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June, 2009:

Home

Home. The house was very dark when we arrived. The electricity credits had been finished since the previous day. I fed and changed Tarek by candle light while Hein drove through the area trying to find a working ATM or a place to change dollars to shillings and then to buy luku. We were both happily surprised with the car starting immediately.
Home. Does Tarek recognise it? The rooms and toys are met with a smile. He practically roared out with loving laughter upon seeing Cecilia. Even Nico, whom he did not see quite as often, was allowed to hold him even though he’d just woken up and is normally cranky when hungry as he was. Yesterday at what used to be crying hour, Alfons came by to greet and hold Tarek and was met with a vocal expression of joy. Just now, Tarek finished his jar of pumpkin and cauliflower enthusiastically after which he only drank a wee bit of milk. A great opportunity to express the left over milk for evening porridge. Except, there is no power.
Home. Trying to do the laundry, write an e-mail to the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (“this little boy did get his jabs, read my blog and don’t send me reminders please”) and entertain Tarek all at the same time I hear a loud crash. Very loud. Like all the people working on the compound (there’s an average of 6 during any given day) I run to the source of the sound. The light at our neighbour Olafs’ parking lot has changed dramatically. An old cashew tree split in two and one half fell down, draping itself around and, lucky for him, not on top of Olafs’ car. Did we mention that until the sixties of last century the compound used to be a cashew farm? There are many beautiful old trees that don’t bear too much fruit anymore but do give the compound a park like atmosphere. Most of the cashew trees are found in our garden, approximately 7 of them.
tree around car
Tree around car

We have to teach Tarek to be alone with Cecilia, in a months’ time I start working in the mornings. Teach Tarek? He doesn’t seem to mind at all. She puts him in his bouncy chair and he stares at her when she makes up the bed. He gets a bit cranky and she takes him on his back. He looks around him with bewildered eyes for a few minutes and then zonks out.
cecilia and tarek
Cecilia multitasks

The electricity comes back, I express some milk and turn on the computer. I know we have a website to tend to. This is a start no? We spent all day yesterday unpacking, clearing up and organising. In the evening we started work on the photographs. Even after deleting the ones that are not good, not sharp, et cetera we have over 400 photographs. We’ll get back to it tonight. Now there are no more beautifully light summer evenings to go for walks with Tarek in the stroller, or grandmothers to visit, or friends that cycle past our house to pay a quick visit that quickly turns into pizza on the little piazza. Such excuses are gone. We’re home. Or are we? Cecilia, seeing how happy Tarek is, claims he belongs in Tanzania. About Hein and me she wasn’t so sure.