wolochatiuk

No matter where you are now living, and regardless of whatever kinds of cities, boonies or villages you have ever lived in, few, if any can match the ones we’ll visit this week.

I’ll start with the kind of residence mankind dwelt in before Home Depot, Guildcrest, Beaver Lumber and other such building suppliers and home builders came on the scene. Neanderthals and other early troglodytes had shelters fashioned without the benefit of circular saws, two-by-fours, concrete and bricks. They saw that bears and foxes took shelter in caves, so they did the same.

There is an eight-hundred year old cliff dwelling near Phoenix Arizona called Montezuma Castle. It’s 20 rooms in size, (not quite as big as Trump’s Mar-A-Largo). In China, there are thirty million people living in cave homes called ‘yaodongs’. Their winter and summer interior temperatures are moderated by being below ground. (If any of their settlements have temples with belfries, would they be called ‘ding-dong yaodongs’?)

Similarly, in Australia, the opal mining residents of Coober Pedy live underground in homesbuilt into caves or in old mineshafts. Despite extreme summer heat and chilling winters, their homes remain at a constant 23 degrees Celsius.

In today’s Sudan, a disastrous civil war has caused 9,100,000 of its citizens to become refugees living in make-do shelters. In Gaza, eight million Muslims have been displaced by Israel’s attempt to rout out and eradicate the Hamas terrorists trying to conceal themselves among the refugees. Each typhoon season, the population of poverty-stricken Bangladesh is almost matched by persecuted refugees from bordering countries! Oh, what a mess.


TOUCHING! – The reproduction on the teacup is slightly soft, but so is the scene. (Painting by Norman Rockwell)

I’ll finish off with a much smaller scale but very tender situation that came to me from an illustration on the tea cup I drank from at this morning’s breakfast. On one side is a touching father-daughter scene by Norman Rockwell.

On the other side of the tea cup is the story of “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter”. I quote excerpts: “She carefully mends a jacket that is nearly as old as she…Her father works hard so that his daughter can live a better life …she returns his love with uncompromising care and devotion.”

Can you imagine life in the isolation of a lighthouse?  A week, perhaps even a month: wonderful! A life? No way!

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