Saturday, March 31, 2012

Now this...

... is more like the life I know in East Africa!

On Monday evening we met up with friends, Andre and Amanda who work for the diamond company and whom we've gotten to know and like over the past eight weeks. We headed out of camp towards a large dam beyond town (the one which supplies all our water) to watch the sun go down and enjoy refreshments and each other's company at the old yacht club.
I was thrilled to see several rocky outcrops along the way. Grant stopped so that I could get photos!

First they took us on a tour along another huge dam further along. When we stopped on the dam wall, Amanda took out a box of goodies she'd  brought along for the smaller children living nearby. The first child, a young girl, just wouldn't approach Amanda even though she was holding out a gift. Then a small boy arrived, took the parcel and dashed off along the wall to show his family living on the other side of the dam. A few more youngsters arrived to whom Amanda handed out gifts of handmade pencil cases filled with school stationery, rulers, toffees and small toys.
The dam, wall and Amanda handing out gifts to the local children

Driving through a small village, we stopped while Amanda handed out clothes for the older children and more gifts for the little ones.
In the top two images Amanada is handing out clothes to youths on bicycles. The next images show the little ones in the village;  I just LOVE the little face peeking out behind the yellow shirt in the bottom left photo!

Then we drove back towards the yacht club. Here we had a score of little children who came to enjoy sodas which Grant and Andre bought from the barman, Adam.
Andre calls the children who came running as they saw the Mzungus!

The local children run towards the club for a treat of sodas and gifts!

Adam got the children into line while his assistant hands out the sodas

Some of the older children lean on the railing and enjoy their sodas near the Mzungu table!

A very tiny person with a large soda and toy tractor, made by Amanda. When I asked "nini" (what)  that was in his left hand, he said "GARI" (vehicle)

Amanda gave Adam the remaining gifts and asked him to hand them out

Afterwards the children came to the men and thanked them for the zawaidi (gifts) and sodas.  Then they went home, wherever that may be.

We then sat and enjoyed ...
... a spectacular sunset over the dam
And, later...
...watched a sickle moon rise over the water

*Sigh* What a lovely outing!

While this post is aired, we're flying from Dar to Johannesburg and then to Bloemfontein. I hope to log on again this evening and say hello to you all from our home.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Our day in Dar Es Salaam

The Seacliffe Hotel where we're staying (Google image)

Grant and I are in Dar es Salaam between flying in from camp en route to Johannesburg and ultimately home. We had to stay over today to fill our appointments at the British High Commission in order to apply for UK visas, These are for a hotel later this year (June). We were on time, the officials at the British High Commission were professional, punctual and very helpful. I went first, and a few minutes later it was Grant's turn. After the electronic fingerprint and eye photo identification, Grant paid the amount required and the clerk behind the screen said we could collect our passports and visas on 18 April.


Grant told the clerk we had to have our passports today as we're flying out to SA tomorrow morning early. So everything had to be cancelled, the money credited and our passports returned to us. We have another appointment in Dar on Tuesaday 10 April at 8am. I believe that we will finally be issued with our UK visas.

Hope you're all having a wonderful day and a great weekend to everyone.

PS I have many photos of my own and will soon post about our day/stay in this vibrant and modern East African city!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Off on a short break

Today we're travelling out of camp to Mwanza, the second largest city in Tanzania. From there we fly to Dar Es Salaam on the first leg of out short break out to South Africa. This afternoon, once we're booked into our hotel overlooking the sea, I'm taking a taxi into town. I need to buy cat food for our babies back in Mwadui. If I find the right products, I'll arrange for the next company truck travelling to the mine, to drop off the cases I buy. Our cats -  rescue, every one - are very fussy and it's been an endless battle to find them suitable food in Tanzania.

On Friday morning Grant and I have appointments with the British Embassy in Dar. We're applying for a visa to visit the UK in June.

In between I hope to catch up on my Internet banking, e-mails and of course, blogging.

On Saturday morning early we catch the first flight out to Johannesburg, South Africa. We connect with the domestic flight to Bloemfontein at 11.30 and just after midday we arrive in our favourite city. Another hour-and-a-half's drive to out home in the country where we meet out newest granddaughter ,Abby and become reaquainted with two-year-old grandson Joel.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Saree for Madam Grant

Image: Google

Yesterday the Indian men working for Grant brought me a gift. A genuine Indian Saree. I remember wearing a saree to a function when Grant and I were first married. It needed an Indian lady to help me to put it on. I will have to find one in Shinyanga to do this as there are none here in Mwadui.

I still have very erratic Internet (which I hope will be sorted out by mid-April) and thank all who continue to visit my blog and leave comments. I will be visiting you all in the not-too-distant future.

I hope you're all having a wonderful week.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Indoor cat play

Cat activity on the indoor tree...

Shadow rubs his scent on the box of his choice

 Ambrose jumps up and inspects his box...
...and decides he has a better view from the windowsill

While Ginger contemplates life at the bottom of the tree

For more on other pets, click here

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tomatoes in transit

Travelling to Mwanza to do a monthly shop this week, I was fascinated by the cyclists with baskets of vegetables, mainly tomatoes. Every bicycle we passed carried tomatoes. I, for one, love tomatoes: to eat, to cook with, to make a salad or sandwich. Tomatoes are a good basis for many recipes and I always buy at least 5kg per week, and, believe it or not, we normally run out before next market day!


and more tomatoes!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A doll

Our newest little granddaughter, Abby Kate Hedges in her dolly's carrycot. Photo Amanda Hedges (Facebook) 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Handsome lad, excellent dad

While I was growing up, battery chickens were still in the future; we had real live chickens on the yard with fresh eggs for breakfast and our chicken dinners were wholly organic long before the phrase was coined.

Arriving at our house at Mwadui, I found an adult rooster with a young cockerel and pullet in tow.  I've subsequently posted about the chickens which hatched here in my yard and also in the Guest House chicken run. I brought the latter across to enjoy the freedom of my garden rather than grow up in a chicken coop.

We now have three hens with 23 chickens between them. And the adult rooster thinks every one is his own and treats them as such. He protects them against danger (me or the dogs who try to steal bits of bread and food I put out for them) and walks with each hen as she clucks and scratches around the garden. He also takes special care of the young pair which I mentioned above. A truly remarkable parent.
The resident rooster cares for his first offspring a young pair of fowl (middle photos), as well as three hens and their 23 chickens! You can see by his stance that he takes his responsibility as a parent very seriously!
A handsome lad with a fine voice too!

For more on other people's worlds, click here

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cats do eat greens

On of the issues I noticed when I first arrived was that the fresh produce did not enjoy "after-market care". It starts off  fresh in the stalls, but as you purchased various items, they'd be jammed into plastic packets by the vendors, crushed under the other vegetables and groceries in the car and also, once they were unloaded into the store, they were often on the floor of the store room until needed. The previous week's produce would be crammed in the store room fridge so the fresh stuff was pushed onto the shelf in front of it. (Can you picture it? It was quite a picture, ewgh!)

At the market, I ask for extra packets and if I notice a reluctance in the seller, I offer to pay for them. William and I pack the heavy vegetables lik potatoes, onions, carrots and squash in first before loading the tomatoes, cucumber, greens, eggs and fruit.

I had all the fridges cleared out and we now keep the shelves and trays clean on a daily basis as well as defrosting them once a month. To avoid boring you all with a housekeeping post, suffice to say, the three fridges (spread between stores and dining room) are user-friendly and hygenic.

Because I don't like to crush the leafy greens like Chinese cabbage, spinach, lettuce (when we can get it, which is not very often) and egg-plant, tomatoes, imported apples  - there's nowt like a Ceres - South African apple -  I store most of these in my fridge here at home. Every morning I collect what I need for the day at the Guest House and pack it into my basket. 

On Saturday I only needed a few leaves of Chinese cabbage - which we use as a basis for green salad - some egg-plant / aubergines, and a few apples.

Leaving my basket on the floor while I looked for the menu which I'd written out the night before, the cats immediately stalked the "strange objects"  inside.
Ambrose and Shadow were initially very suspicious of the strange green "monster" hanging from my basket and went to inspect it. Ambrose tried it for taste while Shadow, ever suspicious of most things, looked on!

Ambrose eventually pulled the cabbage out onto the floor * and then tried to hook the the other things out with his claw

On Saturday evening we were invited to a "Pig on the Spit" at the club. When everyone saw me snapping the crispy meat hanging over the fire, they asked if I'd use the photo at the beginning of my vegetarian cook book!  People are always amazed that although I eat no flesh, I have no qualms working with meat, filleting fish and chicken and preparing dishes fit for any carnivores!
Everyone relaxes while the meat sizzles on a special contraption over the fire

Apparently the meat and crackling was delicious! I brought my share home for the askari who guards our house at night

Hope you're all having a wonderful week.

Note: * No, I didn't use the same cabbage leaves for the salad...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cutey pie Ginger

My mom says her Internet is working again, so I asked her to post some cute photos of me.

What? Was there a post on me last week? Naaaah.

Come-on mom. Anyway, as she said, let's make hay while the sun shines.


What do you think? Do I deserve another post on ME?

Mmm, you'd have to be very hard-hearted not to like this pose...
As a cat who was left alone for two years and lived off the land and the mercy of Guest House staff in Keirio Valley, since being rescued by the Hedges family,  I'm now a fun-loving cat who adores one special mouse.  And that's not counting the squeaky grey mouse, the fluffy yellow mouse, the cat-nip filled purple mouse, the ball with a bell inside, the teddy, Shaun the Sheep.... They're all MINE. (Did you hear, Ambrose, MINE!)

For more about other lucky pets with doting owners around the world, click here

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sunday Lunch

and other meals at Mwadui Guest House.

Nowadays I don't only have Johan and/or Borries and whichever "single man" is on site for lunch; instead I seat eight people for lunch and dinner at the Guest House, seven days a week. Breakfast is supplied (by me and one of the  ladies) in lunch boxes which are sent to the offices and workshops.

Sunday lunch at the Guest House is enjoyed in between a full day's work for the men. However, we've come a far way from the spaghetti and chicken pieces which was on the menu when Grant and I first arrived. Sunday lunch nowadays is roast meat, potatoes, two vegetables, a vegetarian dish (for moi!), a curried meat and rice, all followed by baked dessert and ice-cream

While all the men are quite easy to please  feed, Juhn from the Phillipines is my favourite. He eats absolutely everything you cook as long it's not too spicy. So there's always chicken, beef, pork or mutton for him, Grant and Marnitz. Of the other five men, four don't eat beef or pork, so we always have chicken or mutton curry. I've started making vegetable or lentil curries and sauces and so far I've not had any complaints!

I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Life in Mwadui

Life continues on Camp Mwadui and I am feeling a lot better. Thanks to all for your concern and prayers, Skype and e-mail messages.

As usual, mid-week I went shopping in the nearby town, Shinyanga. William collected me at 8.15 and we set off for the fresh produce markets and supermarkets.

Over the past six weeks since I arrived here, William and I have worked out a system whereby he goes about the other chores (like carrying the fruit and vegetables to the car) while 
I continue to the next stall. I'm learning Swahili rather quickly and getting to know the vendors,  which helps me - the Mzungu/foreigner - not to be exploited!

In Tanzania many ladies ride bicycles which is something I only saw once in Kenya.  (Top left photo) Inside the market, I asked "the lady in red"  if I could take photos. I'd spent quite a bit of money so fortunately she said I could (In the bottom left photo, a beautiful young woman was opening her stall and held the cover in front of her face to avoid being photographed)
Before we went off to Shinyanga, William took me to his home to meet his wife and a relative. Their baby is six months old and named Baracka. (I could't change the photos around as my Internet kept playing up. What's new? LOL!) The next four photos are of various shops near the bus terminal . Here we buy water in 1.5lt bottles for individual consumption and 12 lt bottles for the water dispenser in the diningroom. The prices are almost half that of what the supermarkets charge


William left me at one of the three supermarkets in "High Street", while he went off in the car to a spares supplier on the other side of town. If anyone knows anything about purchasing mechanical spares, (or any hardware shopping, for that matter) they'd know that I was finished my shopping long before William returned. Leaving my groceries in the shop, I wandered out onto the sidewalk and sat down on a chair. After waiting for about five minutes, I decided to pass the time by phoning my sister, Rosemary, in the UK. As she answered her phone, William returned; He walked towards me, so  I called to him to take my camera from the car and photograph me. My sister, following the whole conversation, was eventually in stitches at my instructions and William's replies ("Mama, the screen's black; I can't see you !" And me: "William pull the silver lever on top of the camera, towards you to zoom in on me") Afterwards I gave him my phone so that he could "meet" my sister. All great fun!  

Sitting outside the grocery store talking to my sister, Rosemary in the UK

William did quite well in working out the zoom feature on my camera. (Both above photos by William)
William, my trusty driver and in his own words, my bodyguard, gets on with loading the groceries into the back of our vehicle

After a hard day in town and having to unpack everything in the stores on Wednesday afternoon, I spent Thursday relaxing with friends...

May you all have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Photos for Auntie Kay of Alberta!

Yesterday I decided to take [more] photos of the cats and post them for Kay of Alberta. As I focussed on Ambrose who was playing with Ginger's favourite mouse, he stopped playing and stared at the lens cap dangling from my camera.

Ambrose more interested in my lens cap than in playing with Ginger's favpourite mouse

Ginger is such a mild-mannered cat. Last week I tried the cat harness on him and he loved it. On Sunday evening Grant and I carried him to the gate wrapped in a towel ( so that he couldn't see the dogs and vice versa) and out into the street. He had a wonderful time in the outdoors for the first time in five weeks.

Ginger revels in being outdoors for the first time since leaving Kenya at the beginning of February

Shadow and Ambrose were waiting for us on the veranda when we returned home with Ginger. They sniffed at him and looked at us as if to say, where WERE you?

For more of other people's worlds, click here

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week ending 11 March 2012

Earlier this week I posted that I had malaria again. I have rested and taken care and feel ready to enter the fray again. Thanks to all for your concern, prayers, thoughts and messages.
I spent the first part of Monday at the hospital being tested and treated for malaria (photo by Sama, taken with my camera)
A belated photo of some of the Guest House staff posing with the snacks they made for our wedding anniversary at the club last weekend. Bottom photo from left to right: Rosemary, Jennifer,Salome, Pendo)

Mid-week I heard activities beyond my house fence. Going into the street I saw that the gardening services slashing the grass verges. I ran back to the Guest House, called Michael, the gardener, to bring a wheelbarrow and rake and, together we approached the garden team. We asked if we could have a little fresh grass cuttings which Michael loaded into the barrow. Returning to the Guest House, I asked Michael to toss a few bunches over the fence around the chicken run. The chickens went wild with excitement and clucked, scratched and pecked away at their fresh dinner.

The caged chickens at the Guest House loved their fresh greens
Above are two of the ladies preparing lunch for the hungry miners. I've taught them to keep their vegetable peelings for the new compost heap which I made with the gardener. The fruit peelings, of course, go to the chickens in the run!

Meanwhile out on the site, the mining continues. Grant and Marnitz photograph the pit and various activities for Grant's weekly report.
The wildlife doesn't seem too phazed about the blast!
Back home, Ambrose does the laundry after which he sits in the window to watch the world go by. This photo is especially for "Auntie Kay" from the Hedges kitties!

And last but not least, I received yet another photo of our beautiful little granddaughter, Abby. She was dedicated in church on Sunday. The parents bring the child to be "introduced to God" in front of the entire congrecation. (Even Jesus was introduced to His Father - ) When the person is old enough to make his/her own decision about faith, they ask to be baptised, also in front of the congregation. Amanda's dad is the pastor, so the dedication and later baptism ceremony is doubly special.
Isn't she just so cute?

Have a wonderful week!