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Africa

The not so nice parts about living in the tropics

As life’s so busy, I’ve been trying to find ways to free up some time for Leonarda and Cecilia. The house is gradually getting dirtier as it is hard for them to find time to do more than the regular things. I must admit that Cecilia did manage to clean the very dusty windows of the living room three days ago. I try to do my part, endless loads of laundry. I try to find chores that can be done less often or less intensively. One of the things that seem to take a lot of Cecilia’s time is ironing the clothes. And as all the ironing seems to be ‘wearing out’ our clothes I suggested she stops ironing some items. In the tropics there are flies that lay their eggs on laundry after which the larvae burrow into skin. Nice parasite this tumbu fly. The way to prevent it is to iron all clothes, especially things that stay damp for a while (bra straps, belt parts of pants etc.). I have heard that it is not to be found in Dar es Salaam but after the bit of research I carried out this morning I think I suggest to Cecilia she does go back to ironing each and every garment that’s been outside. I’d rather do more work in the household than have a bug crawl into one of our family members.

Why tourists avoid Zimbabwe

The Minister of Tourism of Zimbabwe on the reasons why tourists that go to Ghana don’t also go to Zimbabwe:

Africa used to be a unity, Africa used to present itself as one entity. But then the scramble for Africa (jmc: between 1880 and 1910 Africa was divided by the powers from Europe) partitioned us both culturally and linguistically. We now have to start presenting ourselves as one again.”

If I heard him correctly he said that tourists used to visit the whole of this vast continent, before 1880 (pretty much the peak of mass tourism wasn’t it?). All Africans shared the same culture and the same language. But when the Europeans colonized Africa they divided up the people. Now they all speak different languages, it’s the story of Babel revisited. Colonization caused even more problems than I was aware of. Next time when someone tells me that ‘we Africans do this or that in such and such a way’ or that ‘Africans are really bad at so and so’ I’ll try not to get irritated and will not mention the fact that there are probably many differences between Algerians and Zimbabweans. I now realise that people that say such things are all part of the movement Pan-African movement – all rallying behind Mr Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Rumble in the Jungle

It’s been 35 years since the Rumble in the Jungle.

Plans and drought

Hein is gone. He’s spending 3 weeks working in Wageningen. Seems as if ever since I’ve started work I’ve single mummed approximately 50% of the time. In any case, so much that I feel I’m becoming quite an expert. Or does the expertise stem from the fact that we now have 2 ladies working here? I’m almost ashamed to admit it so I’ll note down a few excuses:
My schedule changes every day, some days start at 7:15, others not until 12:30.
Working part time as a teacher is, as many teachers know, fiction. Especially if you’re expected to be in the school every day.
I want to try to do the job well.
I want Tarek to be cared for.
I like the house to be clean when I get home.
I hate rushing. Considering the traffic in this city rushing home is also fiction.

Maybe the above will help me convince myself of the fact that it’s ok to have both Cecilia and Leonarda working here every day.
There has been no rain recently. The house is dusty and the garden looks like a desert. Even the palm trees are in trouble, they are so dry it just takes a nasty crow to break their leaves. And boy do the crows like to break palm leaves. Many parts in East Africa, including Tanzania, are suffering from a bad drought. But as this year is an El Nino year, there may be flooding ahead. Everyone is bracing themselves. My neighbor told me her family in Nairobi is already stocking up on rain gear, remembering that during previous El Nino year it rained and rained and rained for days on end. Rainy season quadrupled. If that happens in Dar making it to work on time might become a challenge. But that being the biggest of my worries I know I’m lucky. Oxfam has just requested for $15 million for food aid in East Africa.

Both Cecilia and Leonarda have gone home. It’s time I focus my attention on Tarek. Soon it’ll be his dinner and bath time. He normally goes to sleep around 18:30 and sleeps until 6 in the morning, so the evenings are easy. I prepare work and watch an episode of … Ooo. He just managed to topple the fire extinguisher. Phew. It didn’t fall on top of him. It’s obviously baby tending time.

South Africa Elections pt 2

It is quite clear now, theoratically no absolute majority. Bring them machine guns!
rsa elections
South African elections 2009 (25/04/2009 BBC 15:45 GMT)