Category Archives: Tanzanian living

Battling the Bone Breaker

This was going to be a different journey….

A journey from Tanzania to Seychelles – a journey into the Indian Ocean Idyl of my next job in Victoria on Mahe Island.

This story has been ‘choked at birth’. Barely three weeks from accepting the post a routine medical check in Nairobi has put an end to things and forced me to return to the UK ahead of schedule.

Here I am embarking upon a journey, a battle against Multiple Myeloma (Cancer of the Blood Plasma). It’s a battle which will last many months but should ultimately lead to a remission, to the point of normality, though I will never be cured (medically) and will need repeat treatments.

I am writing this as a journal for my own sanity as much as anything else. Although it may reflect my Christian Faith from time to time it will not be a ‘Bible Bash’ more of a story. Feel free to join the journey a new blog battlebonebreaker.wordpress.com –  in the coming days – the first post will be repeat of this one.

Lakeside Living – Part 2

Lake Victoria is an amazing place. Even though you’d never want to swim in it, nonetheless it provides some stunning scenery.

We are lucky that within ten minutes by car we can be on the lakeside for an afternoon stroll or a sundowner.

Over the past few months we have been fortunate to see some hidden places on the lake in the company of a colleague we have hiked the back roads of Mwanza and seen some hitherto unvisisited beaches. We have also had a couple of recent boat trips and a follow up visit to a little area of parkland.

So here is part 2 of  a summary are some of the experiences of the past few months in Mwanza.

Part 1 is here.

Riding the Waves

A couple of times this holiday we have ventured out onto the waters of Lake Victoria. The first time was a boat trip organised by some friends. We took a speed boat out from Mwanza, passing by the many islands which dot the lake, including Senane Island – home to a small safari park, then returning for a glorious sunset. It got a bit wet too as the waves crashed over the speeding boat.

 

Ferry Cross the Strait

Our second boat trip took us across the Mwanza Strait to Kamanga, followed by a walk up a hill to watch the sunset. At 1000TzS (37p) each way, a bargain!

Lakeside Living – Part 1

Lake Victoria is an amazing place. Even though you’d never want to swim in it, nonetheless it provides some stunning scenery.

We are lucky that within ten minutes by car we can be on the lakeside for an afternoon stroll or a sundowner.

Over the past few months we have been fortunate to see some hidden places on the lake in the company of a colleague we have hiked the back roads of Mwanza and seen some hitherto unvisisited beaches. We have also had a couple of recent boat trips and a follow up visit to a little area of parkland.

So here is part 1 of  a summary are some of the experiences of the past few months in Mwanza. Part 2 to follow soon.

Hiking the Back Roads

We have been on a number of walks this Autumn – these have taken along lakeside tracks difficult to access by car and provided some stunning views.

Taken from three separate walks in September (Jembe Beach area), October (Mwanza Brewery area) and November (Fish Market and peninsular walk).

Weekly Photo Challenge: Anticipation

A submission to this week’s photo challenge :Anticipation

It’s that time of year when Christmas is approaching fast. Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas and each year as part of the anticipation of this most important event we put up  decorations in early December. Even though the glitz and glamour could be said to overwhelm the true meaning of the season- it is nonetheless a great way to signal that this important event is on it’s way.

Living here in Tanzania, a long way from family it is a touch stone to the life we lived before we came here, even if the equatorial heat makes Christmas a bit different to a British Christmas.

So for this submission the focus is Christmas.

A year ago we were anticipating and then welcoming our mums to Tanzania.

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This year with no family visits and with our son back in the UK at University we’re doing something a bit different for which you will need to read the next submission.

Happy Christmas to all who read this post.

Kingfisher Collection

Kingfishers are rare in the UK – I only saw my first Kingfisher back in the UK last summer.

Here in Tanzania they are much more common. Last week I saw a Woodland Kingfisher – thus completing the set of all those which can be seen in this part of Tanzania. All of these have been seen in our garden, apart from the Giant Kingfisher (seen in Kigoma) but resident here. However, not all of the photos were taken in the garden.

So here is the collection…..

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Woodland Kingfisher

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Grey-headed Kingfisher

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Pygmy Kingfisher

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Malachite Kingfisher

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Pied Kingfisher

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Giant Kingfisher

Weekly Photo Chalenge: Chaos Reigned / Chaos Rained

A contribution to this week’s photo challenge on the theme  of Chaos. Taken just over a year ago on the morning the heavy rains arrived just as people were heading of to work. The ensuing torrents of water turned roads into rivers and chaos reigned (and rained!).

So far we have not had a repeat – the rains though probably now started have been overnight, but they are getting heavier – it’s only a matter of time before chaos reigns again.

My new favorite place

When we were back in the U.K. in the summer we invested in a couple of hammocks. Costing just £11.99  from Amazon these have been amazing. Made of parachute material and complete with two carabiners and two pieces of rope they have been really easy to set up. 

We have strung one from the rafters of our veranda. 

It’s a great place to relax after work or at the weekend. For me it provides a new perspective on the garden.


This is very much my new favorite place.

Purple Patches

All along our journey from Mwanza to the Usambara Mountains -the landscape remained arid and dusty; yellows and browns the predominant palette. However breaking up the colourscheme throughout, the Jacaranda trees providing eye catching purple patches across the plains, mountains and valleys of Northern Tanzania. In the Usambara they flower against a greener landscape. They herald the yet unseen rains and will continue to flower until Christmas before returning to their usual green for another year.

Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O of Life

We are approaching the end of the dry season here and have the odd storm – but water still remains scarce away from the Lake. This summer we have had constructed a bird bath, comprising a wheel hub, pole and some metal prongs it resembles a hat stand but the bind lid sitting upon the prongs reveals it’s true purpose. It took several weeks to attract it’s first customers but is now in use by birds of all sizes including the Yellow-billed Black Kites which swoop in for a drink.


Other birds include house sparrows, yellow-vented bulbuls, african thrushes and red-billed fire finches, a grey-headed kingfisher- all seeking H2O

Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O (of Life)

We are approaching the end of the dry season here and have the odd storm – but water still remains scarce away from the Lake. This summer we have had constructed a bird bath, comprising a wheel hub, pole and some metal prongs it resembles a hat stand but the bin lid sitting upon the prongs reveals it’s true purpose. It took several weeks to attract it’s first customers but is now in use by birds of all sizes including the Yellow-billed Black Kites which swoop in for a drink.


Other birds include house sparrows, yellow-vented bulbuls, african thrushes and red-billed fire finches, a grey-headed kingfisher- all seeking H2O

Beautiful Bougainvillea

The rains are imminent – in fact three storms have come and gone – nothing on the scale that is to come, but a sign things are changing.

Even so the ground remains parched and yellow, dusty and dry – the exception being the Bougainvillea which is in bloom at this time and throughout the dryest time of the year and provides a welcome splash of colour to the garden.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge (of Glass)

Why is glass green when viewed edge on? I wondered this today as I looked at the glass slats on the windows of our Tanzanian home. 

Google is a great resource for such trivia. It seems the colour is a result of iron impurities which impart a slight green tinge to most glass – the colour is amplified at the edge as you peer through a much thicker layer through  it’s length.

Apparently the iron is a legacy of the manufacturing process as it lubricates the passage of molten glass across  the smooth surface of molten tin during the formation of glass sheets. The only way to ensure flat glass!


So here is a submission to this week’s photo challenge edge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Saturday) Morning (Tanzania)

A contribution to this week’s photo challenge : Morning

A typical Saturday Morning in Tanzania involves a pot of fresh brewed coffee in a Cafetière – sat on the Verandah and watching the birdlife.

Slipping Right Back In?

I am not sure what I expected upon our return visit to the UK this summer but I’m pleasantly surprised that for me at least it is very much a case of picking up where I left off in 2014. I imagined that there might be a greater discontinuity or even culture shock but it hasn’t as yet been manifest.

Perhaps the effects of Social Media, FaceTime, the BBC News App on my phone and a 4G has meant that a tenuous link to the UK remained even though I was well off the beaten track in Mwanza.
We are in the midst of a week long return to MK and yesterday had a great time catching up with old friends at St Mary’s Bletchley. Whilst much had changed in the Church Yard, it seemed to us that it was very much the same SMB we left in 2014. It was good to be part of that community again.  MK itself seems little different – a few new buildings in this ever changing new city but familiar nonetheless. 
We have all got older of course and the changes are most apparent in the friends of our children and in the older folk we have met. Even so most people are as they were. Here lies the most obvious difference. 

I suppose the past two years for us have opened us to a very different way of life and a plethora of experiences. Yet perhaps outwardly we have changed little too other than a slight tan and the use of a few expat colloquialisms. Yet sitting here in MK, we are visitors, curious onlookers no longer residents.

I wonder whether the longer we are away from Britain, the bigger the differences will become.

WPC – Look Up To The Skies

A submission to this week’s photo challenge :Look Up – looking up to see the birdlife around us in Tanzania and across Africa.

One Year On (Day 1 – Mwanza to Dar Es Salaam)

A year ago today – our epic trip across Africa.

We are up at 5:30am in order to get the taxi to the Airport. The usual scans and searches at this provincial airport. Small as it is there are still two places where we need to remove shoes and ele…

Source: Day 1 – Mwanza to Dar Es Salaam

I’ll Miss…. The Birdlife

Term’s over, school’s out and soon we’ll be out of Africa.

Not for ever ….. but for a couple months whilst we return to the UK. Here is a short series on some of the things I’ll miss whilst we’re gone.

It may not be a surprise to those who follow this blog regularly that the birdlife has been a major part of the experience here. You can find out more by clicking on the link below and working forward. A Bird a Day in June

 

I’ll Miss…. The Weather

Term’s over, school’s out and soon we’ll be out of Africa.

Not for ever ….. but for a couple months whilst we return to the UK. Here is a short series on some of the things I’ll miss whilst we’re gone.

It rarely falls below 20°C here in Mwanza – and generally day-time temperatures hover between 25°C and 30°C – so I’m not looking forward to the ‘cold’ of the British Summer – let alone the rain.

I’m hoping for a heat wave back in Britain – otherwise it’s lots of sweaters and long sleeved tops – something I have hardly ever had to wear here.

We are now firmly in the Dry Season so not looking forward to the wet either.IMG_5498

 

A Bird A Day (The ones that got away) – Day 34 : Marabou Stork

Day 34 of a series illustrating some of the fantastic birds we see here on Lake Victoria and across Tanzania. Sadly there weren’t enough days in June – so here are some of the birds which got away.

Marabou Stork

Other Storks

I’ll Miss …. Lake Victoria

Term’s over, school’s out and soon we’ll be out of Africa.

Not for ever ….. but for a couple months whilst we return to the UK. Here is a short series on some of the things I’ll miss whilst we’re gone.

Lake Victoria affords some amazing views. It might be full of Bilharzia and polluted, but is scenically beautiful, whether from Tunza, Talapia, Malaika, Yung Long, Wag Hill, Jembe Beach, Papa’s or Igombe it’s lovely to sit by the Lake, the gentle breeze blowing cooling air, watch the nature and relax. Sunsets are awesome.