Friday, December 19, 2014

Askari dogs' assembly point

This past week Michael and I have done a spot of gardening. I'd had  hibiscus, a couple of lemon trees, and other shrubs in pots so it was merely a matter of digging holes, adding compost (we have a rich stash already this summer) and filling the hole with water. Then Michael removes the plant from its pot, places its new home, covers with ground and stamps it down. 

Of course, this is all relatively simple except that in our garden Michael had to contend with five very inquisitive pups sniffing and tugging at everything with Unca Nando and Mama Princess tails-wagging, tongues lolling and nosing in as much as possible. 

No sooner had he completed the last task when Princess and the pups took up their positions around a flamboyant sapling Michael had planted near the gate. He said to me, "Look Bibi, Askari Assembly Point! " Our askaris/gate guards regularly meet at an assembly point where they're put through their paces, refreshing their tactics. 
Princess, head Askari dog and her team 

Bibi - right and Colonel at her tail, had a hard night of guarding the property! Msichana Neusi (behind Bibi) checks up that the tree is growing properly

Michael and I are teaching the dogs not to jump up. I showed him how to flick a pup on the nose , which hurts just enough for it to know that what it had just done caused this slight pain.  In the video clip below you'll hear Michael saying: "Don't jump" and on one thumbnail, his normally soft, friendly countenance was most stern as he pushed his hand - palm downwards - and said: "Down!" 

As I focused specifically on Princess, I realized that the day the pups celebrated their third-month birthday, Princess had been with us exactly one year. For those readers who don't know Princess' tail  er - tale - see here.

This time of the year is normally one of retrospection. I think of projects undertaken (as this post is aired, I'm at Amanda's home in the client camp, helping her and other expat ladies make up parcels for the Christmas party being held at Buhangija Center for Blind and Albino children in Shinyanga tomorrow) and various other tasks we've supported Marita in. One of my most successful has that of raising confident and obedient dogs in our care. 

Princess has become a beautiful, adult and loyal dog and one who will not lapse again (LOL); her pups are such a pleasure to have around (yes, even five boisterous little tykes) and Nando? Well, with Nando it's just heart-warming to watch how another dog has fitted in and responded so well to the love and attention shown him here at House No 2!


Precious grandchildren...

On Tuesday evening as I was preparing dinner, my Skype phone rang. 

I answered and was thrilled to see oldest granddaughter and -son, Eryn and Joshua. We chatted across the kilometers between Tanzania and their home in South Africa. Grant stood behind me and while we spoke, four-year-old Elijah popped into view. He shouted "Hallo Granddad" with great gusto. They were most excited as their dad was due home next week; just after Christmas they're all traveling by Landcruiser to their other home in Mozambique. We asked them where their sisters Bethany (five-and-a-half), baby Kerren (eight months old) and brother, Israel, two-and-a-half, were;  they were told their were being bathed by their mama. Then the signal faded and we all said goodbye. 

I 'd just returned to the kitchen when my Skype phone rang again. I returned to my desk and answered. It was Israel - he's the two-and-a-half-year-old ! With his sweet face upside down up against the Skype camera, he shouted: "Hello Granddad!" 

Grant came back to the computer and chatted to Israel. Next minute Baby Kerren appeared (Obviously Eryn was holding her) and as Grant and I both called out her name, she gazed at the screen! 
Baby Kerren with Irael on the right of the screen and Elijah in the background! 

Beautiful baby Kerren with her gorgeous blue eyes and casual Israel sitting alongside! 

Finally we all said goodbye; the children promised to Skype often, especially from Mozambique. In the ensuing silence, Grant and I looked at each other and in one voice said: 

"Now that was lovely!" 

Here's wishing you all a happy Friday. 

Summer skies over the Doctor

Dr Williamson, founder of Williamson Diamond Mines, Mwadui

 I always enjoy a visit to the statue which is a few meters from my home. Yesterday the brooding clouds above the memorial made for beautiful photography

For more sky shots please click here