Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fun-filled Week continued

As mentioned in the previous post, I arranged a surprise birthday party for Linda at my house last Wednesday. Four of us SA ladies get together at the client camp on Wednesday afternoons for a time of fellowship and Bible Study. Linda ordered several DVD's from the states and we're following one course at a time. As I'd had my very dilapidated and torn lounge suite recovered by the fundi tailors at the nearby workshop, I requested that we have fellowship at my house on the 24th. Linda was told that I wanted to show off my "new" suite. The other ladies knew that after the Bible Study session, we'd be having tea and cake to celebrate Lindas big day, her 30th! 

I baked a two coffee cakes - not my preference or forte; Marita brought a Lemon Meringue Tart and Chef Paulo and team sent over two dozen donuts dripping in Lyle's Golden Syrup and dusted with icing sugar! I'd also baked a batch of old-fashioned sweet biscuits (called Soetkoekies) in the traditional Voortrekker style. Voortrekkers were pioneers who loaded their possessions and families onto ox-wagons from the Cape coast into the South African interior in the 19th century. In search of pastures new, they trekked over the vast Karoo plains, into Northern Natal, across thousands of kilometers of the massive Drakensberg mountains until they reached the Transvaal where they settled. Of course, their journey was fraught with danger: wild animals, hostile tribes, fevers and fatal accidents, births and deaths. When they camped out for long enough, they hunted and planted, cooked on open fires and bakes in clay ovens  Soetkoekies was a traditional Voortrekker treat. I didn't know any Voortrekkers, as they were before my time! But it's part of many South Africans' heritage and of course we know the history. 

At 3pm Tilla arrived and I told Linda that today was a surprise party for her. 
 Tilla, Marita, Jo-Anne and moi; seated is Birthday Girl, Linda
First we watched as Linda opened her gifts
Then Linda stood in front of her 30 cake!
She blew out the candles and of course, we sang to her!
Coffee cake, donuts, lemon meringue pie, and soekkoekies (in foreground) were the delicious fare for Linda's party

Tilla was first to pour hot water from my bling teapot. As she did so she said her daughter, Ina would never permit her to possess something like this. I said that my daughter-in-law would probably also shudder if she saw my gold-rimmed set! Here the donuts and soetkoekies are very much in the foreground! 

The ladies enjoying tea and cake on my newly covered lounge suite!
And of course, ladies together are never short of something to talk about

I'm linking this post to Our World Tuesday which you can visit here

A Fun-filled Week

In other words...

Life's tough in Africa!

On Monday Marita and Tilla collected me in their company car and with driver Edward at the helm, we were off to Shinyanga for the morning. We wanted to  do a spot of shopping. We needed nothing specific; we just wanted to feel what it's like to get off camp, out of town and to the bustling village town 34kms from here.

First, we visited shop called  3M Bazaar. There we bought clothes pegs, brillo pads (to scour pots and pans); I found two "Alice Bands" for Regina's little girls. Marita found some bling bindi-type stickers for her hair!

We drove to Shirima's Supermarket where, the previous week,   I 'd seen real yoghurt for sale. Marita and Tilla bought the entire stock - a case of 12 cartons.While they were paying for their purchases, I popped to the shop next door which was owned by Mr Shirima's sister-in-law. I bought a 5litre can of  liquid soap for the pottery studio. It was considerably cheaper  than in Mwadui. While the lady wrote out a receipt for my books (I'm the pottery financial manager!), Marita and Tilla joined me. They saw several packets of flour called Atta Wheat Flour  and asked me to ask the proprietress - who speaks no English - if it was brown meal. It was and they each bought a packet. 

Once again Edward drove us down the main street and parked outside the Vodacom building. From there we walked across the road to a haberdashery shop where, last year,  we'd bought tablecloths for Christmas. Tilla wanted to buy a kanga/kitenge (Tanzanian designed wrap bordered with Swahili love messages) for Linda's birthday on Wednesday. Marita and I spotted a pile gold-beige cloth with zebras and other African wildlife motifs. When we asked the proprietor the price, he - spotting a good sale here - said one piece costs Tsh5000/US$3 but if we bought five pieces they would cost us Tsh4500 each! We bought them, divided them between us and I used mine for Linda's birthday party at my home on Wednesday. 

Diagonally opposite this business, we'd heard of a stationery shop. Once inside, we couldn't stop oo-ing and aah-ing about the variety of goods the Indian owner had on display. Once again I spotted the potential to do pottery shopping. Tilla and I had decided that a desk organizer would be just the thing to keep our many tools and sponges displayed on neat and accessible trays. 
 Officer Organizer on my desk. We bought one for the loose sponges, cutting wires and tools at pottery

I also found a couple of varieties of carbon paper. We'd run out in the studio, so I bought a folder of separate sheets. I was rather taken aback at the price, but the shopkeeper assured me this particular brand was most superior! 
 The very expensive carbon paper
From the stationery shop we drove down a side street to the kitchenware shop, called Amazing Grace. Because I've been feeding a little cat who lives inside the shop for the past two-and-a-half years, all the expats, company drivers and our chefs know it as the Paka Shop/Cat shop. While I fed and petted little Joy, Tilla and Marita eagerly scanned the overcrowded shelves . 

 Joy, the Paka Shop cat! 
With an excited squeal, Tilla homed in on the baking shelf;  she'd spotted cake pans with a cylinder in the middle. We'd never seen these  in Tanzania, so we each bought two! I baked the cakes for Linda's 30th birthday in them.
 Cake pan with central cylinder which creates a hole in the final product

The week beforeI'd been to town on business for Grant. I have a very good relationship with Jackson,  the owner of the Paka Shop and he often gives me a gift from his shop. Last week he gave me a kitchen ornament : a Latino man with an opening in his back holding several cooking utensils. Although it could be seen as quite kitch, I'm taking it to my SA home to display in my newly refurbished kitchen!
Although kitch, I think this little guy is quite cute! 

On that same trip, I spotted a really bling tea set at a large Arabic supermarket. I had to have it.  It could also be considered kitch but once again,  I actually liked it so I bought it

 My gold-rimmed, ultra-bling teaset!

The morning we three ladies were in town eventually had to end. We came home grubby, sticky and happy as Larry! And laden with all sorts of goodies!

Now, no post would be complete without an update on the pups, day 13. I marvel at the routine Princess, a dog no less, and theoretically still a pup, has established for her litter. When I took her cookies soaked in warm milk into garden yesterday morning, Michael had already come on duty and opened the shed door.  She was lying peacefully just outside the door. Inside the pups were fast asleep, after their early morning feed. 
 Princess having already given the pups breakfast, takes an early morning break 
 The pups, day 13 having their first sleep of the day
 Aaah, this is the life!

Last night I went out into the garden with Princess' evening meal. Zechariah had arrived and Michael was signing off. Princess was in her seventh heaven with both her most favorite persons in the world with her at the same time! 
 See the adoration in Princess' body language as she gazes up at Zechariah

 Michael reaches down and gives Princess a last cuddle for the night
This image should be preserved into,  and publicly displayed as a bronze sculpture; I've never before seen grown Tanzanian men showing such affection and kindness for a dog! 
 As I walked towards the doggy shed, Princess trotted alongside

Once again the pups were settled into an early evening sleep. As I took photos of the cuties, I was fascinated to see Princess step carefully into the hut, and walking - as if on eggshells - between the sleeping pups, she carefully checked each one with a gentle nudge of the nose. Satisfied, she step outside again and went to lie down next to Zachariah's chair !  Once it's dark, he puts her inside the hut and bolts the door

I hope after this lengthy post, I still have readers left! Wishing you all a wonderful Tuesday! 

I'm linking this post to Our World Tuesday, which you can visit by clicking here


Monday, September 29, 2014

Psst, don't tell Ambrose

This post is about dogs...

... more dogs...

...and more dogs !

Yesterday after coming back from a bird outing with Grant, I popped over to the Guest House. I wanted to reconnect with Chefs Paulo and Michael Makongoro. Having worked alongside these two and a team of eight men and women, for almost two years in the Guest House, I have a very good rapport with them all. I also taught the chefs to cook for Mzungus/ foreigners and not for the Eastern expats only. I also taught them a few basic desssert recipes with which to treat the Expats once or twice a week. 

After a lovely chat with the two chefs and later with Isaac, trainee chef, I wandered outside. I found Nando lying in the lapa. Nando is the Guest House askari/guard dog and one of seven pups that Honey gave birth to in the winter of 2013. Sadly, Honey died after the Mwanza vet performed a hysterectomy on her in October last year. He did the op in Grant's bathroom and Michael and I assisted him. Nando has been "teutered" so no, he wasn't one of the many fathers of Princess' pups.
Nando has very pretty face-markings. I hope Grant permits to let one pup live with Nando when the time comes
Princess regularly takes me-time away from the pups. She actually looks a little tired...

And of course, the pups!
Sleeping the days away
I'm so peaceful
 I'm so fast asleep
I'm so comfy
We're so together
I'm so cute, barking in my dreams
I'm so goofy sleeping butt up!
But I'm the cleverest first pup to have open eyes

And because the Rainbow Chameleon elicited so much interest, I thought I'd post a few more photos I managed to get before it left our garden.

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

War time in Hedges Kitty Household

Hello Lindy, Aunty Kay and all mum's other blog readers. This is Ambrose and I must tell you about war that broke out in our house!

It all happened after it got dark: I saw a furry thing in the yard and starting hopping from one window to the other. I ran through the house and eventually I stopped in my yoomen dad's bathroom window sill.
I used my fiercest look to scare the kitty away! (It didn't work!)

Sometime in the night while my yoomen mum and dad were sleeping, Unca Shadow came to see what I was looking at in the window! Just then something moved and Unca Shadow turned and hissed at me. I ran into mum's room with Shadow behind me. He grabbed me and rolled me on the floor. Normally we play like this, but now Unca Shadow was very angry and hissed and snorted while rolling me around! 

Mum turned the light on and when Dad Ginger saw us, he jumped up from where he sleeps between mum and dad's pillows. And jumped on me but I ran away very fast. Then he grabbed Unca Shadow by the ear and both my dad and Unca Shadow hissed and yowled until mum managed to push Dad Ginger into the bathroom with the broom head. She shut him in for the rest of the night!  

Unca Shadow was badly injured with blood dripping onto the floor. When mum checked behind his head, she saw that Dad Ginger had ripped his ear. Poor Unca Ginger.
Unca Shadow's war wounds...
The next morning we all slept together on the day bed, peaceful as always
 My yoomen dad said that I started the fight by being nervous about the kitty in the garden
 Do I look like I cause fights?

Just to show what a kind-hearted kitty I am, I'm going to post an update about the puppies!
Mum says these puppies are eleven days old already!
They cuddle together like we kitties do
These two look so cute sleeping together 

Dad Ginger, Unca Shadow and I, Ambrose wish you all a happy Sunday! 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

New critter in the garden

And the pups' update on day ten!

On Sunday Michael called Grant to see a new little critter on the wild orchid in a tree.

Rainbow Chameleon

Isn't it fascinating? 

The chameleon has since moved off. Apparently they're vagrants so although I was sorry not to see it there again, I'm happy it has gone to look for greener pastures! 

Princess and her pups are doing well. Yesterday was Michael's day off.  Joshua is the relief askari on Fridays and takes his job  very seriously; especially the most recent one as nursery assistant. I had to eventually stop him from shaking out the pups' blanket and refolding it every 20 minutes!
Joshua and Princess

This is what I call a bunch of pups 

Or a bundle of pups! 

Or a pile of cuteness!
This little one found comfort in the closeness of its mama! 

 The pup below is very porcine-like! It was born first and is already the largest. It seems to have a very mild nature because it doesn't always force its way over the others to the milk bar. The one smaller black pup with white feet is very outgoing and its eyes are almost completely open

Piglet the pup!

I'm linking my post today to Saturday Critters with Eileen. Do pop over to her blog and see the many critters on her blog as well as others from all over the world. You can click here

I'm still having Internet issues (read : slow ) and although I read many of your blogs, when I try to post a comment, the server bombs out. Grrr.

Other than that I'm having a wonderful weekend in beautiful - albeit dry - Tanzania and wish you the same wherever you are.