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Christmas in Zanzibar!

Zanzibar…  The land of mystery and exoticism, well in my mind anyway!  We arrive in Dar after a very long bus journey from Moshi.  Dar is hot and sweaty, feels like we have just stepped into a dusty, noisy sauna.  The opposite of relaxing.  The guidebook confidently states that there is little sightseeing to be done in Dar although it is good for souvenir shopping.  We are excited about visiting a large bookshop which has excellent reviews but after walking around for what seems like a sweaty eternity, we find a building site.  A passer-by duly informs us that that used to be the bookshop!  Oh well…  The kids spot a Kentucky Fried Chicken or was it a Burger King and we drag them away amongst cries of “it’s not fair” and “we are hungry”.  We tell them we did not come to Tanzania to eat junk food, what does that mean anyway?  I now feel that perhaps we ought to have let them have their fill of “Westernised” junk. They do not have the same appreciation for the local food, well, can’t say that I do either and secretly maybe I wanted a bit of junk food too…

Anyway, after a boat ride, we finally arrive in Stone Town.  Getting on the boat proves to be yet another sweaty endeavour.  People jostle to pass through the narrow passage that leads onto the boat and there is no personal space or polite “excuse me”.  We decide to come back VIP instead of economy.  A decision which will prove to be rather pleasant on our return.

Stone Town’s inner city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 and is a most unique and city. It is a blend of Moorish, Middle Eastern, Indian, and African traditions and architectures.  We spend quite a few hours winding through Stone Town’s labyrinthine alleys.  The atmosphere is amazing, it feels old, full of history.  In the alleyways there are children playing, women cooking, bicycles and motorbikes occasionally mean that you have to squish against the wall and there are hundreds of cats everywhere!

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For some history on Stone Town: http:/, also has some good photos of Stone Town.

I also recommend a very good book, The Last Slave Market by Alastair Hazell.

Finally it was time to make our way to Jambiani to see what all the fuss is about the beaches in Zanzibar.  Well, we were not disappointed!  We stayed in Stone House, a lovely house right on the beach and run by a most delightful couple, Peter and Eva.  Peter is originally from Zanzibar and Eva is Swedish and they were the perfect hosts, not only that but they love reggae so not only was I on a beautiful beach, I also had good reggae playing to help me sway with the coconut trees.  Sometimes, life is pretty good…  Jambiani is a long (very long) beach behind which is a long (very long) village.  The beach is used by the villagers to grow seaweed, to bury coconut shells, fishing and playing.  It is a lively and friendly place and it makes you feel like you could stay there forever.  A typical day includes breakfast looking out to sea, walks on the beach, a swim or two, lunch, sleep, walk, swim, dinner.  All this interspersed with the odd chat with the locals and a play with the local kids.  One of the most beautiful things was waiting for the tide to go out and then wade through the seaweed farms up to the beautiful, clear, blue pools where we would lie down and stare into the blue sky and blue sea.  Whilst lazing in one of these pools, I saw something floating, it was the most beautiful blue colour and for some bizarre reason I felt the need to pick it up.  It turned out to be a blue bottle jellyfish, a small one at that but nonetheless bloody painful.  So, children, do not pick anything that you see.  Although, sadly, I have not yet learnt this lesson as there are always many fascinating bugs and things I want to pick up!

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Whilst in Jambiani, we went to the Blue Lagoon where we snorkelled with hundreds of fish and visited other parts of the island.  Zanzibar is relatively small and we were able to go north and south where we saw forests, butterflies and more beautiful beaches.  On the 31st December, we watched the annual Dhow boat race in Jambiani.  The beach was teeming with people, women in colourful clothes, music and dancing and a very relaxed and festive atmosphere.  Being in Jambiani made me feel glad to be in Africa and I feel I could easily have stayed there for a long time.  We managed to eventually frag ourselves away back to Moshi.  Back to work.  Back to what is now our routine.

Since then we have acquired 7 chicks and one cat and we are waiting for the ducklings to hatch so we can being them home.  I feel like I am in the throws of starting an animal sanctuary of some sort and it seems like a marvellous idea.  Work remains elusive despite a promising job interview (I am still waiting to hear 3 weeks later!).  Maybe animals will fill the gap…  Geoff is happy, Joshua loved it and Marianne misses the shops in England!  I have a love/hate relationship with the place.  Some days are wonderful and the place is so beautiful and others everything feels like it is rubbing me up the wrong way.  A bit like England, I suppose….  Except I am never cold!  Oh and the smell of the frangipani trees is truly amazing, and I miss my good friends like crazy!

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I wonder what next….


Has it really been four months?!  How time flies…  It has been an interesting time.  First of all the excitement of coming and arriving, followed by utter bewilderment and confusion.  We are suddenly thrown into a strange country with a language we do not understand.  The roads are alien and made of dirt with no signs or directions; there is no postman/woman!  We can not find anything we need in the shops as they are all foreign to us, they seem to sell a mixture of odd things which do not make sense.  Where to buy food?  Where to buy paracetamol?  What about clothes pegs and soap powder and shampoo and a dish drainer and chicken or fruit…  Help!  We are lost and confused!  Slowly, slowly (polepole) the fog starts to clear, we find the things we need, it takes time and more time but we get there.  As someone told us, he was happy when he managed to achieve a task per day, I can relate to that.

The next stage is anger and frustration.  What the hell am I doing here?  Why did we come here?  Who are these people, they drive me mad!  Nothing makes sense, it is hopeless, no work, no friends, no nice food to cook with, no communication…  I feel desperate, alone, far from home and homesick.  I want my friends, my home, my cats, my oven but not my job!  What to do…  I fall into an abyss of darkness where I hate everything and everywhere, there is nowhere to run. I am trapped here, in Moshi, in Africa, in this house!  I cry and cry and go round in circles.

Until, one day I look outside and it is so beautiful.  The garden is green and lush, there are hornbills, kingfishers, and so many other birds I do not know, butterflies, lizards, bugs and the mountains in the background.  Sometimes Kili comes out and it is magnificent, some days it is covered in snow, some days the whole mountain is visible.  I start to appreciate my surroundings, the market, the fresh food, the mamas who chat to me even though they overcharge me!  Some words become understandable and the streets look more familiar.

Phew I think I am enjoying being here!  Some everyday photos of bugs and views.


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We make the odd day trip to surrounding areas and see some beautiful places.  Mataruti waterfall at 150 metres high is pretty impressive.  The walk itself is interesting going past smaller waterfalls and lots of waterways which are part of the irrigation system of the local farmers who grow coffee, bananas and many other fruits and vegetables.  The waterfall when we see it is beautiful, tall and majestic.  There is a small pool at the bottom and although the water is very cold, we swim and make it to the other side of the fall where there is a small cave where you can sit and look out onto the pool and the valley.  There are rainbows around the pool and so many birds… 

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The village is located at a height of around 1300 m (4300 ft) above sea level is set within a dramatic landscape of high rises and deep valleys, all covered by tropical rain forest.  The views are magnificent, you can see for miles and miles, savannah and mountains and the shimmering heat on the plains.  We sip a cold drink as we sit in a local bar.  They offer us banana wine which is disgusting and very strong.  Geoff likes it and is very merry on the drive back home!  I also try banana beer which is worse than the wine, it is banana juice mixed with fermented milled which floats in lumps in the beer.  It looks like sick!

One thing we have done on a few occasions is to take part in the Hash.  This is a circular walk of around 5 kms organised by local wazungus.  One particular wak was incredibly beautiful, we climbed up pretty high and got the most breathtaking views.  It is a good way to meet people although we seem to be slower than all the others and usually end up walking by ourselves. I tend to get distracted taking photos and talking to the local children to Geoff and the kids’s annoyance!

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The next chapter is Christmas in Zanzibar followed by maybe another safari.  We are planning on spending time in Dar Es Salaam, Stone Town and Jambiani beach.  The holidays are nearly 4 weeks so plenty of exploring time!  More to follow.


Yay it’s the holidays!!!

So the holidays finally arrived and after much deliberation on where to go we decided to hit the beach, the jungle and a safari park, we called this a compromise!  There are so many places we want to visit that choosing is not an easy task.  The problem is everything is so, so far and the roads are so, so bad…

Anyway, off we went to Amani Forest Reserve, up in the clouds, a veritable jungle, out in the sticks.  It was meant to be a stopover point on the way to the coast but the roads are bad and slow.  We had a puncture on  the way and after much searching decided we had no jack or spanner (in fact we found out that we did a few days later!).  Some kind souls took pity on us and sent for help from the next village.  We were left to wait by the side of the road pondering our fate and wondering if anyone was going to turn up, it was 5pm and it is pitch black by 6.30 and we were still a way from our destination.  Our rescuer came on a motorbike with the necessary tools and tyre was eventually changed.  Off we went to the mountains, driving most of the way by then in the dark without any idea which small tracks to take!  At one point, we found a man on the side of he road and he said he knew the way so he was invited to ride with us.  Not a good idea as it turned out he was drunk, took us to the wrong place and then a few other people tried to get into the car too.  We managed to drive off and continued on our blind drive.  Two and a half hours later we found the campsite, had dinner and put the tent up looking forward to waking up in the jungle to the sound of birds and going for a walk.  It poured with rain through the night and most of the next day so we were left with a soggy tent and a very muddy, slippery mountain road to drive down on!  Still, we look back on this with fondness and wonder if we will ever make it up there again…

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So off we carried on to Ushongo Beach which turned out to be a lot further than expected due to awful road conditions yet again.  Getting the puncture fixed turned out to be difficult due to power cuts so we had to drive out of our way to the next town to get this sorted before going onto the coast.  Once again we managed to arrive at our destination in the dark and woke up to heavy rain!  Ushongo Beach is a truly beautiful beach, lined with coconut and palm trees, white sand and the Indian Ocean.  It is also very quiet and we had the beach to ourselves for practically the whole week.  Ushongo itself is a traditional Swahili Muslim fishing village, its people little affected by tourism; theirs is a way of life apparently governed by the tides, their community spilling right out of their palm-leaf houses and onto the shore.  Ushongo  Beach is protected by three reefs although we did not go snorkeling this time, next time…  Some rain, some sun, swimming, nice food and plenty of relaxing with lots of time to ponder where we could go next!  During our stay we met the beach basket man on his bicycle and some school children who were fascinated by our binoculars, plenty of millipedes of varying sizes and a few weird jellyfish.

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From the beach we visited Pangani town across the river, Pangani became an important centre of the slave trade, shipping captives taken in the wars attendant on the collapse of the Shambaa kingdom in the Usambara mountains to the plantations of Pemba and Zanzibar.  After the Sultan of Zanzibar signed treaties with Great Britain outlawing the ocean-going trade in slaves in 1873, Pangani became a centre for smuggling slaves across the narrow channel to Pemba, in evasion of British warships.  I  have learnt all this by reading “The Last Slave Market”.  Although steeped in history, nothing much remains now and Pangani is a crumbling town!  it’s said to date back more than 1,000 years and to have long been a significant stop on the East African dhow route established by Arab traders.  More modest accounts peg its origins to the 15th century.  Pangani grew into a prosperous port connecting the inland caravan route from Lake Tanganyika to the sea; ivory and slaves left from here, while missionaries and explorers arrived here to begin their journeys inland.  The oldest building is the Old Boma (1810), built as the home of a well-to-do Omani trader who had slaves buried alive in the foundations, supposedly in order to strengthen them. Although the building was greatly modified by the Germans, it retains its original, handsomely carved wood doors.  Just a little bit of history to make it a little more interesting….

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So after relaxing on the beach, what better way to end the holiday than by going on safari with a tent and the trusty tank. Off we went to Tarangire National Park.  We camped just outside the park although this makes no difference as there are no fences and the animals can roam where they damn well please!  Tarangire is truly beautiful and it is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania.  It is famous for its large numbers of elephants, tree climbing lions and baobab trees.  On the way there you drive through the Maasai Steppe, the area dotted with Maasai villages, Maasai herders and a desolate landscape that seems to stretch out forever into the horizon.  The Maasai are gentle people and the women’s beadwork is truly amazing but that will be another blog…

The campsite was a dusty, very basic affair, at night it was pitch black which made toilet trips speak for quite scary!!!  The park itself is beautiful with breath taking scenery, amazing birds, hundreds of elephants, zebra and giraffe to mention a few.  We went to a posh lodge for a swim and admired the $500 per night views (cost for the 4 of us per night with a discounted residents rate – hence the camping!).  It is easy to drive around and made us realise how much safari companies must make!!  We spent one evening and a day in the park, see photos as themselves – it felt like being in a David Attenborough programme, we even saw a dead elephant being eaten by vultures.

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So we are now back home and back at work and school.  Life feels more settled here and we are finding where to buy food and be more comfortable.  We like the house and the garden and have acquired quite a few staff!  One cleaner and 4 gardeners, all local people who need money a jobs which is a good way to help them.  Life here is relaxed and laid back with few expectations.  Labour is cheap and there are plenty of people to help, staff carry your shopping basked in the shops, pack your shopping and take it to your car!  I feel I hardly have to do anything…  It is a very different way of life and it takes some getting used to but I shall leave that for another blog.


Rollercoater ride!

Going into the 7th week and I feel I have been on a high speed, scary rollercoaster ride!  Things are starting to feel a little more familiar but life here still seems a long way from what I am used to and I guess it will probably continue to feel this way.  The house is more homely and we are spending time improving the garden.  The garden is lovely and has beautiful views of the hills, and of Kilimanjaro in the evenings when the clouds clear and the sun is shinning on its snowy peak.  The house needs more furniture and more home furnishings but as they say here “pole pole” (slowly), it is getting there.

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Some days have been horrendous, I have hated it and have cried and have wondered why the hell I am here!!!  Other days I have felt I could stay here for quite some time.  It is such a shock and such a different world…  I have relaxed, read what feels like hundreds of books, cleaned, tidied, shopped and slept and am now ready for a change.  I have been offered two paid jobs which is extraordinary as really was not expecting it and was lead to believe that this would not be possible!  One is at the school, one day a week as a Volunteer Coordinator.  It is a new role and involves recruiting, supporting and monitoring volunteers who will run extra curricular activities.  I am in the process of designing how it is going to work and it is rather enjoyable but not particularly challenging.  The other job is full time but flexible and is for a charity.  They run two hostels where volunteers stay and my role will be to facilitate the recruitment, support, do the accounts and whatever else needs doing.  They have 20 projects in the area and over 50 volunteers so I will be busy and it should be interesting.  They also run a safari company so lots of insider info on safaris!!  The office is in their house, it is a small room overlooking a tempting pool which I am welcome to use when I get hot – I might get very hot on a regular basis!  They also give me toasted sandwiches for lunch.  So with both jobs we should be pretty comfortable and I shall not be bored at home anymore!  I am looking forward to meeting the volunteers and visiting the projects and maybe get involved in some safari stuff.  A bit different from social work, thank goodness!!

Geoff has been on a hardcore first aid course which covered snake bites, altitude sickness and all sorts of tropical stuff so there is no need to worry about such matters anymore.  Joshua continues to enjoy school and likes it here, Marianne is struggling a little but seems generally happy.  Our dog is growing well but is a useless guard dog despite the security guard’s attempts at making her more vicious.  Still waiting for pussycats…

So nothing much has happening until this weekend when we suddenly decided to take ourselves on safari!  And why not.  So picnic packed, off we went in the tank to Arusha National Park, about an hour’s drive from our house.  As we got close to the park entrance the car started billowing smoke and we had to stop in the wilderness.  After looking aimlessly into the engine for quite some time, we decided to fill the radiator and lo and behold the tank was happy once again!  We were warned that if you break down you just wait and someone will help you as there are no recovery services, as it was the very few passers by who walked by just stopped and stared at us!  We continued into the park where we had to fight to get past a bunch of guides at a very, very small ticket window.  it took over half an hour to buy the tickets but eventually we were in.  As soon as we drove in we spotted the elephants who apparently are not easy to see (not sure why as they are massive) but there they were!

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As we drove on we spotted Colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and many, many troupes of baboons.  It felt like being in a David Attenborough documentary.  Most animals were close to us and it was quiet and beautiful  It was great to go in our tank so that we could stop anywhere we wanted and for as long as we wanted.

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The last picture is not mine but shows what they look like!!

We carried on to the crater where buffalo were grazing and when it opened into savannah we saw the giraffes and zebras!

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Baby giraffe!

We ended with the huge lakes where thousands of pink flamingos are nesting at the moment.  Although this is not the biggest park it was extremely beautiful and very easy to drive around.

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The next day, Geoff and I went on a walk around the area where we live.  We got lost and ended up walking for a couple of hours.  We walked though a huge coffee plantation which slowly became more and more tropical opening onto fields of bananas and papaya trees and into a beautiful village.  We were treated like celebrities with people wanting to shake our hands and practice their English as well as many children who wanted to touch us!!  Very odd as we are used to walking about and being ignored…  And we saw these weird birds, anyone know what they are?!  They were rather large and sounded like small planes when they flew above our heads!

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More adventures to follow in a few weeks.  We are driving down to the coast in three weeks time and going via some mountains and villages.

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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Boxes and more boxes….

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Green old England

My house contents are slowly finding their way into boxes.  It is oddly liberating to see the things I have worked for, spent money on and cherished for years being “locked” away in their cardboard homes, taken to charity shops, put outside the house or taken to the “dump”, now more delicately called the Civic Amenity Site.  I find it rather amusing that once you dump your stuff there it no longer belongs to you and you are no longer allowed to remove it!  I once tried to take an old scooter only to be told I was stealing and the police would be called.  Anyway, I digress…  Boxes are packed, house is bare except from the bare essentials and the one remaining cat who seems happier the other cats are no longer here.  I for one, miss their furry presence and am wondering what sort of furry or buggy friends I may acquire in Tanzania.  It is peculiar the things that I think I will miss.  I think about the verdant hills and the lush green forests, tea bags, the food choice but above all friends.

Goodbyes have been sad but mostly fun.  Some pics:

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Today is the day we move out and the last three weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster of emotions.  Saying goodbye to people is no fun, plenty of tears and hugs and nice meals.  Everything seems to make burst into tears, a kind word, a nice card, a hug….  The excitement of a new place, of new opportunities, adventures, a new language, unknown foods and roads give me butterflies.  What new insects will I see?  Where will I visit?  Who will I meet?  Can’t wait!!!  But them this sadness and heaviness of leaving the familiar, the nice family home which is now no longer “ours”, rehoming the cats, selling belongings…  Like being on a seesaw, up and down, up and down.  This time next week, internet permitting, I shall be sat on my hammock chair writing about the new place.

Now for the final push of packing, cleaning, painting…


What a mess!


More mess!



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