Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Apple computer?

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The vet pays a visit

I've been trying to put up a post about our visit to the school last week and have started to sort and make collages of several photos. However, my friend Amanda's cat, Matewis, (Afrikaans for Matthew)  is due to be neutered. Amanda had to fly out to South Africa rather suddenly last week to be with her sister who is undergoing chemo. I said I would continue with our quest to get the cat "fixed".

In Tanzania, seeing the vet is quite a challenging affair. The vet has no surgery so he comes to your home. His "office" is in Mwanza 160kms from Mwadui and he uses a piki-piki (motorbike) taxi as transport. In January he made a house visit to me so that he could inoculate our three cats with their annual vaccinations. I had brought the injections in from South Africa so all he had to do was administer the treatment. At the time, he arrived here alone so I had to help hold the cats while he injected them.

The current set-up has taken some orchestrating. Yesterday morning I phoned the vet who said he'd let me know tomorrow if he could come. Knowing the casual African manner, I stopped him in mid-sentence. I said to him he has to give me a firm date as I need to let the owner (Amanda's husband, Andre) know not to feed Matewis on the day of surgery and also to keep him indoors. Grant and I had taken one of our cat-travel cages to Andre's house last night and Andre will place him in there to make it easier for me to find him when I arrive with the vet. The vet then said he'd be here at 2pm. I also had to remind him to bring his assistant. He didn't seem very keen and I'm hoping against hope he does this else I'll have to assist with the surgery! Ewgh! 

When Grant and I returned from SA, we brought the correct inoculations and a micro-chip for Matewis.  I've just been on CHAT with Amanda who's told me where the injections are (in the fridge) and where to find the micro-chip (on the book-case near the sofa) 

 Matewis was very possesive of all the toys and constantly got under our feet while we were sorting through them last week

Please pray with me that all goes well with the operation and other procedures tomorrow and that I can report to Amanda that her kitty is in fine fettle! 
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NOTE: If you're interested in how to pronounce Matewis, this may help:

Ma (as in "Ma" the cowboy's mother) te : the "e" is a long drawn-out  vowel which sounds similar to "ear") wis is pronounced viss


Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend of 28 July 2013

Although Ambrose has posted about his "mum" feeling better, he slightly jumped the gun. Two weeks after  Grant and I'd arrived back on site (and having conquered the flu we'd caught in South Africa), we woke up sneezing and coughing again. By 9am we were in the doctor's surgery at the hospital where he prescribed (without examining us) celestimine to dry out the sniffles, a cough syrup to soothe the new bouts of coughs and antibiotics to clear the bug.   
 Waiting to have blood tests at the hospital on Tuesday

Grant's flu cleared up by the end of that [the third week], but mine just persisted. On Tuesday,  I saw another doctor at the hospital who gave me a thorough check-up, and sent me for blood tests. Afterwards he prescribed me with a new course of antibiotics, more celestimine and painkillers and vitamins to build me up! Within four hours I felt like a new person and was full of energy when we visited the school the next day. 

 Waiting to see the doctor again on Friday!

On Thursday morning I woke up with a burning throat, sniffles and coughing like mad! I struggled through the day continuing with my antibiotics from the second doctor. By Friday morning I'd had enough of feeling weak and shaky and visited the hospital again! This time I saw the doctor Grant and I had originally seen. He took my blood pressure (it was normal), took my temperature, (normal!) and listened to my chest and breathing.  Then he sent my for x-rays! 

  State-of-the-art x-ray machine at the hospital

Back in the doctor's surgery, he looked at my plates and announced that all was perfectly normal! However, he prescribed celestimine (!), a nasal spray, a cough syrup and an antibiotic. I didn't ask if I should discontinue my course from Tuesday - I just did!

Of course, with the flu persisting for a month (I caught it on 25th June), and on the fourth course of antibiotics and other meds in as many weeks, I felt totally lethargic and washed out. I spent Friday and Saturday relaxing on the sofa and watching a documentary on the British Royal Family. It lasted the whole weekend and as I'm a British Royalist, it kept me enthralled! It was great to relive THE wedding of the 21st Century again, although I'd watched it over and over again on the weekend of 30th April 2011! 

I added Edward and Sophie to the  wedding collage, as they're seem to be a couple who're going to make it to old age without splitting up. Watching Will and Kate, I believe that they too, will be like the Queen and Prince Phillip and surpass 60 years of marriage.
Apparently William jokingly said to Michael Middleton (top right photo): "We're supposed to have just a small family affair."

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fastmoving shadows

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Mirror images

Hi Bozo and mum's blog readers. It's Ambrose again. I managed to sneak into mum's laptop documents while she and dad were at the club. Mmm, shows what kids get up to left alone at home while parents go out! Anyway, I think she knows I do these posts (how could she miss them!) and seems quite happy about it.

This week mum's ord-robe (what's a ord-robe, I wonder?) door fell off. It didn't just happen at once. It's been hanging askew for many months. We kitties have watched while she opens it carefully and then tries to get it to shut again. Quite a tricky business. And then it fell off completely. She made a funny noise when this happened (do yoomens meow too?) and lay the door on the bed. 

Of course, I hopped onto it immediately and saw another beautiful kitty on the door too. Mum saw him too, because she fetched her camera and took photos of both of us!

Then dad Ginger noticed the cupboard was open and he LURVES getting into cupboards. He jumped up and lay on mum's shorts. Uh-oh, I heard her tell him not to jumble up the shorts!

Mum then put the door against the wall and Uncle Shadow suddenly also noticed the other pretty kitties in the room!  

Dad Ginger also came to see the other kitties, even trying to find them behind the door. 

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PS: Did you see the painting mum made of Dad Ginger and me? 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pottery classes continue

Although making toys, games and eats for the children at the School for the Blind took up a large part of the last four weeks, we ladies still managed to get to pottery twice a week during July.  I hadn't created anything new because I'd been on holiday, but many of my items had been bisqued and were ready for painting. One such item was a platter which I'd molded on a tea tray. When I saw the plate in the raw, I knew exactly what I was going to paint on it.

Ambrose left and Ginger, right 

Anyone following my blog and who know my cats, will see the uncanny likeness of both cats in the picture! (Shadow will get his 15 minutes of fame sometime soon! )

I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hospital or...

Erhaut Hotel, Swakopmund, Namibia

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Here's wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A wise old man of God

After we'd finished with the children at the school yesterday, we returned with the two priests, Fr John and Fr Dunstan - who seem to be involved with the teaching the as well - to the monastery next door. They wanted us to meet a very special person living in their guest quarters. 

The priests entered a room while our driver, Edward (not my askari Edward!) told us that we were about to meet the first priest of Shinyanga who had been ordained in 1955. Edward was thrilled to be in the party going to visit the priest as many years ago he'd been the driver for the Bishop of Mwanza and got to know this priest too. 

 We waited in the courtyard while the local priests requested and audience with the old priest! (Edward in blue jacket, near Amanda, could hardly contain his excitement, bless him!)

Finally we were invited into a rather dark room where we were introduced to. Fr Zakaria Buluda had all his faculties.  At 91 years-old he was a little hard of hearing, and Fr John had to repeat things for him yet he had use of all his faculties. He also exuded warmth, wisdom and a lovely sense of humor. For instance, when Fr John introduced first Amanda, then me and then Rina, and told him we were from Mwadui, he said he was thrilled to see three ladies from a mining town which he'd heard was "going down" Amanda explained that at one stage many years ago, the town was almost "dead" but since then it has picked up to what it is now. So Fr Zakaria said it was obvious we expat ladies had brought life to the town! Fr John also told him that that day we'd brought toys, hats, food and drinks for the children at the school to which he replied: "Ah, those albino children need support, so thank you very much!" 

As I watched  his serene countenance and listened to his deep voice, I thought how much he reminded me  of our dear Nelson Mandela. Fr John had agreed that I could take photos. In deference to the old man, I didn't use a flash, so my photo isn't all that clear. But I'm sure anyone reading this post can see the peace and serenity on his face.

 Fr Zakaria Buluda, at 91, the first priest ordained in Shinyanga in 1955

Before we left, Fr John asked if Fr Zakaria would bless us all, which he did. Meeting this man,  was a very special (albeit impromptu!) part of our day at the School for the Blind and Endangered Children this week.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Hi everybody, I should have uploaded this post earlier today but I wanted to clear with the Head priest whether it's safe to write about the school and its scholars. I could only do this when I met him today, and he assured me that it's perfectly safe; in fact, I'm hoping to write an article about our outing today in a South African magazine.  

In my previous post, Penny asked about the blind child we're helping here in Mwadui.

Earlier this year, I posted about a five-year-old blind boy we'd heard about living here in town. You can read about this by clicking the link below:

While great progress is being made with teaching Barack to walk and relate to objects like play dough (clay), musical sounds and different textures, Amanda had heard about the School for the Blind nearby.  She took Barack and his mother to visit the school but realized it would not be suitable for the little boy at this stage. For one, it  used to be managed by the Catholic Church which employed teachers. Some time ago, it was taken over by the government and and now is run by mainly carers. Barack's own parents and family members care for him very well, so it's better he remains at home among loved ones and where he is comfortable. Linda, who is charge of helping Barack,  is continuing on a program which Amanda obtained from the Blind Institute in Pretoria, South Africa. 

Another thing Amanda found out at the local school was that it had been taken over by the government to protect  the large majority of the children who are albinos. You can read about the prejudice and horrors these people face, especially in Tanzania, here and here . The school Head calls these children endangered and the government hides them for protection. 

Allegedly when a parent has an albino child, they bring it to the gates of this school and push it inside. They fear for its life (reasons mentioned in links above) and for being ostracized in their community as well. The albino has a very sensitive skin, scalp and also sight impaired in many cases. We've added head scarves to the parcels which we handed out to the children.

So in today's "modern" world, it's not only the fish, birds and four-legged creatures who're endangered, mainly by the actions of man, but vulnerable children and adults who, through no fault of theirs, are not the same as us.

Kudos to the government for stepping in and protecting these people to live as is their right.

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013


As the world watches and waits for the latest baby Royal to arrive to Prince William and his lovely Kate, my thoughts turned to how this little one will be received. It will definitely have its own bed when it's big enough for one.  Like my own children had; like our seven grandchildren have. Like most privileged children in First World Countries have.

When Amanda visited the School for the Blind in Shinyanga, she was already planning on making the children a few toys. (No-one realized how big this project would become!) So while she was shown around the dormitories, she quickly counted the beds. She arrived at a figure of 130. Later, back home and when we all decided to do something "big" for these children (there are other children who aren't  blind children, but have been discarded by their families, but more about this later), she asked the Head of the school to send her figures of how many children there are altogether. When he text-ed 260 children, she suddenly realized that she'd never thought that the children sleep two to a bed! 

As I said: to us, your children and children, my children and grandchildren all had their own bed, as will the newest Royal when the time comes.

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We woke up in East Africa to the news that Will and Kate had a little boy! Congratulations to the happy couple!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend 21 July 2013

When South Africans [men] get together to watch a rugby match between their favorite team and an overseas team, they do so in style. As the match on Sunday was between the Brumbies (Oz) and the Free State Cheetahs (South African) it took place at 8.30am, East African time. No problem to the guys: they asked me to organize sausage, bacon, eggs and bread rolls. The meat would be braaid/BBQ'd at Andre and Amanda's house while the match was on the go.  

Wessel grilled the meat and eggs

 While the rest watched the game

Grant leans across to see the next exciting move! 

As you know, Ambrose let the cat out of the bag, (pun intended!) in yesterday's post, about the project we ladies have under way for the School for the Blind in Shinyanga. Apart from hundreds of toys and various other items we're handing out to them on Wednesday, we're also giving them a small party with cupcakes, butter cookies, sweets, sodas and popcorn. 

While the men watched the game, Amanda and I continued to fill the bags with bangles and small toys, and Rina and Louise were next door baking up a storm of 260 cupcakes. (Louise had already baked the 260 butter cookies during the week)

 Louise , front, fills the cupcake forms while Rina mixes the batter for the next batch

WIP. Above is one of the many of bangles I made (Last week Nsia, Amanda and I made the lion's share - this one was one of the last eight we needed) 

Here's wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Update on our mum's activities

Hi Bozo and all my mum's blog readers. 

This is Ambrose again and if you think my mum hasn't been around too much this week, we three cats have found out why! She and the four other expat ladies on camp having been very busy for the past few months making toys. Yes, toys. I heard her tell dad that next week they're all going to the School for the Blind in Shinyanga to deliver these toys with cold-drinks/sodas, cookies, cupcakes and lots of other goodies. 

Mmm. I don't mind my mum being out of the house so regularly if that what she's doing. 

Anyway, I found a few photos on her laptop of some of the toys. AND there was a photo of her friend's cat lying near the toys. By the look on his face, it seems as though he doesn't want anyone else to have the toys. When mum comes home, Ginger and Shadow sniff at her skirt hem - they can smell that cat. Ooh!

Ginger sniffs mum's skirt which has the other cat's scent on it!

Shadow has a turn at sniffing mum's skirt!

I'm young and not so tense about other cats' smells!

This is mum's friend's cat guarding some of the toys to be taken to the School for the Blind

These are a few of the dozens of toys

Pretty boxes, bangles and brooches which they made for the older girls at the School for the Blind

Aw, what a cute kitty picture

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Say what?

Here's wishing all my recycled friends a happy weekend!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sunset over the Zambezi

On our motorcycle trip across a large part of south-west and south-central Africa, we stopped spent one night at Katimo Mulilo which lies on the Zambezi river which, in turn, is the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. I will post more about our trip later, but for now I wanted to share the most spectacular sunset we were blessed with on the trip. 

Isn't it just so glorious? 

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Here's wishing you all a wonderfully happy weekend.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pink-backed Pelican

While relaxing at Songwa dam on Sunday (with the men preparing the lunch) I took several photos of a small flock of pelicans on a rock quite far in the water. I struggled to get clear photos but have posted them here nonetheless.

BTW don't you just LOVE the way so many birds are sitting peacefully on the smallest clump of rocks? There is no pushing or shoving for the best place. Everyone just got on with the task in hand, which in the birds' case, was preening. We humans could take note!

Pink-backed Pelicans on Songwa dam

I'm linking today's post with Wild Bird Wednesday which you can access by clicking here

I trust you're all having a great week!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Family visit in Njesuti, Drakensberg

 The Hedges family of on a hike in the Drakensberg

While on leave in South Africa, we joined John, Debbie and our grandchildren for a weekend in Njesuti, Drakensberg. Of course, when you're in the 'Berg, you hike the contour paths.

The gentle five-kilometer hike takes you across the river several times. Either you hop across the rocks or you wade through the cold mountain water. Elijah and Bethany couldn't get enough of throwing rocks into the water!

Bethany walked with me -which I loved! We sang choruses and I took photos

Winter is the best time in the Berg

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Lunch in the bush

Yesterday a group of us friends met at Songwa dam a few kilometers outside Mwadui for a bushveld lunch date. The men wanted to make a potjie (food cooked over an open fire in a three legged black cast-iron pot) and we ladies were happy to relax while they did the work!

Quite a lot of organizing was involved as we had to take everything with us. I packed two large cooler boxes with glasses, serviettes, tableclothe, lemon, ice and everything in between. Amanda did the same and Rob and Nsia packed similarly except Rob brought the vegetables (which we'd bought on Friday at the Shinyanga market), the meat and the black pots.

Andre, Grant and Rob hard at work preparing the vegetables for their potjies

Great concentration while they apply themselves to the task in hand

We three ladies relaxed while the men "slaved" away in their makeshift kitchen

 Grant was in charge of the vegetarian potjie (front), Andre browned the lamb shanks for the meat potjie, while Rob concocted various sauces and seasonings to add to each one!

Although it seemed as though we ladies sat with our hands folded, this was not the case Amanda had brought her cache of beads, wire and tools and we each sat and made bangles to add to the packs of goodies which we're giving the girls at the blind school in Shinyanga later this month.

Grant took the photo a little too far away to see all the boxes of beads and our handiwork, but I'll be posting about this project which Amanda initiated and in which all the expat ladies have become involved

In no time at all the children from the nearby villages crept up to the line of trees near our picnic spot. Grant and Andre arranged with Adam, who owns the club nearby, to bring a case of sodas which I handed out to the children. After lunch, which was delicious, and ending with bread - and - butter pudding, fruit salad and ice-cream, we dished the huge remainder of meat, vegetables and dessert into empty ice-cream containers and gave to the children to take home. We also left Adam, who is fasting, a substantial amount rice and meat casserole to enjoy when the sun set last night. 

 Children from the nearby villages were treated to sodas, dessert and meaty food to take home to their families

I trust you all had a wonderful weekend and wish you a wonderful week ahead.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Home at last!

Hello all my mum's blog readers; it's Ambrose here at last again! Our yooomens went away again for a L O N G time and when they returned, mum was not like her normal self. Although she greeted us and made a great fuss, telling us how they missed us, she spent many days not doing anything. Well, except making barking noises like the scary dogs out in our garden.

She also spent the days lying on the bed (which I loved, because I lie at her feet!),  not once turning on the computer. But, phew! I was so glad that this week she seems to be fit and well again, going out to see her friends and also working on her laptop. She's also been taking photos of me, Uncle Ginger and Uncle Shadow which means she is back to normal again! I also managed to sneak in this evening and do a post after such a long time! 

I heard about color-coding which I think, means wearing colors that make you look pretty. Well, cats can't wear clothes, but they can look good against the right coloring! 

Mum took a photo of me on the end of her side of the bed; I'm not sure if this blue suits me!

Mum also snapped Ginger resting on the blue and gold pattern with a pretty colored cushion behind him. I think he looks pretty good (well, they say he's my dad, so he should look good!

Shadow blends well with the golden brown and white of the blanket which matches his Sudanese coloring

Mmm, I think this surrounding coloring of red and gold is definitely me!

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Light and shadows

Monk's Cowl, Drakensberg, South Africa 

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Joshua!

Our precious and oldest grandson, Joshua is seven! I can well remember the day he was born. We were living and working in Guinea, West Africa and got the message via satellite phone (no cell phone reception in West Africa in 2006!) that John and Debbie had had son, brother to our precious first born grandchild, three-year-old Eryn.

Today Joshua is a [young] man of few words yet has grown in leaps and bounds in his school work with mom Debbie teaching the children at home in Mozambique. While we visited with them in the Drakensberg last month, I heard Joshua reading to his younger sister, Bethany and brother, Elijah. He is word-perfect!   

Joshua also has a very generous nature and even at this young age, is so considerate of his older sister, Eryn, and three younger siblings. 

Any task Joshua is given, is done with concentration and great seriousness!

Joshua and Granddad Grant walk hand-in-hand in the mountains

Isn't he just the cutest little boy?

  We love you dearly!