Archive for ‘August, 2014’

Four weeks on today…

Feels like I have been here a long time!  Our stuff arrived and it has been unpacked; the house is so big it has made no dent in all the space we have though.  It is not easy to find “stuff” for the home and we have searched high and low, maybe it is time to go pay a visit to the next big city where apparently there are more shops and more choice.  Moshi is small; I drove the tank into town to get used to the car and managed to drive pretty much around most of the town.  It went well until I drove the wrong way up a street and found myself surrounded by men banging on the car, asking for money and some putting their hands through my open window.  I have not been back into town on my own since then on my own!!  Walking about was ok but got harassed by men rather a lot, not used to this attention back in the UK!

One weekend we explored with the tank and got a puppy dog from an English guy who is here rescuing dogs.  All his dogs were puppies and black bar two who came as a pair.  So, we took a black puppy and she is great fun although loves eating our shoes.  I know little about dogs but it compares to having a toddler; she wants attention, damages things and is always hungry.

DSCN0494 DSCN0492 DSCN0491 WP_20140817_008 We woke up to find the dog had gathered our shoes and chewed some…  She loves shoes and runs off with them at any opportunity!


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The countryside we saw was beautiful.  Someone asked if I had had the chance to go off road yet – well, most roads are off road here apart from the odd main road, it is more the degree of off road I would say rather than off road per se.  Still, good to have a tank we can throw around and drive through roads which would be completely impassable in our little Ford Focus.

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Geoff trying to work out if a chicken house will suit the dog!


The school is great too.  I have run two cookery clubs now and it was good fun.  The kids love it and so far the cakes/cookies have been edible.  I am planning on helping out the SENCOs at the school too and help with Brownies which fills me with dread but not as much dread as being stuck in the house!  So all in all I am busy in a nice chilled out way.  The garden gets much enjoyment from the kids and I am trying to explain to the gardener how to make a pond, so far this is not going so well.  He thought I wanted a swimming pool…  Maybe we should go for that…  My gardening skills are proving to be as crap as in the UK.  All the herbs I have tried to grow showed promise but have now died – I know, it is my fault, forgot to water them!!


It was also suggested that we visit Melinda’s place which we duly did.  Nice road!  On arrival we were greeted by an enormous house with a huge garden all built to very much look like a colonial estate!  We had tea and cake on the lawns (at ridiculous prices), served by staff and surrounded by plenty of expats and we left not in a hurry to return.  Melinda is a very pleasant (and very rich) Dutch woman who imports all sort of food so expats can dine in style at high prices.  I guess I am not yet ready to enter this world….

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Last weekend we went to Lake Chala, a crater lake in a caldera on the borders of Tanzania and Kenya.  Beautiful scenery, tranquil and peaceful; African vastness all around.  The lake is good for swimming and there is a debate on whether or not there are crocodiles but we did not see any and are all in one piece so if there are any they were not hungry when we visited!

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We recently went to the vet for the dog and found all these creatures roaming about…  A wild cat, a monkey, a jackal, a marabou stork and a massive tortoise!

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And Kili put in a rare appearance!

So much red dust and so many ants…

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Above are pics of the road from our house to the school and one of town.  Our corner shop which is mainly closed but sells fresh cow milk, really fresh!  And the river which is a few yards from our gate.

After a long plane journey we finally arrived in Moshi looking frazzled and dazed but happy to be greeted by warm sunshine and beautifully coloured birds.  We eventually got dropped at our house where we met our friendly gardener Daniel who looks after what I now call “the park”.  The “park” is lovely with red earth and various trees including a HUGE jacaranda, can’t wait for it to flower – one of my favourite trees.  The house is very spacious and as you gathered the garden is massive.  We have three bedrooms one with ensuite and a walk-in wardrobe and another bathroom with a shower which is where our front door is, so if you were to come in via our front door you may encounter one of us either in the shower or on the toilet!  The back door fortunately opens onto a veranda which I have named the “chicken coop” as it is surrounded by something akin to chicken wire.  We will remove that in due course.  Nothing works properly, the hot water is mainly cold and the taps are falling off, the toilets and the drains smell on and off but we like it here.  The space is great and the rent is $50 per month so what is there to be unhappy about?

We are in Shanti Town which is the posh part of town.  All the roads are colourful red dirt roads and there are various large houses with gardens and guards around.  I have not seen other parts of town yet but am told that this part has the best roads!  Not much wildlife here apart from many butterflies, lizards of various shapes, sizes and colours and birds.  The birds are stunning with vivid colours, blues, yellows, long tails and pigeons.  Apparently there used to be a lot more birds but they get killed for food.  There are also a lot of ants which I am waging a war against and am loosing miserably.  Trails and trails of ants come into the house from all orifices unknown to us.  They are tiny ants, slightly red and they get everywhere.  Here goes one on the laptop screen as I type…  One in my tea this morning, one on the bed as I was reading but the majority seem to prefer the kitchen.  Leave a crumb on the worktop and you are doomed!  There are a few little jumping spiders in the house too.  The gardener told me that the previous tenant found a black snake in a kitchen drawer which has now make me slightly nervous every time I open a drawer.

I brought lots of seeds with me and gave them to the gardener, he was happy and promptly planted them all in together so now I have no idea what is what!  They are already sprouting and I wonder what they all are… Glad I kept some back to plant later.  Daniel is a sweet man who tries hard to teach me Swahili, something which I am struggling with, as soon as I learn a word it slips from my mind almost immediately!

We also have a night security guard and two weekend gardeners!  Plenty of padlocks and window bars and cannot walk about after dark, common fare in Africa but it will take some getting used to, I am never alone in the house!  I am also regularly asked if I want a Dada (maid), I think having someone else about would be too much and how would I entertain myself if I had no housework to do?!  I was mildly tempted after I found out that any washing hung out to dry can get mango fly.  Mango fly has nothing to do with mangos, it is not a worm either.  It is a maggot of a fly that hatches its eggs in damp clothes and places with strong smells.  You wear the clothes, the eggs hatch into larvae which burrows into your skin.  You then squeeze the larvae out of your skin!  One way to prevent this is by ironing EVERYTHING!!!  I have found that if I dry clothes inside the veranda I do not have to iron. There are plenty of other ailments but maybe I will reveal one at the time.

Town is non eventful, dusty and about 4 kms away from the house.  It is like India but a little less manic.  The local market is great for fresh locally grown fruit and veg, it helps to know the numbers which I am struggling to master, does not bode well….  Meat and fish are hard to come by so we have turned a little vegetarian eating rice and beans which are plentiful and varied.  There are western type shops which are expensive but good for Nutella and granola.   The school is lovely and Geoff and the kids are happy; they are all at school now and seem to be settling in well.  The school have been welcoming and friendly and have arranged social events which have been really good.  I have somehow been drafted to run a primary cookery club at the school and am being chased to help with Brownies which I am resisting.  Cookery club I am happy with except they have no equipment and I have an oven which looks like it has come out of a dolls house!  I have offered to be a mentor to children who are struggling and need to arrange to meet someone in town for possible work in an NGO to work in a micro financing project with women.  Fingers crossed.  I could stay at home but being a housewife does not agree with me!

We have just bought an old Land Cruiser, affectionally christened by me as “the tank”.  It is like a tank, very old and slightly falling apart and it is huge!  We are waiting for it to be delivered and I am too scared to drive it as I fear I may maim half the population.  Something to get used to, I guess.  Once I get the tank I will be able to drive about scaring the locals (and myself) instead of being housebound.  Transport is erratic and taxis are abundant but cannot really afford to keep getting taxis and it makes me feel more of a colonialist!

Still trying to get connected but everything here takes time (a long time!) and people generally do not turn up when they are supposed to turn up, so who knows…  I tap into the internet at school when I wander in and hang around corners looking shifty on my phone but apart from that, I am cut off from the world, no phone number, no internet, no TV.  It feels rather liberating!

Below is our house, and garden and our street name.

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And photos of the school

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And pics of town and bits (chicken coop veranda) and the “tank”

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