Monthly Archives: April 2015

Weekly Photo Challenge: Impala in Motion

Here is a submission to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion.

Taken from our Safari in the Serengeti – these jumping Impala showed some impressive motion as they leapt across the countryside.

The next best thing!

Here in Tanzania there are many things we have to go without entirely – cinema for example (although rumour has it the new shopping mall will have one). Other things have needed to be substituted.

Anita and I used to enjoy a ‘coffee’ at Costa while in the UK, but the nearest Costa is thousands of miles away.

There are some good coffee shops in Uganda – notably in Jinja and Mbale, but what about Mwanza. Here at home the next best option is the Coffee Shop in the Gold Crest Hotel. Here you can get a Mocha Shake and Iced Spiced Macchiato, Cappuccino etc.

   It’s not Costa but it’s the next best thing.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Slow Motion

Here is a submission to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

These two snails:

One British, one Tanzanian;

One large one small.

Both slow!

The UK snail featured in an earlier challenge from May 2014

Some Very British Rain

Most rain here is of the Tropical kind. A short sharp intense downpour which is followed by hot sunshine. That has been the pattern for any rain we’ve had in the past eight months.

Not today!

Today (and in fact ever since last evening) we have had continuous rainfall. Much of this has been gentle rain, reminiscent of April showers back home. This has been indispersed with the usual heavy downpour of which we are used.  

 Reports from parts of the UK, indicate that they have had little by way of rain for a few weeks – so it looks like we have their rain here. 


Night Life (Under a Net)

Each night before turning in we put it down. Each morning when we get up we put it up.

The mosquito net.   

 Living in Africa there is the ever present risk of contracting Malaria and so precautions are necessary. It’s a matter of routine. 

 We stopped taking anti-malarial drugs fairly early on – the risk to the body of long term use  is far greater than the risk of contracting the disease. With suitable precautions it should not be an issue. 

Malaria is a disease carried by the female of just one species of mosquito (Anopheles) and thee are many different species of mosquito. Furthermore you have to have been bitten by a mosquito which has recently bitten someone with Malaria. 

Here in town and working in a school this is highly unlikely that this will happen. With good health malaria is not nice, but it  is not a killer either. The use of repellant (DEET), a fan (mosquitoes like still air) and a net combine to reduce the risk at night.    

A mosquito net covers the bed. Our net is attached to a frame suspended from the ceiling. This is a bit of a pain as it is a little small for the bed – it is stretched a little bit works provided the bed is not moved. Our net is not walk-in nor does it surround the bed as some do. This means we need to put it up and down which can be a pain.     

  A better option we will consider soon is attaching a T-bone to either end of the bed (a T-shaped piece of wood at both ends) and suspending a net from this. If the arms of the “T” are long enough it should surround the bed more effectively.

For now our net keeps us safe each night. 


Weekly Photo Challenge: Water in Motion

Here is a submission to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

Waterfalls are amazing sites of nature. In Uganda we were able to visit both Sipi Falls and Murchison Falls.

 Murchison Falls

The Nile river flows into the Rift Valley through a gap of a few  metres wide creating dramatic motion.


Sipi Falls is actually three separate water falls collecting water from Mount Elgon – the water will eventually flow into the Nile. We walked from the 2nd to the 3rd and back to the 1st. The last fall on our walk was the most dramatic.

A Long Wait for a Long Root

It’s taken three months and three different avocado stones but finally finally we have roots on our Avocado. It’s been a long wait for a very long root. Whilst pineapples have come and gone (we have rooted and planted five in the same time period) the avocado has remained stubbornly inert. I was on the point of throwing out yet two more stones whence returned from Uganda, until  I noticed the root.    Here are the newly planted Pineapples.   …and their older cousins. I have also tried planting orange seeds – it’s early days but we’re getting something.   

Weekly Photo Challenge: Birds in Motion

Here is a submission to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion. These pictures taken in Uganda at Sipi Falls and in Murchison Falls of Birds in Flight.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

Here is a submission to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion taken from our recent trip to Uganda, this picture sums up the thrill of the ride as we were battered by the waves. Amazingly we survived this particular rapid and did not capsize. You can see more shots here.


Ugandan Birds

Uganda has some amazing wildlife. Some is similar to Tanzania, others are very different. Here is a selection which also includes two from Bukoba (Tz) but near to the Ugandan border.

Uganda Retrospective : Botanical Gardens

Whilst in Entebbe we visited the Botanical Gardens. Planted by the British over 100 years ago the gardens are home to a variety of trees and wildlife. We decided to hire us a guide to show us around which was a worthwhile investment. The gardens are reputed to have been the location for the filming of the early Tarzan Films and we were shown the area where this was purported to have happened. We managed to see a number of bird species including a Crowned Hornbill. We also found a stray puppy, very much alone and neglected, which we gave to some locals after a few cuddles.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Kite

A submission to this week’s photo challenge: Early BirdBlack Kite

A Black Kite in the Garden this morning.


The gloss is wearing thin

There comes a point when the novelty of a new place begins to wear off. It’s true to say that life here in Mwanza has probably reached that point- it’s taken eight months but life here has definitely become more mundane. It’s also true to say that some of the things here are a little irksome.

The continual power cuts; the low level internet connectivity; the price of even the most basic of Western goods at our local supermarket (U-Turn); the continual requests for money and the expectation we’re made of it just because we’re white; the employment laws here which make it feel like it is impossible for Anita to secure work with any permanence; the close-nit expat community many who have known each other for years and some of whom, it seems, don’t really want to get to know us.  All combine to make life a little less rosy.

This may sound quite a negative post and  I suppose it is, but even now we’re not about to “jack it in”. In spite of the negs there is still a lot going for this place. 

We’ve made some good friends and have enjoyed some great experiences in East Africa, in spite of the technological frustrations, the students are great, they work hard, want to do well and are a pleasure to teach, we are probably better off than we would ever have been in the UK. True we don’t have a car, but we have not really needed one. It is true that western goods are expensive but there are alternatives and a lack of sugary processed food is good for us. There are some genuinely friendly Tanzanians who aren’t seeing us as a meal ticket. 

The grass is not always greener, but neither is it always a  browny-yellow, it’s just different and as we adjust to Tanzanian life we need to accept that truth.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird on a Frosty Morning

A submission to this week’s photo challenge: Early Bird

Taken on a frosty January morning in 2014, these shots from Waddeston, Oxfordshire,  on the way to work but caught in traffic as I waited to cross the junction, the sun rose and caught in its amber light the hoar-frost coating the trees turned orange.


I managed to snap these on the phone as I waited in the traffic jam – a different life in a different world!


Uganda Retrospective: Entebbe Chimps 

Our day in Entebbe last week incorporated a visit to UWEC a zoo with a purpose and one of the highlights was seeing Chimpanzees. Although technically in a Zoo, these animals isolated on an island and were as wild as you could get in Entebbe. It made up for missing them at Murchison.  The group frolicked with each other, rolling up and down the hill, wrestling and making mischief.


Uganda Retrospective: Nile Cruise

Whilst in Jinja on our recent trip to Uganda we were able to experience the River Nile in two very different ways. We spent one day white water rafting, but the evening before we took in the Nile at a more sedate pace as we had a Sunset Cruise. It was a great evening.


Before we set off we were pleased and surprised to bump into three colleagues from school (Paul, Karl and Julian also with his son) returning from a kayaking trip and holidaying in Uganda.  It’s a small world!

Our trip was supposed to have been shared with a party from a  brewery company but in the end they were late meaning the boat was just us and Anna, another ex-pat NGO on holiday from South Sudan. We all decided not to have the accompanying  disco music but to take in the Nile’s atmosphere. As the sun slowly set we got some glorious sunsets.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird (Wag Hill)

A submission to this week’s photo challenge: Early Bird. A couple of photos from our November trip to Wag Hill. There are more pictures of the Dawn here.

Wag Hill Dawn 1 Wag Hill Dawn 2


Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

From our recent Uganda trip – the dawn over Kampala with an actual early bird. A submission to this week’s photo challenge: Early Bird    


Uganda Retrospective: Putting Up A Front

One of the things which struck us as we traveled across Uganda was the shop fronts. From town to town, wherever we went from Kampala to Jinja to Murchison Falls to Mbale to Entebbe and all towns in between, the buildings looked the same. I decorated they were drab rectangular boxes, yet most were decorated in bright colours. There was no randomness here – this was all planned and designed, meticulously painted adverts for local and international companies. Each building becoming an advertising hoarding.


What I particularly liked was the way the painting followed the contours. All roofs had indents with air bricks. However the painter continued to paint in perspective so the viewed head-on or from the side, the advert remained in tact.30 Bukoba to Kampala (37)

Initially I thought these adverts were related to the shop, but on closer inspection the shops did not always relate to the adverts painted above.

This style of building and it’s painted adverts was unique to Uganda – here in Tanzania although some walls are painted with ads it is very much rarer and the buildings much different.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat (Well… Sometimes)

A shameless re-blog of our  experience of White Water Rafting on the Nile at the start of the month. However, with this week’s photo challenge being on the theme of Afloat, I just could not resist. 😉

It was an awesome experience and one of the highlights of our holiday. Here are some of the photos from our adventure. Full story here