Wednesday, August 3, 2011

AFRICAN WILDLIFE

I have been if Africa almost two months and the only wildlife I have seen are 3 monkeys on the roadside while driving to Lushoto.  That does not mean we do not hunt big game.  We have had 3 huge black spiders in our house that look like tarantulas.  We are told they are poisonous but don't like to be around people.  They are almost impossible to catch, since they can scoot over a whole wall in seconds and know where to hide.  They supposedly prefer abandoned houses and I haven't seen one in the last couple of weeks, so hopefully they moved on.

We also have several geckos we happily cohabit with, since they kill mosquitoes.  I am not on prophylaxis, but am ready with malaria test kits and have the pills for treatment.  Hopefully it will not get to that.  Mama Caritas came over with our mosquito nets that finally arrived from Mwanza, but they are the kind that need a frame so she will have to arrange a carpenter to build one.  Still waiting for our stove.

I got up around 4:30 a.m. yesterday and found Bree trying to sleep on the couch.  Apparently there was a huge rat on her bed.  The security guard came by later that morning carrying a kitten and Bree arranged to adopt it.  She named it Poa, which she says means "cool" in Swahili.  Unfortunately, she says the kitten is smaller than the rat, so we will have to wait till she grows some to be a rat catcher.  Meanwhile, one of the teachers from her school came over, found the rat, and killed it with a stick.  Bree is exhausted from ceding her room to the rat for 3 nights.

 Bree and Poa, our designated rat catcher

Sunday, July 31, 2011

MWANZA

Still no stove, mosquito net, or shower but we bought an electric tea kettle last weekend so are able to boil water for drinking, coffee, and sink baths.  We also found some ramen in the supermarket so we can have noodles, but I shudder to think of the sodium and other additives so we eat that sparingly.  Bree made a fabulous green banana curry at Rob's house and we helped her make chappatis, so we had one good dinner.  

We have also met some other ex pats from Womencraft, an NGO that sells baskets made by village women.  There is Amber from Washington, D.C., Elisa from Italy, Steven from Texas, and Megan from Colorado.  Unfortunately, Amber, Elisa and Steven are leaving shortly, so we went to their going away party soon after meeting them.  They live in a big house up in Murguanza, where Bree's school is.  They bought a whole goat to barbeque for the party and made, guacamole, pasta salad, tomato/onion salad, and marble cake.  Others at the party were the Lawlors, missionaries from Australia, and their 3 young children, and Rose, an ER doctor from Australia and her husband and two young daughters.  According to Rose, the doctors at the hospital pay no attention to her because she is a woman, so she gave up and is just home schooling her kids.  Seems like a real waste.  After the missionaries left with their kids, we had a beer contest.  We had blind taste testing of 7 Tanzanian beers.  Most of us had thought we liked Tusker best, but after blind testing, Castle and Kilimanjaro came in on top.  That has changed my beer consumption habits, but beer drinking is limited to when we go out to a bar or restaurant with a refrigerator for beer.  A lot of the Tanzanians drink warm beer, but I am not that desperate yet.

This weekend we went to Mwanza, the second largest city in Tanzania, which sits on the shores of Lake Victoria.  It is 10 hours away by bus, but Rob was able to arrange a ride for us in a Concern Toyota Landcruiser that was taking other staff to Mwanza.  Steve and Elisa also went along, on their way to Zanzibar before going home.  We were also joined by Vanya from Croatia, who has been in Ngara only a few days and didn't want to stay at Womencraft by herself.   Jacob and Katie, WorldTeach volunteers living near Serengeti, joined us in Mwanza as they live the other direction and it is a good meeting point.  So I was back sharing a room with Katie, just as we did in Lushoto.  We all had a good time shopping in the market and eating "real" food.  We had Indian and Chinese food, which is not available in Ngara, as well as pizza!

Steve from Texas and Elisa from Cinqterre, Italy on the Lake Victoria ferry to Mwanza


 The water was off Friday when we left and still off Sunday night when we returned.  Mama Caritas told us the plumber is supposed to come tomorrow, and maybe our stove, so I will stay home from school and hope for the best. 

Bree just started screaming.  She thought she had an itch on her bum for the last half hour, but a gecko (small lizard) was in her sweatpants!  We just say TIA (This is Africa!), although she added an F word in there.