Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Scenes from the school house this week

Our largest tree in the backyard - we discovered that it is crawling with termites this week :(
There was much laughter about the poor fundi in the rainwater tank cleaning it out... in complete darkness.
 Our lovely nativity scenes.
 We have been playing Christmas tree bingo.
On a Friday afternoon we are opening up the school to provide support for those families in Arusha who are home schooling. They are able to come and talk about educational and to borrow resources that we may have, and it is a chance for the children to socialise in a school setting.
There are a lot of home schooled children in Arusha whose parents are working here in all sorts of roles, but the cost of sending them to a school offering an (English speaking) international curriculum is too high.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The unpacking of the MAG container

A post that will be of interest to a certain few...
Today Andrew went to Christ Church Cathedral, the Anglican church in the center of Arusha, to help with the unpacking of a MAG container that held some equipment for AB and Stephanie.

The morning kept to Tanzanian time...

and there was a lot of heavy lifting and sorting.
Above are the boxes (and ultrasound machine!!) Andrew managed to fit into the van to bring home with him.

Mr Chameleon kept a eye on the process.

Below are the boxes for the school Stephanie. We will enjoy unpacking them tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Very generous

We visited the Station again yesterday after one of my blog readers, Sanford, left some gifts for the school there. He was in Arusha for a week for his mother's 70th birthday.

Sanford left some certificates for the school to use (they are fantastic!), a pen for me that has a light on it (very handy), and a box of candy he collected in the US during Halloween.
Oliver's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw it.

While we were at the Station we ended up eating and eating - lots of delicious Indian food.
I tried masala tea for the first time and really enjoyed it.

Thank you Sanford.

Arusha street scenes

Above: pineapples are in season and there are mkokoteni full of them all over the city.
Below: an ice cream seller on Sokoine Road.

Above: busy corner opposite the Shoprite complex.
Below: Saturday morning on Sokoine Road.

Above: behind the Mt Meru post office - one of Arusha's 3(?) Chinese restaurants.
Below: a very narrow (and scary) bridge we drive across when taking 'the back way' to avoid the traffic in town.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Scenes from the school house this week

 As we only have two and a half weeks left until we break for the holidays we have begun some Christmas craft and learning about the Christmas story.
 Our experiments with water continue.

 The students' favourite game this week has been creating rivers through the sandpit.
The large swimming pool rainwater tank in the backyard now has a lid on it. Hopefully the pipes will all be connected next week.

Monday, November 19, 2012


or moving road blocks.

If you have ever driven through Arusha you will have encountered a mkokoteni (a person pulled cart). They are quite a hazard. They tend to take up half a lane, blocking traffic or causing impatient drivers to do crazy things to pass them.
However, I admire the strength and endurance of the men who negotiate them around the city, delivering impossibly heavy loads.

A mkokoteni costs about 2000Tsh ($1.50) to hire. And apparently they are all registered with their own number (although I'm not sure who would keep a check on such a statistic).

Today Danieli and David (one of the guards from the school house) hired one to collect bags of chicken poo (mbolea) for the school's front yard.

I of course was keen to get a photo of one close up, and Danieli was keen to jump on board and pose.


Everywhere you go in Tanzania there are hair salons (or saloons as they are commonly misspelled). But they are not of the hair cutting variety, but for hair braiding.

Tanzanian ladies spend a lot of their pay on their hair if they are able to. Magdalena told me that if a woman has some money she would probably spend it on her hair rather than on food.

I have blogged about dreadlocks before, but here is a run down on the types of hairstyles you can ask for when visiting a salon.

Twende kilioni - the hair is braided from front to back. This is a very popular style, and is especially seen on school girls. Schools may specify on how many rows a student may wear to school - a little bit like a uniform creating equality.
mbili kichwa - 2 rows, tatu kichwa - 3 rows, tano kichwa - 5 rows, asab kichwa - seven rows

Below: Upendo has twende kilioni

Kilimanjaro - braided so it meets at the top (like a mountain)

Kilimanjaro upande - braided so the 'mountain top' is on the side of the head.

Bob Marley (bob) - parted in the middle with weaves that fall on both sides of the head.

Mdomo wa kuku - the braiding points begin at one of the temples and finish at the back of the head (diagonal pattern)

Below: Upendo's hair braided in the mdomo wa kuku style

Jongoo - small spiral braids (like a millipede)

Rasta or Mabutu - 3 lines of hair extensions are plaited onto the original hair.

Below: Paskalina has a mabutu style.

Twisti - 2 lines of hair extensions are joined to the original hair.

Below: Magdalena has hair extensions joined to her already existing dreadlocks

Mapande - random (shagalabagla) lines of braiding.

Vijiji vitatu - literally translated as 3 villages.
Above: Rachel's hair is braided into '3 villages'

Mabutu - braiding that stands up all over the head in tufts.

Kiduku - what I would describe as a mohawk.

 Above and below: kiduku

Yeboyebo - (this one I think is the most difficult for me to understand, although apparently I see it all the time) hair extensions are joined and braided into the original hair and the style is sewn together.

Each week as the ladies at work change their hair I'll endeavour to photograph it and add the pictures to this post.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Scenes from the school house this week

This week, in honour of Oliver's birthday, we were treated to a performance by the Tanzanian ladies. Andrew helped out by playing a drum, and Oliver was 'given a promotion' and was allowed to sit on a chair.
I accidentally deleted my favourite song/dance from my iPhone and so far have found no program that can recover it :(

I have literally been gritting my teeth as Magdalena teaches the children some notes on the recorder and tin whistle.
Continuing on our ocean theme we made crabs out of some of the hundreds of jacaranda seed pods found in the yard, and have been watching the process of evaporation and creating salt crystals.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Making chapatis

Philly, this is the recipe we have been using, shown to us by Paskalina.

It is not an exact science. It is all estimates.

3 cups of plain flour, 1/3 cup of oil and 2 dessert spoons of sugar.
 Knead into a dough adding water when necessary.
 Roll out into 'snakes' and then twirl them as below. Paskalina says it gives the chapati a better shape.
 Ours never roll out into the perfect circle that hers do.
 Cook in a pan, lightly brushing each side with some oil. You don't need very much on them at all.
We put ours in the oven to keep warm as we are cooking, but the Tanzanians use a plastic bag which works just as well (perhaps even better).
For our beans we grate a carrot very finely and lightly fry it with some green capsicum. Then the beans are added with some water. If we were organised we would be soaking our beans overnight etc., but usually it is a couple of cans of red kidney beans :)
Then any sort of spices can be added (usually a teaspoon of curry powder) and some Mchuzi mix. Unfortunately I don't think you will be able to get anything like it in Australia. It is a gravy mix that is bright orange/red in colour any doesn't really have any sort of meat flavour... more tomato like.

Camping safari - Oliver & Andrew

Oliver and Andrew went camping on the weekend out into Maasai land. The middle of nowhere really. About 100km from Arusha.
It was a father and son camping trip, so the girls and I had the luxury of dry beds - it rained on and off all weekend.

Travelling along the Arusha/Nairobi highway.

Below: the town of Longido

Above: Ol Doinyo Lengai