Dear Friends,

This is Lakshmi and Leila, we take care of the house of Madame Marta in the United Arab Emirates. Since we are in charge of the house and take care of Madame and Mr. Hans when they are at home, we asked to also be in charge of the 'at home' private page on the website. Here is a photo of us, Leyla on the left, Madame in the middle, and Lakshmi on the right.

A little about our house: It's a one-story bungalow with 5000 square meter garden, which really keeps Mohamed, our gardener, busy... as you can imagine! There is a 2 meter high wall all around the property, as is customary in the UAE. And when we open the double gates in the morning, we look out to the beach and the open sea beyond, which is the Arabian Gulf.

When we first moved in there was no garden at all. Mr. Hans had to remove 80 cm of sand out so we could bring in proper soil for planting. A big truck delivered this and dumped it in front of our gates which then, with some hired day-workers, we spread carefully through all the garden area. This took 3 days and we drank a lot of water!

Then we had to let that settle for a week before bringing sacks of chicken-poo to mix in as fertilizer (this works the best here in the desert). Then with a special hoe we laid the lawn seed for the whole area in front of the house. In back we created 3 neat rows for planting our vegetable garden, which we are very proud of. We have been growing our own eggplants, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes and potatoes. We tried to plant broccoli because Madame loves it so much, but out of 50 plants we only got 3 bunches.

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