Saturday, November 10, 2012

Children of Mwadui

On Thursday while I photographed the giant baobab in our street for my Skywatch Friday meme, I heard children's voices coming from the village plain nearby. I crept through the hedge and saw a group of boys ranging from about five years to teenagers. They were kicking a home-made ball. This ball is made up of several plastic shopping bags and tied up with string. A poor substitute for the real thing but they were having fun with it anyway! 

I dashed back home, came inside to collect one of several soccer balls which I have handed out in Shinyanga and at the dam in the past. On my way back into the street, I called my Askari Edward to come with me and explain that the children should share the ball with each other.  As I threw it to the tallest boy, he began to dribble it around with the others jostling for a turn!   
  The young boys happily engaging in kicking a real soccer ball around the park

I noticed that one of the very small lads was hanging around the edge of the group. So I asked Edward to explain to the children that they should give him a chance to play too. When I focused the camera again, I saw that Edward was kicking the ball to the little boy who was kicking it back!
Edward in orange to the right of the photo , kicks the ball towards the little boy standing with legs splayed!
And he kicks the ball back to Edward!

Edward and I walked back home chatting about how such a small thing as a real,  new ball, can give so much fun to the children. Just then Grant arrived home and Edward ran to open the gate for him. I stayed outside to photograph the baobab down the street.

As I lowered my camera, I saw a young woman walking up the street with a baby girl in her arms and a little girl following her. As she drew near, the baby girl waved her arm and called: "goodbye" in English! I greeted them all, asking the little girls their names. Their mother prompted first, the child she was carrying, who told me her name was Karen. Then when she turned to the little girl next to her, she told me she was Catherine. Just then Busta, the dog, barked from beyond our gate and little Karen grew wide-eyed and pointed towards the sound saying: mbwa/dog. I told her that she need not be afraid, as Busta couldn't get out into the street.  Soon this precious little family said goodbye and went on their way. 

Yesterday morning I walked up to the client's compound and took photos of birds in the beautiful big trees there. Of course, my friends, Amanda and Tilla are out on leave so I popped into their guest house and had a chat with the chefs. 

Walking back to my house I spotted three little girls walking towards me. I stopped and asked their names. The oldest one told me she was Diane. Just then I recognized the other two little girls and asked them if they were Catherine and Karen. The smallest one, walking now and dressed in a chiffon party dress, was the first to say ndiyo/ yes,  she was Karen. When I asked Diane where they were off to, she said to the hospital to see their mother. I asked if she was ill but Diane said no, their mother is a nurse. After asking if they'd pose for a photo, which they did giggling together, I bid them goodbye and watched them walk up the road
  Three little girls in Mwadui; from left: Karen, Catherine and Diane
 After a spate of giggles, the girls finally look forward

As this post is aired this morning, I'll be on my way to Mwanza with two cats in travel cages. Ginger and Ambrose have never been microchipped which is necessary for when we eventually go back to SA permanently. My friend, Nsia is flying from Mwanza to Arusha to meet up with husband, Rob who is doing business there. She also needs to see the specialist. I invited her to come along with me and after we've done with the vet, William and I will take her to the airport. 

I have never used a vet in Tanzania and sincerely hope that the one I have been referred to, is as good as Dr Shah was in Eldoret, Kenya. I will soon tell (and so will the cats! LOL!) 

 To familiarize the lads with tomorrow's plans, after Edward had washed and aired two of our three travel cages, I put each cat's favourite toy inside and a sprinkling of catnip. The cages have been on the floor and all three (Shadow included, although he'll not be going along) have been inside, sniffed around while Ambrose even fell asleep in his cage for a couple of hours.  
 Ginger, our cat with a massive Cattitude, relaxes beside his cage. (Doesn't his expression just say: "make me!" ) I think he sniffed around inside  when I wasn't watching!
 Ambrose peers towards his cage while Shadow carries on sleeping

While in SA during September, we bought two Identipet Microchips from our vet in the city. Although I can administer the rabies shots and other inoculations, I balk at trying to insert these huge needles into my cats' necks. This is a job for the professionals and by the time I return from Mwanza later today, I will know whether  I can trust this vet and be able return again for the cats' annual shots early next year.

 The microchips which will be inserted into Ginger and Ambrose this morning

I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.


  1. How great to hear more about the local children. They sound so precious.

    Your cats are treated so well by you and I'm sure they give you a lot of wonderful companionship. I'm wondering why Shadow won't be going along to SA. Are you planning to leave the other two cats there when you return and let Shadow keep you company until you leave Tanz for good? I'm sure by the time you leave, your cats will be very comfortable in their cat cages. It will help them a lot for the long journey ahead. I know how difficult it is for cats to travel.

  2. Have a safe trip, Jo!! Glad you're able to take the cats!!

  3. Jo, you are such a generous and kind-hearted woman. I bet those boys were tickled pink to receive a new soccer ball. Your cats all look so healthy and content. I hope you find an excellent vet to insert the microchip into your cats.

    I've backed way off from blogging so much because I found it was taking up far too much time due to our slow and sporadic internet connection. I was starting to feel like a slave to it, almost addicted to it.

    On Tuesday (13 November) we're leaving for SoCal to babysit Nathan & Cori's two little boys for 10 days. Then we'll be home for 2 days, and then we're off to Israel for a 15-day tour, back home on 12 Dec. So I'll have over 2 weeks of no blogging. We're really looking forward to the tour of Israel.

  4. I didn't realize you live in such a busy neighborhood. The girls looks so very pretty in their colorful dresses. Good luck with the cats and have a great weekend.

  5. Hi Jo, it was nice to see the boys playing with the ball you gave to them. And the girls in their dresses look so pretty. I hope everything goes well with your kitties at the vet. Have a safe trip and a great weekend!

  6. You seem to make friends everywhere, Jo. The kids are so cute and sweet. Sad that those boys didn't have a real ball to play with. I'm glad you were able to provide a soccer ball. No doubt they'll remember that gift for a long time.

  7. When I read your post and what joy these kids had with a simple ball, I think how spoiled ours are, they have so many toys they don't even know with what to play ! It's not right !
    The three little princesses are also very cute ! Have fun with your cat transport !


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