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Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam zoo

How come we only visited the zoo now, when we’re about to leave Tanzania? It was spacious. Most cages were much larger than the cages in the Amsterdam zoo. There was an amazing playground and we had a nice picnic in the shade. Surely it was the only time I ever visited a zoo where there was a wild monkey looking at the monkeys eating fruit inside the cage.

Going back with the ferry everything went very smoothly. We were home at 14:15 [Hein requested I insert specific travel time: 1 hour and 15 minutes], 15 minutes later than Christel, Kristian, Hannah and Elmer. As they drove through Mbagala we now know that it’s faster to go by road than by ferry.
zoo
Picnic of couscous salad on freshly bought bread

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

Explosions in Dar es Salaam

Wednesday at around 21:30 we were playing a nice game of pandemic (that we lost) and could hear multiple  explosions. They sounded like roars so we assumed it was thunder. When a friend called claiming there were no clouds in the sky we started doubting our assumption. More roars followed and we actually had a social gathering with our neighbors speculating what was happening. An askari came with the story of an army depot that exploded. This made sense because another depot had blown up almost two years ago.  I read now in the papers that in total 23 adjacent depots blew up. Our neighbor says the depots contained the bombs that were not used in the war with Uganda (1978-79). The explosions could be heard until 25 km from the site. Yesterday the government announced 30 people died, later revising this amount to 20. The BBC mentioned reports of over a hundred, which does not sound surprising considering the volume of the explosions heard from our house, some 15 km away from the blasts. The army is mounting a house to house search for unexploded bombs scattered in the surroundings, but they claim ‘the situation has normalized’. To me this sounds a bit exaggerated as they probably have no clue of what was in the depot, where it has gone and who lived in the surroundings. The army launched an investigation though and the president calls it a national tragedy. Unfortunately, I could not find any maps in the various newspapers.

Some links: BBC and CNN

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).

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.