Tag Archives: home

A Place to Lay Your Head

Accommodation is provided by the school, rent free. We are lucky to live in a great house on the compound and we really like it. Having said all that the sofa has always been a little uncomfortable, wooden arms and thin foam seats make your arms ache and your bum numb fairly quickly.

In the UK we had an L-shaped corner sofa which allowed us to lay out and relax of an evening. It’s one of the things we miss.IMG_5570

At Easter whilst traveling through Uganda we came across this great coffee place in Mbale, for seating they used pallets stacked and topped with foam cushions – the seating was great.

06 Mbale (31)

So we had an idea- find some pallets and get a ‘Fundi’ to make some cushions – hey presto a new (and cheap) sofa.

The first thing we needed was to source the pallets. A chance conversation with the husband of a colleague gave us a solution. His company regularly receive goods on pallets and they were just thrown away. So we arranged that next time pallets were delivered we would get some.

I arrived home last Friday to find a stack of pallets in the garden – so game on!

The first job was to arrange the pallets into a frame upon which to make the sofa.

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Saturday, we headed to town to find material to make the cushions – there is a place to buy foam nearby and we started there.

Sadly the foam was completely inappropriate and we moved on – as we did so we exchanged greeting with a guy who turned out to be a businessman who in cconversation it turned out knew a man who knew a man who knew a man who could make our furniture. Through a series of meetings over the next hour we arranged to have the furniture made at a very reasonable cost.

Our guy knew where to get the best foam and good sofa covering – so over the next two hours we went around town procuring the materials.

Our fundi (a word meaning worker) was able to construct the sofa over two days and so it began. He brought across his manual sewing machine and over the two days he modified the pallets, cut the foam and made the covers.

Mwanza Dust!

The first thing we have noticed on our return here to Mwanza is the dust and the heat.

It was particularly noticeable after the cool and lush weather of Moshi earlier in the week.   

  

 It obviously hasn’t rained here for many weeks it seems. 

   
Different too to the humidity and heat of Dar Es Salaam and the dry of Malawi, Zambia and Botswana. There is no cool bite to the morning weather and no autumnal feel up here so close to the equator. No bare branched trees, no gold, russet and red leafed bushes. 

    
    
    
   
I like the heat here and the birdsong which seems more intense here than anywhere else in our journey – even Lake Malawi/Nyassa.

Unwelcome here is the complete lack of water pressure which had put a hold on showers and frustrated attempts to plough through a mound of much needed washing.

It’s quiet here on the compound. Just us and one other colleague now. Our neighbours moved out to Uganda yesterday. Other houses await new tenants or the return of their occupants after travels abroad.

It’s strange not to be moving on from place to place. Nice to be doing nothing.

I loved the journey through Africa but now we are very much in Mwanza and very much home!

Christmas In A Foreign Land

Our first Christmas Overseas was strange to begin with but ultimately great. Usually Christmas Day is spent with either Anita’s family or Graham’s. So this first Christmas in Tanzania was always going to be different. The weather added to the unusualness of the day with high temperatures throughout.

We tried to keep up as many traditions as possible. The day started with stockings for the kids – though the lack of Satsumas and the limited range of little gifts made for depleted stockings overall. Then it was breakfast, as usual we indulged in our Christmas Breakfast of Kidneys and Bacon. The former Beef Kidney from the local butcher and the latter expensively purchased from the nearby supermarket at price of 11000 TZS (over £3). We also added in Oyster Mushrooms (somewhat cheaper at 5000 TZS), our first fresh mushrooms since our arrival.

After Breakfast we opened our presents. Many of these were vouchers for electronic downloads, these were a welcome addition to the physical presents which we had for each other and thanks to my Sister-in-Law. Whether real or virtual we thank all our relatives for their kindness – thank you emails / letters will follow in due course. We are looking forward to choosing and downloading our Books, Music and / or Videos in the coming days.

One major frustration was the internet. Our WiFi contract ran out at 10am, as we had used all our data. Not only did this prevent us from immediately downloading anything from our Christmas Gifts, but also destroyed any chance of a FaceTime chat with my family scheduled for noon. As we scrambled around to sort out an update the remaining 3G connection was too slow to support either video or audio and we gave up. Meanwhile Anita managed to source a top up from the local duka (shop), then embarked on the process of adding credit to the modem (not a straight forward process).

Then began the process of peeling, chopping and preparing vegetables for our shared compound Christmas Dinner.

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Four families were going to gather together for a meal, along with relatives from the UK. We created some of our traditional family favorites including Mulled Red Cabbage (courtesy of a smuggled in red cabbage, locally sourced beetroot an apples and red wine with Zanzibar spices!) and Carrots with Orange and Coriander as well as Roast potatoes, ratatouille and peas. Others brought pork and Chicken together with stuffing, sausage meat, parsnips etc. We were also on puddings, the planned Compote of Oranges morphed into Spiced Orange and Plums due to the variability and poor quality Oranges we had. Even so it was delicious as was the Ginger and Mango upside down cake! Others brough Christmas Pud and Ice Cream as well as Chocolate Hedgehog. All in all a great feast  by 18 people in our living room (the largest on the compound ).  A power cut and heavy rain did nothing to spoil a great meal.

After dinner  (and washing up!) we embarked on an afternoon / evening of games including Wink Murder, the Elephant Game, the Chocolate Game and the the Cereal Box Challenge. These were all great silly fun helped by some wine, Kantagi and Amarula to liven up proceedings (in moderation of course!). All in all it was a fabulous party and for all of us made being far from home and loved ones a little less difficult, also creating closer bonds between the different family groups.

After everyone had gone home it was a chance to watch Doctor Who on iPlayer at 9:15pm local time. Sadly although we had restored our WiFi there was so little bandwidth that it kept buffering resulting in an unwatchable program. We resorted to downloading overnight for watching on Boxing Day. A Christmas tradition delayed!

There was however enough Bandwidth to allow us the chance to FaceTime my family again (Anita’s were sadly unreachable on Christmas Day, being away and out of reach of any form of broadband). It was great to speak properly and see everyone at home.

In the end Christmas here was a bit different to usual, but with a sprinkling of tradition and some new experiences to make the day better for all. We certainly miss our families but the ability to contact them using video chat makes things a lot easier.

We hope that all who read this blog wherever you are in the world have had a great Christmas and we wish you all (not for the last time) a Happy New Year!

A Zanzibar Nativity

A Zanzibar Nativity

Last Trip to Lincoln

T Minus 9

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Our grand tour continues as we make our way to Lincoln. Although not the place of my birth – it is the place I grew up in and now we have sold it is the closest thing to home there is (for now). A house I moved to in 1972 with lots of memories so a good place to reflect ahead of the move. I will feel the leaving of this place almost as much as my own home (perhaps more so as this was such a rush in the end).
It is a place I lived in until 1984, and came back to throughout the next four years whilst at University; rather like this visit with a tonne of washing (following our 10 days under canvas!). Even after 1988, it was still a home from home – especially in those years before 1993 when I bought my own house. Now we are homeless (in the UK) at least it has reverted to it’s prior role for the first time in 21 years.
Lincoln is the place I transitioned from
childhood through teens to adulthood; the place I became a Christian. Similarly MK was the place I transitioned from young adulthood to middle age; single to married to parenthood.
Life lived in phases (the seeds of another blog in that phrase alone!).
The next phase is rushing upon us – where will it lead and how will I (we) change?
For certain the next 5 years will see the transition in our family, as our kids finish school and start out on their own careers / university / college courses, becoming young adults (as I was when I left Lincoln). You never give up on being a parent but things will change, whether we go to Africa or not.

Our New Home

T Minus 19

This our new home …… for the next 10 days that is. ;-D.20140803-145946-53986775.jpg

Home From Home

T Minus 26

A second day in Lincoln, at the home I grew up in from the age of 6. It’s strange to think by the end of the week this will be the only house in the UK with which I can call home (I know I don’t own it but 42 years down the line I think it is very much my second home – the place you grow up is always your home whilst it’s still in your parents possession). We will return here once more before we leave for a few days mid-August.
It’s been a relaxing couple of days with Mum and my brother and his wife. The gorgeous hot weather has allowed us to eat al fresco. This morning we went to St George’s (my very first church) and though there were very few folk who were from my era it was nice to see some familiar faces and we were prayed out. Amazingly one of the members of the church (Lyn) used to work at Isamilo as a year 6 teacher. It’s such a small world! It was good get some insight into Mwanza.

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When does a home become a house?

T Minus 33

I think our home becoming house. Continue reading