Long time, no see…

Yes, it has been a dry season for blogging.  Don’t ask me why…  I have started and deleted many times, it just never seemed quite right.  So after a few months of prevarication and indecision here I am again with some new adventures and stories.  The last few months have gone by quite uneventfully, on the surface at least.  Day to day life goes by.  I have felt frustrated, elated, excited, bored, disappointed and confused (to mention but a few) about being in Tanzania.  Should we stay another two years?  Should we move elsewhere?  One thing we are certain of, going back to the UK is not something we are happy to consider so at least there are only two choices to be made.  I was reading how having too many choices can lead to anxiety.  It made me think how in the West we have so much choice and little necessity whilst here we have so much necessity and so little choice.  Having less choice has been frustrating but it has made life simple and easy.  Anyway, we finally made a decision and we are moving to Bangkok in August.  It is rather exciting but also scary given that we will be back in the world of many, many choices.

On another hand life here can be funny as logic and rationale as we know it does not apply.  I ordered 2 fish at a local restaurant, waiter comes back and tells me there is only one, how many do I want?  Puzzled by his question, I reply, well, just the one then.  He returns later to let me know that there is no fish so does that mean I want one less steak?  We did get food eventually!

My favourite is the spice buying at the supermarket.  This is a rather long story so I have shortened it for everybody’s sake.

Me I would like to buy 50g of cumin. Assistant It says 100g on the ticket so we can only sell 100g. Me Well, you can weight any amount and the machine will give you the price.  Assistant The scales can not do that.  Me Please just try it.  Assistant Not sure as it is not the shops’ policy to sell less than 100g. Me Please…..  Assistant Ok then.  Very surprised when it works until I ask for another 50g of something else and so on…

We got fined by traffic police (happens all the time) for overtaking on a straight road with no markings.  Apparently the police decided that it was dangerous and that we were breaking Tanzanian law.  When queried, the policeman got extremely irate and proceeded to yell at us threatening to tow our car away and leave us stranded.  Sometimes it is just easier to pay the fine!

Anyway, speaking of choices, another choice I have made has been to train to become a Primary School teacher.  I have been involved with the school here and been helping with the Early Years class.  I have really been enjoying this and so in September I will do a PGCE in Bangkok.  We will both be able to work and I will finally have a job.  Am rather excited about this new venture.

Well, so what has been happening?  There have been walks on the hills and countryside, some more scary than others but always very beautiful.  The walks go everywhere, there is no health and safety which makes for very beautiful views and very steep drops.

Geoff went flying on a scary plane which was made of tin and cloth and I wondered if that was how I was going to become a widow!  Luckily he returned very happy and excited with his new adventure.

The last four months at the school have been rather fabulous as I managed to recruit 4 volunteers that were totally amazing and became friends.  It was a time of companionship and laughter and I am sad to start the new year without them here.  Thank you Shaheen, Kevin and Julian who have now left to pursue new adventures.  Geerte remains here for a little while longer and hopefully more volunteers will arrive this month.  Fingers crossed.  In October we also went to Kenya for 10 days as it is cheaper over there in general.  We rented a beautiful house with a pool and were very excited to be able to buy cheese and cured meats at the local supermarket.  Everyday was a veritable feast of cheese and meat with lovely breads.  I have never been so excited to go to a supermarket even though we had to be checked for bombs every time we when shopping!

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Miss you Shaheen!

 

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Julian and Shaheen – come back!

 

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And the multi talented Kevin who always made me laugh!

So Kenya was interesting but a little edgy with all the terrorist checks.  Driving through Mombassa was a nightmare of chaos and traffic.  It took us three hours to drive through and to queue for the ferry.  We later found out that there had been a stampede on the ferry and people had got hurt.  It was quite unpleasant so arriving at Diani beach was very relaxing indeed.  Sadly and unknowingly, we set our camera to a weird low quality setting so all our photos of Kenya are rather weird!  We relaxed and Marianne went riding on the beach on a massive ex-polo horse which she loved.  Go Maz!!

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Posing beach Maasai

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And for some randomness now:

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Tanzanian Clown Doctors!  Really was not expecting to find them here….  I worked for the Clown Doctors charity in London so it was great to see they are taking over the world.

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Drinks at the illustrious Moshi train station

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Now they tell me!

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Dead chameleon

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Wood stall

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Clothes stall

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Dead squirrel

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There are 2 bins in Moshi

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Joshua back down from the Mountain

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Still no idea what this road block is for…

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Let us pray

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Breadfruit

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Weekly shopping at the market

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I hope this gives you all a glimpse of our exciting life in Tanzania!  It has certainly been a rollercoaster so far and some days we are happy as pie and chips and others we hate it and wonder what on earth we are doing here.  Maybe we are just very unbalanced people…

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Amazing how much you can carry on a bike!

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This is our favourite place.  The derelict train station, there is a shack for drinks and a view of the mountain.

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I think he is in for a long wait….

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Geoff showing Joshua how to use a napkin

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Colobus monkey

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Oh no, we were not!

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Clear enough

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Marangu waterfalls in the rain, rather steep and slippery but beautiful

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Local shop, sadly it was closed…

Here we are then, that is our last few months up to December.  I will post a new Xmas blog very shortly with new adventures and photos of elephants.  I miss you all and look forward to seeing you soon, my dearest friends.

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