Monthly Archives: June 2015

Weekly Phto Challenge: Sun Bird Muse

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Muse.” Outside our bedroom window is an Abutilon Bush and throughout the day we see Sun Birds of different varieties feeding off of it. They are fascinating, fast flying and iridescent. We have seen three varieties  feeding namely Red-chested, Marico and Vayiable Sun Birds. They have become on of my garden muses.

Maricor Sunbird

Red- Chested Sunbird


Variable Sunbird

Variable Sunbird

Variable Sunbird


Variable Sunbird in flight

Variable Sunbird in flight



Marico Sun Bird

Marico Sun Bird

Variable Sunbird

Variable Sunbird

Papa’s Return

Papa’s is a restaurant, about an hour north east  of Mwanza. Run by expats it is part of an NGO which supports an orphanage (JBFC) and runs a school. There is also a farm from which much of the food at the restaurant is sourced. The restaurant itself is situated on the lake and idyllic. We visited once before with a colleague back in October. Now that we have a car, places like this are accessible and it was nice to take our first drive beyond the confines of Mwanza. We came to have a celebration meal for our son following his 17th birthday last week. The weather was gorgeous. Here are some pics of the location.

It’s A Fine Day

One of the best things about living here is that most of the time you wake up to a fine sunny morning. Not 100% of the time to be true, but outside of December and April (the rains) it has been the case most of the year. What is more the weather, rains or not, tends to be hot in the day.

Today we are off to Papas a restaurant on the lake about an hour North of Mwanza. We’ve been once before, back in October in our pre-car days. Then we had to rely on lifts, now we have wheels. This is a delayed birthday treat for my 17 yr old – but I digress!

I found myself earlier this week thinking “what if the weather isn’t good?” a legacy of my British upbringing.  I quickly corrected myself! As a NGO, who is returning soon to live in Canada,  stated yesterday  – it’s going to be strange having to check the weather forecast every morning to see what to wear. 

Here it is usually dry and sunny,  occasionslly (but predictably) wet, always warm. So today It’s a Fine Day.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Caldecotte Muse

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Muse.” When we lived in Milton Keynes I would often visit our local lake. Caldecotte was much smaller than Lake Victoria but was the scene of many photos. The local pup/restaurant/hotel was built in the shape of a windmill and could be seen from across the lake in many places. It appeared in many photos.

Weekly Photo Challenge : ROY G BIV (in Uganda)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “ROY G. BIV.”

Our Easter trip to Uganda provided the full spectrum of colours as we travelled through the towns. The buildings were all brightly painted and in so doing became advertising hoardings for a variety of companies – you can see more here

In Jinja we came across multi-coloured buildings with a rainbow of shades


Weekly Photo Challenge : ROY G BIV (Birds in the Garden)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “ROY G. BIV.” A follow up to my previous post on the Garden. I have narrowed the field to include only birds which have visited the garden in the past five days.

Most birds come in a multitude of colours so I have selected the main colour or at least one of the main colours. The African Paradise Flycatcher is a bit of a cheat as it’s head is blue/black which to my mind is close to Indigo.

The Green Winged Pytilla is almost ROY G BIV in itself


Murdered for the Colour of their Skin

Tonight we are watching a powerful film at school – entitled “In the Shadow of the Sun”. The story of the plight of being a person with albinism right here in Tanzania and locally here in Mwanza and Ukerewe. The guest speaker is one of the main protagonists in the film Josephat Torner. It’s a challenging watch in parts but worthy. This last week has been International Albinism Awareness Day. I wrote this blog piece earlier this year on the same theme.


Over six months I have made this blog a positive journal of our life and experiences here in Tanzania. This post is not one of them.

Tanzania is a lovely country in lots of ways, and the people are mainly friendly and good natured in my experience, but beneath the surface there is a darker side to a very small minority; real evil. It’s centre is this region of Tanzania where people are being murdered and dismembered because of the colour of their skin.

Their skin is white, but they are not Caucasian.

They are African but different to most Africans.

They suffer from Albinism, a genetic difference which means that a person  has no skin pigmentation or hair colour. It is a rare condition in Europe and North America, where 1 in 20000 people possess a degree of albinism. However in East Africa it is much more common with 1 in 1400…

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Weekly Photo Challenge : ROY G BIV (Ten Months in Tanzania)

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “ROY G. BIV.”

Looking back on our 10 months in Tanzania. Moments from our time including Serengeti, Zanzibar, Rubondo, Wag Hill, Tunza, Malaika, Compound and Birthdays








Funny what you get used to!

It’s mid -winter here. Not that you’d notice. The day is 11hr 58min long compared to the mid-summer excess of 12hr 16mins we get in December. Sunrise is generally between 6:30 and 7:00am, Sunset is generally  between 6:30pm and 7:00pm.

There are some aberrations though.

The earliest sunrise is actually 6:25am on or about October 31st.

The latest sunset in actually 7:08pm on or about 27th January.

Although it does feel cool at the moment it is in fact 22°C (the cloud doesn’t help),  though  it’s forecast to rise to 29°C later on. Year round the temperature tends to hover between 25-30°C year (Daily Max). It’s funny what you get used to.

 Photo taken earlier this month at Tunza Lodge


Weekly Photo Challenge: ROY G BIV in an English Garden

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “ROY G. BIV.”

Following on from my earlier post from our Tanzanian garden I decided to look through the archives and do the same for our former English garden back in Milton Keynes.

Drive Home from Work

Now that we have a car we have begun to explore Mwanza on four wheels. It was particularly useful last week when my wife was admitted to hospital with Malaria.  Whilst we don’t always drive to and from work preferring to walk, there are  occasions when we do. Here is the route to and from work which is bumpy to say the least. Much of the ‘road’ gives an off-road experience and it is vital to have a four-wheel drive.

Snapshot 2 (20-06-2015 18-14)

Here is a video of our route home from work.


Weekly Photo Challenge : ROY G BIV in a Tanzanian Garden

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “ROY G. BIV.” The challenge was to find each of the colours in my Tanzanian garden this morning.

Blue was definitely the hardest, whilst green was the easiest of course!

Grey, Green & Glossy

Outside the staff room on the branch of the tree a Hadada Ibis;grey, green and glossy.


The word brings a fear factor to many. Indeed it is a deadly disease when it goes untreated. Sometimes a pupil comes back to school after a day off saying they had malaria- I have always been skeptical, even more so now.

I write this from a hospital ward where my wife has been admitted overnight and is on a drip. The ultimate cause – malaria!

It all started last Thursday when Anita woke up in the middle of the night with flu-like symptoms and feeling very chill. Remember we live on the equator where it does not ever really get cold. In the morning she went in to work and was sent home again. Then the fever started – we did a Malaria test using a kit, but it was negative. As the weekend wore on the fevers and chills became more intense until by Monday we went out and bought our own Malaria testing kit. A definite positive -so off to the local medical  clinic (it is always wise to check yourself before going to the clinic as malaria is a common diagnosis – hence the pupils off for a day!). 

Actually our local clinic is good and we trust the doctor – he confirmed malaria and prescribed medication. Anita, by now very feverish and weak was admitted for a few hours to give her fluids and medication.

Back home and medication in hand we were to return each day at 4pm for anti-malarial injections.

So today we returned, but instead of a routine  injection we found her blood pressure had dropped to 50/30 – a lack of fluids and food bring a major contributing factor. 

So here I sit on the ward. Anita on a drip – admitted for 24 hours. 

Malaria is a nasty disease – much worse than anything I have seen before. With rest and medication she will recover, due to swift medical treatment. Many across this continent have no such option and will die of the disease – a sobering thought 

Garden Visitors

Here on our Mwanza compound we get a very different selection of birds visiting our garden.

In fact the only recognisable visitor is the ubiquitous House Sparrow – introduced to Africa in Kenya in 1950, these birds have spread throughout East Africa and there are now more in Tanzania than in the whole of the UK apparently

A pair of House Sparrows

A pair of House Sparrows

Our other regulars are much more exotic and I thought I’d post a few pictures of the latest batch of garden visitors.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Cornwall Off-Season

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Off-Season.” In  December we took a trip to Penzance in Cornwall to celebrate the Millennium. We had a great few days exploring the winter coast. New Year’s Day was fine and sunny and we walked a stretch of the Lizard Peninsular. A fabulous way to start  the year. These pictures of the landscape and beaches of Cornwall off-season

Volume up to 20

They like things loud here. There’s no such thing as quiet music in the Tanzanian culture. Whether it’s the worship blaring out of speakers at church (though thankfully not at NCLC) or a Ranting preacher at an outreach event (here they tend to go for the Fire and Brimstone  approach -with lots of shouting it what seems an angry voice). Whether it’s truck traveling down the street blaring out a political message or selling coke. Whether it’s an all night party going on in the local neighborhood – so loud it sound like they are in your house!

Regardless of the event the speakers are enormous and the volume is turned up to 20.

Last night one such party occurred somewhere nearby – it was still going on at 6am. The only way we could sleep was to have the fan on, at top speed the white noise produced dampening the music enough to get some “shut eye”. 

Thankfully this is not a regular occurrence, though more often than you might think. One such party many months ago,was terminated by a power cut ( they do have their uses) and the silence was bliss!

Victoria’s  Sunsets

We get some amazing sunsets here in Mwanza. Here are just some of them. 



Meet ANA Gari

Finally we have made the leap. For those who followed our previous blog posts, this has been budgeted for and paid out of allocated UK funds. 🙂 We finally have a car – welcome to ANA (A part of the Reg plate and Kiswahili for car is…) Gari. ANA is a Toyota RAV 4. The majority of expats drive one of these and one of my colleagues has sold it to us.  Actually ‘a na gari’ would literally means he/she has a car in Kiswahili.  The great thing about card here is that they hold their value. Therefore we will get back the price we paid for it when we sell. In the end this will give us the freedom to travel locally and allow the children to more easily socialize. We’re not ceasing walking about town, it’s the best way of being part of the community, but it will add flexibility.

Playing Cat and Mousebirds.

Pepper (our cat) likes to chase birds and likes to climb trees. The mousebirds are understandably perturbed by this but it’s a fruitless hunt for the cat who gives up on her prey.