Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pre-Christmas Activities (Part 2)

This morning I posted about me and Amanda visiting Buhangija School early in December. Although it was a working visit for us, we were also preparing for the big Christmas Party she'd arranged for Saturday 20th December. 

In reply to one question from a reader, the center is in a town called Shinyanga which is 34 km from where we live in Mwadui. Amanda, and/or any of the other volunteers endeavor to visit the school at least twice a month.  

As usual all the women on camp pulled together and made toys, bangles, knitted hats, scarves and brought in dozens of games and other interesting items from South Africa.  Marita's sisters in South Africa, sent dozens of pencil cases, each one containing a flashlight - with batteries - and stationery. Louise' mum-in-law knitted beanies and brought them with her last week. Louise brought in cotton hats and dozens of knitted teddies. Nsia collected a huge pile of soft fluffy toys from friends in Tanzania.  
When making up Christmas parcels for 300 + children, we placed the items according to age. in large basins. Note the red and blue pencil cases; fluffy toys, mini-gadgets and games

During the year, Amanda made hundreds of toys and activity boards. To this effect I sent her all my empty containers. (our own recycling system here in Northern Tanzania) Amanda brought in huge bags of beads; I bought thin wire at Shinyanga General Dealers and subsequently made bracelets. Whenever we stay over in a B&B or hotel in Tanzania or in South Africa, I collect and bring back the mini soaps, toothbrushes and paste; shower caps; shower gel; shampoo; sewing kits and hand lotion. 

Amanda drove me around town;  I bought dozens of girls' and boys' underwear;  tubes of toothpaste, tubs of Vaseline; bottles of glycerin and every packet of lollipops and toffees available in town. Amanda bought cartons of mini-packets of biscuits and bottles of candy balls. We added scores of balloons and found some pretty Christmas decorations in the local dukas/shops. 

The men (who have real jobs!) gave of their time and helped with visits during the year or offered vehicles to transport food, sodas, clothes and water regularly. Recently they generously gave money towards items we had to buy for the party. 

On the 16th December, Steve's wife, Carolyn flew in from the UK. She's spending two weeks over Christmas and New Year here with him in Mwadui. After I met her, I said the best way to get to know the other ladies on camp, was to come with me and help make up parcels for the Christmas party. She and I walked up to Amanda's house; there we  met Louise' 80 year-old MIL, Joey, Louise, Debbie, Louise' daughter, Henricke and Amanda. Together we started to make up Christmas parcels. 

Carolyn and Joey filling bags with sweets, candy balls, biscuits, toys, pencils, games, jewelry as befitted the gender and ages of the children  
Carolyn loads the first of the sweets into the bag. There were hundreds of fruit chews,  toffees, lollipops and fizzers on the table ready to go into the bags
Hundreds of sweets again
A closer look at the variety of sweets and lollipops
A couple of the many toys Amanda made during the year

The day before this gathering of making up the goodie bags, my Guest House kitchen staff helped me to pop, fill and seal 10kg of popcorn kernels.
Chef Michael and Salome pop the corn on the stove
Pendo and Isaac filled the bags
While I sealed them
Huge garbage bags filled with paper bags of popcorn: 300 in all

Then the day of the PARTY!

Children excitedly check through their gift bags of toys, sweets, biscuits, balloons, pencils, books and more
Amanda and Clare with children around them 
Amanda's son, Zardo helps the little ones 
to wash their hands before lunch
The ladies served delicious stew and rice 
which Amanda had made in huge quantities in her home!
Huge cakes, baked and iced by Amanda and Debbie were served after the meal

Little Barak, the blind boy and the reason why Amanda and I  first became involved with Buhangija Center,  enjoyed the party just like the other children
Young Wessie shows off the face-paint that his sister, Henricke did for all the children

Henricke and Wessie with with several of the children. I love the two teenagers behind the group who seem to be showing off their lip gloss (one of the many girly items we placed in the big girls' bags)
This little lad proudly displays his bag of goodies
Two girls discuss the contents of their gift bags

Two hours of disco music had everyone, young and old on the floor
Omary dances with Barak while the other children jive energetically behind him
Louise is somewhere in there boogieing along with the children

Finally the food, cake and soda was finished. The gifts were greatly enjoyed. The music ended and the Friends of Buhagija, under leadership of Amanda bid the children and their carers/ matrons fond farewell. 

Here's wishing all my blogger friends all over the world a 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pre-Christmas activities (Part One)

I've posted extensively of various Christmas festivities in the past week. However in the fortnight leading up to Christmas, we also treated the children of Shinyanga to a Christmas party.

Before this, though, in mid-December, Amanda and I visited the Buhangija School for Blind and Albino children in Shinyanga. She wanted me to give the matrons (formerly known as carers) a talk on caring. I drew up a list of ground rules;  at the center I got each matron to stand with the children she's in charge of and photographed them. These group photos will go up on the walls with the rules. If there is a problem with a child: neglect, abuse, and the loss of the child's clothing or other possessions, the head teacher is able to see at a glance who is responsible. The matrons are given a score of points; for every rule broken, a point will be deducted. If she reaches zero, she'd  face suspension without remuneration. On the other hand, good leadership and care will also be noted and an employee of the month would be chosen every month. The talk was optimistically received and the matrons promised that they would follow the rules and so, help improve the children's lives.
Each matron posed with the group she is responsible for 

We never visit the school without taking treats for the children. This day we took milk powder which Amanda made up in situ in a huge bucket and served cups of this with bread rolls drizzled with tomato ketchup. (a top favorite treat of the children!)
 Above,  one of the matrons hands out rolls while I distributed cups of milk

Although we're all aware of how endangered the Albino child is, and have read on the Internet about the atrocities performed on them in the name of traditional medicine, I had never actually seen the result of such barbarianism. Until that day at the school. Our driver, Edward pointed out this young girl (below) and said she'd had a limb chopped off before someone got to know about it and brought her to this center and relative safety. I approached the girl and by telling her that she looked pretty (which she did) and asking if I could take her picha, I managed a photo of her. 
This young girl's arm was amputated for medicine 
before she was brought to Buhangija Center and safety

As if that's not bad enough, three months ago, another young girl, Anna, (below)  was brought to the center. She was in an advanced state of pregnancy. Three men in her village had raped her;  the baby was born soon after she arrived at the center. We visited her and the baby a week later, taking baby clothes for the newborn,  and gifts and treats for the sixteen year-old-mama. I spoke to her and said it would be good if she breast-fed the baby. She looked very shell-shocked and didn't utter a word while we were there. A few days later Amanda told me that this young girl is a deaf mute. So when she was being attacked by three grown men, she couldn't even shout for help. (Neither could she hear or reply to any of our conversation the day we visited her) 
The new mama, Anna enjoying treats at the center
Amanda with Anna's baby: Sophia. A double shock for an Albino mama

I'm linking my post to Our World Tuesday which you can access here

(To be continued in a much more cheerful and festive vein)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Our Marquard Grands

Joel, five in a month's time; Abby who turns two at the beginning of March 2015

I loved this angelic image. Joel in a pensive mood in black and white

Wishing you all a Happy Monday; the last one in 2014!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Professional Medical Services

While we were in South Africa Grant complained of a tender left elbow. He saw the doctor who said it was inflamed - possibly gout and treated him accordingly. Back in Tanzania, Grant wore an elbow guard (which he said made the pain worse) we rubbed liniment on the area morning and night (which almost had him jumping through the roof) 

Eventually one morning he took himself off the Dr Leonard here at the local hospital. He took one look at Grant's elbow and said he had an abscess. He sent Grant off to the small theater where Nurse John Shoshiwe lanced the abscess, cleaned it and then applied a dressing covered with a bandage. 

The doctor prescribed a course of antibiotics and Grant visited John for a dressing every morning for two weeks. Just before Christmas John declared the wound almost healed and said Grant should come every second day for a dressing. 

This morning I went along with Grant as I had a Christmas card and a gift for John. He is the same man who treated my cat-bite wounds (I had seven)  in October. When I showed my SA doctor the healed wounds, he said that without the professional treatment I'd had here in Mwadui, I could have lost my leg below the knee. 
The card and gift which we gave John this morning. As I opened the Christmas card, Jingle Bells pealed from its innards. Ambrose shot up off his tree perch behind me and hid under the dining table 

John agreed that I could take photos of first the beautifully clean and almost-healed wound and later of him cleaning it and administering the iodine solution. 

John prepares to work on Grant's wound
The wound is almost healed

Grant says (and I remember this) that John works very gently

John cleaned and treated the wound and dressed it. 
Professionally done. As always.

Happy Sunday everyone!

The last [kitty] post

Hi Bozo, Lindy and all Mum's blog followers. This is Ambrose; I'm doing my last post for the year. 

Unca Shadow, what the last post?

Oh, it's not the first post.  Mmm.
My dad Ginger has become very playful in his old age! 
Unca Shadow has his favorite chair back
And I have mine! 

Last week Mum was laughing when I fell asleep while sitting up. 
Don't laugh at me...
If I stretch my eyes, I can stay awake

This has been a tiring year. I need to sleep some more!

For more cute pet posts, please click here

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Four legged - critters in my garden

Because of this time of the year, when not everyone works during the week between Christmas and New Year, I've not been able to get a welder down to the Guest House. When he does return to work, he'll add steel plates to the bottom of the gate; this is to keep the new askari dogs (we're thinking of taking Bibi and Mvulana - who look just like Mama Princess) over there. I might even take Princess over there too. When Michael opens the gate for Grant to enter or leave the yard, she often makes a dash outside. Once he's closed the gates, he runs after her and catches her standing at the closed Guest House gates. Mmm. 

I'm linking this genuine critter post to Eileen's Saturday Critter Party. 

Saturday Critter Outing with a difference!

On Tuesday Carolyn popped in after lunch and we spent two hours chatting. It was as if we'd known each other for years, not only a week! She said Steve had taken her to Shinyanga that morning. I asked if she saw the small dukas/shops and the market, Ommy's Boutique and Double EM bazaar. And she said no, they'd only been to two small supermarkets. Typical! 

Yesterday morning Grant was sending driver, William back to Shinyanga to return the sufarias/Indian cooking pots which Minaz had sent briyani and snacks for the Indian, Filipino and Ghanaian expats who had Christmas lunch in the Guest House lapa/entertainment area with thatched roof.  

I asked Grant if I could accomapny William to Shinyanga and of course he said yes! I sent a note over to Carolyn at the Guest House asking her if she'd like to come along too. She replied: yes please! So at 8.20 William and I stopped at Steve's flatlet and picked up Carolyn.

William had told me that the first of five new trucks, which Frank escorted in convoy from Dar Es Salaam to Mwadui (1000km), had arrived.  Carolyn and I both have husbands whose blood is yellow - Caterpillar yellow. Along the road we saw the truck and William stopped so that we could take photos.

One of many of our husband's toys! 

The company vehicle which Frank drove. Gendarmes are standing nearby

Once I'd greeted Frank and Pascal and we'd exchanged season's greetings, I introduced them to Carolyn. Then we asked if they'd pose for photos! 
Pascal, our company driver in Mwanza and Frank the local driver here in Mwadui

Carolyn, William and I got back into the vehicle, and once through the gate, we were on our way! William stopped at the first village, Maganzo which is only mere five kilometers from Mwadui. I had to cash money at the ATM. No sooner had I collected my cash and removed my card from the slot, and the ATM closed. I was just in time! 

Our first stop in Shinyanga was at Ommy's boutique where I'd bought an Africa shirt for Grant. Although I'd bought a size larger than he takes in South Africa, the underarm and shoulders were far too tight. The shop assistant (who knows me well, as I shop there often) exchanged it for one slightly different but still an African design.

Next I asked William to stop at Double Em Bazaar. Although Carolyn and I didn't need anything, we each came out with a shopping bag full of goodies. I'd found a pashmina (Although I have five, I've taken them home over the year and left them there. Our summer months are far cooler than our winter, and I need something over my shoulders when we go to the club of an evening. I also found a patio dress with bling on the bodice. I intend to wear it to our New Year's Eve function at the club.  I noticed a cut-glass sugar bowl. Although we have one, the lid is inverted and not at all user-friendly to gnarled ageing hands in the morning. I bought it. (I gave our original one to Regina)

Meanwhile Carolyn had found a pretty beaded necklace and bracelet for her granddaughter's birthday. She also spotted a chunky bangle which she liked for her sister. The shop assistant, hovering nearby all the time, showed her a pair of clip on earrings to match! She bought the set. Together we picked through the make-up and nail gloss. When we were told the price (ridiculously cheap) we each took a foundation and a nail polish. Feeling very pleased with ourselves and not stopping our chatter for one moment, we returned the car and the patiently waiting William.

William drove us to my Christian friend and favorite shop-keeper, Mr Shirima. I introduced Carolyn to him and I bought a loaf of sliced brown bread (the only place I can get brown bread) and Carolyn bought six yogurts. Next door, I introduced Carolyn to my Muslim friends, the Salums and Cosinati, their Tanzanian shop helper. Carolyn bought a small piece of cheddar cheese; I bought a fruit loaf and a small pair of scissors. Carolyn was choosing six apples when she saw my scissors on the counter and asked for one as well ! I turned around and saw a glass case containing fresh slabs of Cadbury's chocolates Kit-kats and cream biscuits. I reached in and took a bar for Grant; when Carolyn saw Steve's favorite chocolate bar in the case, she took it out and placed it on the counter as well. Would you agree that shop keepers love women who shop together?

Then it was time to wend our way out of the town center. William knew that I cat kibbles and canned cat food with me so he stopped at the kitchen-ware shop where I've been feeding a cat called Joy since I came here three years ago. Only thing is when we arrived, the shop was closed and the cat was sitting at the glass door looking out [at us]. One of the shop assistants, Happy, was sitting on the pavement. She said they were closed for business until Monday but she was waiting for someone to bring a key. Then she'd open up and feed the cat. I left my donation with her hoping that the person bringing the key would pitch. 

Our penultimate stop in town was at Kariem's. As a company we buy all our groceries from him so I'm also very well-known and most welcome at this shop. I bought mouth-wash and cashew nuts for Grant; beef mince for Ambrose (fussy blighter!) and coat hangers for myself! Carolyn didn't need anything here. 

We left Shinyanga stopping once more about three kilometers out of town. Jambo Supermarket is a largish shop with a filling station alongside - so it's known as a Garage Shop to us expats. It's owned by the same family who own the cotton ginnery next door. On Tuesday Steve had seen a DVD player;  although he wanted to buy it to replace the faulty one in his room, Carolyn dissuaded him as she thought it wasn't necessary. This time, however, she said she would buy it and hoped it was still in the shop as it had been the only one on the shelf. At Jambo you can use your credit card. All good and well, except that when it came to swiping the card and processing the transaction the shop-lady said she didn't know how it worked. No problem; between me and Carolyn we managed to activate the card machine, insert the card correctly, punch in all the necessary information and get the receipt to appear! 

Back on the road again, Carolyn and I talking ten to the dozen while William drove. Son we were back in Maganzo where I asked William to sto.  I wanted to buy several stainless steel bowls, like the ones I use to feed the dogs. He parked the vehicle, we got out and going through a narrow alleyway, we emerged in the market. Being the middle of a holiday week, everything was very quiet. We tried several shops but couldn't find the dishes. Next minute I heard a voice behind me saying:"Salamu Bibi"  It was Madu, the gardener at the Guest House. He was one of several of the staff who had Friday off. 

Although William asked around concerning my bowls, he hit a brick wall. Then someone told him the shop which sells these dishes, was closed. Later I asked Zechariah, who's going to Maganzo this morning to buy them for me. 

I saw a very small girl selling dagaa/whitebait. My cats love this fishy treat so I bought the largest container full. Afterwards, Carolyn and I asked her and her mum, at the shop next door, if we could take her picture.  They agreed and afterwards she was delighted to see her image on our screens. 
Imagine being this small and "manning" your mum's stall? 

I took a photo of Carolyn in the market (with her camera) she took one of me with my camera. Are we corny or what?
Here I am, my bag of fish hanging from my wrist ! 

Then we asked William to take one of both of us standing in front of a shop stall. Madu was still hovering nearby so we called him to join us. 

Madu, Carolyn and me. I still have the bag of fish hanging from my wrist! 

William, Carolyn and I returned to the car, he drove back onto the main road and within ten minutes we were entering the mine gate. When we dropped Carolyn off at her place, she hugged me and thanked me for taking her along. It sure is a great experience when women shop together, not matter where in the world you find yourself! 

Believe it or not, I'm linking this post to Saturday Critters with Eileen which you can visit here

Happy Saturday to you all.