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Tanzania

Rendez vous

For the second time we meet friends from Tanzania, who usually stop at schiphol on their annual homeleave to the US. Hami was one of Tareks best friends in Darand although they have some problems communicating at first mostly because of hamis jetlag, they quickly play together as before.

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Lazy at the beach

We celebrated Easter at the Lazy Lagoon together with grandparents. Miko had her first experience with the Indian Ocean which unsurprisingly she enjoyed very much.

opa and i
Miko studying wave action

Hamna Umeme

Until a few days ago we have been relatively lucky, compared to fellow residents in other parts of Dar es Salaam. But alas, yesterday the power was off from 18:00 to 23:00 and today from 8:30 until time of publication (20:45). I do hope it will come back at 23:00. If I believe colleagues our neighbourhood is facing a period of extensive generator use. This is annoying as particularly the neighbours’ generators make a lot of noise and our 16 KV generator uses about 2 liters of diesel an hour. But regular power  is essential to keep breast milk frozen and to keep washing machines and more importantly fans going.

After the elections the power supply got pretty unstable for which several reasons were given. The nicest and official story was that a technician from the (state owned) electrical company TANESCO pressed the infamous red button, which caused a chain reaction of short circuits. The fragile electric system has not yet recuperated, but the technician went to jail. The other more heard story is that all water reservoirs were drained to generate enough power for everyone, before elections. Since 1963 Tanzanians always vote for the CCM party and the party was afraid people would vote for the opposition if there was no power. Now there is no more hydro power and the entire country is on a power rationing scheme.

If Tarek now sees a generator he points and says umeme (power).

Hot in Dar es Salaam

Miko is now three weeks. She has adapted quite well in the hot, humid air that now surrounds us. Quite a change compared with the dry cold weather 1 week ago. She has a heat rash and her eye is a bit fuzzy but overall she looks healthy, drinks loads of milk and and now weighs 3,8 kg (up 0,3 from birth). She also experienced her first traffic jam. We went to Oyster Bay and tried to buy as many consumables possible. Now the fridge looks pretty full. It is a shame we forgot to bring Crombach appelstroop as Tarek really likes it, so if anybody feels the urge to send a package….

Thanks to Cecilia and Leonarda the house was pretty clean upon our arrival. Today the last basic facility (internet) was restored, so we have a 100% working household again. Water was the major missing factor, the pump had to be replaced. The batteries of car and generator survived our stay in the Netherlands (!?).

Selous Game Reserve

Three nights in Africa’s largest protected area, the Selous Game Reserve. With 50.000 km2 about 1,5 times the size of the Netherlands. Some 95% of the park is not accessible for the public, only for hunters that want to shoot an elephant or a lion for a couple of thousand USD. The park is dissected by the Rufiji river and the tourists are concentrated in some 500 km2 north of the river. My contract is finished in 2 months so it might be our last safari. As Tarek is so fond of animals we had to go. Mayas pregnancy was of concern but in the end we decided to take a little risk on the bumpy roads. Afterwards we are happy with the choice.

We went with my colleague Catherine and daughter Janice in a land-cruiser hardtop from Goba Tours. It was a six hour drive including break, 150 km of tarmac road from Dar es Salaam to Kibiti, than 30 km of good dirt road, followed by 70 km of bad dirt road. The lodge where we were supposed to spend three night was not much more than an open spot in the forest with three tents. It was quickly decided that this was not the ideal place for young children. We moved to Jimbiza lodge, a bit expensive but generally nice and beautifully situated on the river and 10 minutes from the main gate.

On the first day we drove for about 6 hours in the park. Mainly along the many lakes and arms of the river. We saw many hippo, crocodile, waterbirds, kudu, water-buck, wildebeest and the usual thousands of impala, giraffes and zebra. Only one elephant and three lions. James, our guide, explained that because of the serious poaching the animals were rather shy. Particularly the elephants kept far away from human activity. The main attraction was the pack of African wild dogs (10) sleeping under a tree. Selous is one of their last sanctuaries and I was very glad to still see them before they will be extinct in 30 years or so. In the late afternoon we went on a boat-safari to watch even more hippo and crocodile while the sun set behind the Udzungwa Mountains. On the second day we stayed in the drier northern part of the park, according to my GPS we even past the boundary into the adjacent Mikumi National Park. We did not see very different animals but mainly a different landscape. Some lions with a dead wildebeest and elephants in the distance crossing the Rufiji.

African Wild Dogs
African Wild Dogs in Selous

We had packed several games but we were to tired in the evenings to play any. Probably the bumping in the car is to tiring as you constantly have to strain your muscles. Also Tarek has suddenly developed a sleeping problem. Two weeks ago you could put him to bed and say bye and off he went. Now he gets seriously distressed and forces us (read Maya) to stay with him until he sleeps. No more tent for Tarek. But in general he was OK and Catherine already said she is considering to go on another trip with us.

The last morning the kitchen made a chocolate birthday cake for Maya and we sang ‘Happy birthday’ at breakfast. At 15:00 we were back on the compound.