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September, 2010:

All … people look alike

Alfonsi, our gardener and one of Tareks’ best friends if you go by the volume that Tarek shouts his name with, often works in the garden while wearing a cap. Consequently, whenever Tarek sees an African working in a grassy field wearing a cap he says ‘Fonsi’. Similarly, when he sees an African man with a red faded t-shirt Tarek will say ‘Habibu’, referring to the guard (and the clothes he works in) that often opens the gate for us.

I can live with those generalisations, even though I always correct Tarek when he makes them. I feel almost embarrassed when Hein makes such generalisations though. I remember when we just got to Tanzania and two days later he didn’t recognize William, the driver that picked us up from the airport (‘But you were wearing a cap then!’).  It was 23:00 at night and we had just spend 11 hours in a plane and William did indeed wear a cap then so we hardly saw his face but … no, not all black people look alike. I know that’s easy to say when yr a mixed chick that grew up in what was probably the most colourful part of  the Netherlands back then. I’ve mentioned to Hein that I wasn’t very impressed with his black peoples recognition skills, maybe even going so far as claiming it was rude because ‘Africans don’t make the same mistake towards you’.

And now for something completely different …. I will connect, no worries. Unfortunately Hein has gone back to an old habit: smoking. He claims he will go cold turkey as soon as he steps on the plane to the Nl in October so that he will be a non-smoking dad for T2. Everyday he goes to the little duka (= shop) across the road to buy himself 3 cigarettes. I assume he doesn’t buy a packet to keep the addictive monster somewhat under control. Every day. 3 Cigarettes. The same duka with the same guy selling them every time. Last week a British colleague of Hein walked to the same duka to buy a cigarette. Before he’d reached the duka, the guy had already turned around to grab 3 cigarettes. Guess what …. All white people look alike.

Uncertain no more…?

Yesterday evening Hein received an e-mail with a contract. Extension. It had already been somewhat clear for some time that probably it would be offered but now it’s real and we don’t have to worry about a source of income when T2 is born. If you want my advise: never become pregnant with an Expected Date of Delivery right when the contract to your only income expires. Hein and I stayed quite calm, considering the circumstances, but it was kind of hard having to tell the ladies that work here that we may need to lay them off. And when I saw the burst of energy that Hein got after things became clear I realised: we may have thought we remained zen about it all – tension was brewing regardless.

Another great source of uncertainty has been dealt with, the BBC told me this morning: finally The Netherlands has a government again.


red snapper

Guess what we’re having for dinner….


Finally, after losing 7 games in a row and with only one player card left we did it:

Victory with 6 virulent strain epidemics!

Some facts

  • The mongoose has not been chased away by Max (the neighbors’ cat that now epitomizes cats to Tarek to such an extend that all cats are Maxi) (Tarek has the Swahili tendency not to be able to end a word in a consonant). The mongoose may have changed its habits, it’s still very much there. I saw it yesterday with a nice snack: a brightly green colored snake close to a meter in length.
  • There is no need for people to worry about me (thanks for the concerned e-mails though). I may be tired but I have the luxury of being able to do absolutely nothing from time to time. And besides, I’m not so tired that I don’t make it to the gym twice a week.
  • Going to the gym with a highly pregnant belly is very funny, as people cannot help but stare unbelievingly.
  • If there is one person you should be concerned about it’s probably Hein, he has to put up with my sighs and complaints.
  • Tarek is in love with beans Tz style. The ladies that work here now believe that we cannot ever leave Tanzania or will have to cook Swahili food only from now on.
  • Tarek is also in love with old fashioned Dutch children songs. ‘Holland’ means ‘In Holland staat een huis’, when he cries ‘Hoog’ we have to sing ‘klap eens in je handjes’ and ‘Maan maan’ is our cue for ‘in de manenschijn’. And I could actually go on for a while (meisje: klein zigeunermeisje; kever: hansje pansje kevertje; etc.)
  • Now I stop typing as we’re going to play a board game. My favorite: Pandemic. We must learn how to beat the game with 6 virulent strain epidemics. Wish us luck.