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January, 2011:

A swim, a friend and a nap

Today Hein and Maya took me to the school Maya used to work at. All the askari were nice and there were some people I knew playing hockey. And there were a few people who had never seen my sister before so they looked at her for a bit. Then we went to the place I wanted to go to: the pool. And soon after Hein and I jumped in, someone I knew joined us. It was Hami. We recently shared a plastic pizza and some tomatoes at shule. Today we became even closer friends. Hami’s dad had made muffins too! Afterwards I was so tired I fell asleep in the car even though it was long before nap time. Hein and Maya took me to the supermarket but I can’t really remember any of that, I slept all the while.

This is me and my friend Hami walking to the car after we swam together.

Winds of change

Or ‘Dust in the wind’. Or ‘Blowing in the wind’.

All of the above equally apply as titles for this entry. Clouds are gathering. The wind is getting stronger and occasionally coming from a very weird direction – the only side of the house that we don’t have windows. Driving around there is the occasional water droplet falling on the windscreen. If I remember correctly the rains will not start until a month and a half from now but obviously the build up to the masika (=long rains as opposed to the mvuli, short rains) has started. Unfortunately, the garden already looks dried up and it’s due to get drier still. One Oil palm tree seems to have given up resistance to the wind and drought. In one day approximately 7 of its leaves broke off.
palm tree
A combination of wind and drought?


If you don’t know what scatology means, I suggest you look it up. You’ve been forewarned!

Yesterday we discussed that Tareks’ potty training is going really well. He used maybe 5 nappies over the whole weekend. He duly walked to the grass every time he needed to pee. We should tell shule about it so he can continue his training there. Or should we?

I woke up this morning to find Tarek standing in semi squat by the bed. This normally means it’s time to change him – which is what Hein did. As it was early we all tried to get a few more minutes of sleep. Before getting up I noticed Tareks hand smelled of poo. Hein took Tarek to wash his hands. I fed Miko and changed her nappy. There was some poo but from her kicking I could tell there was more to come. Before I could put her clean nappy on she peed over me and then spat up some of the milk I had just fed her. I returned to the bedroom to find a bit of Tareks’ poo on the sheet that was clean yesterday morning. Nothing that a wet wipe couldn’t fix. All this to the sound of a wailing Tarek, wanting to use a specific cup to be filled with a specific liquid by his own specific hands. I continued the breastfeeding session and sure enough, Mikos’ facial muscles and legs tensed and there was the sound of a clean nappy being filled with a mustard like substance. Changed her again. Meanwhile Hein had managed to make some breakfast. There were some other incidents of particular kids not wanting a particular food etc, but nothing special for a Tuesday morning. Leonarda arrived and she managed to get some food into Tarek. When he went to get dressed he came running back and said: “Look Maya, poopoo”. The sheet on the bed we changed him on was smeared with the stuff. Even the sheet underneath smelled of it. Nothing that the washing machine can’t fix. Heins’ coffee done, he’s off to work. Tarek has clothes (and a nappy!), sunscreen lotion and mosquito repellent on, his bag with drink and snack (and a clean nappy!) is waiting for him. All that is left to do is wait for the car that takes him to school which is often late. Then Tarek goes back to semi squat position. It’s 8 o clock, his ride is on time today.

The Bean

Yesterday we came back from a weekend at South Beach. We spent 2 nights in a house on a bluff called fish eagle bluff: Ras Kiroko. As the house has the shape of a bean when you look from above it is aptly called ‘The Bean’. There were 6 kids and as many adults. We played in the sand, hunted for crabs and consumed lots of food from the braai. On the way back we were home in 70 minutes, a record. Hein claims that’s because I drove like a maniac. I think we just got lucky with the ferry and traffic. Find more photos on the solum Tanzania page in excursions 2011.

naughty waves
Those naughty waves tried to catch Tarek

That’s what friends are for

After two weeks I’m starting to get used to going to shule. This is the morning routine:

  • I wake up and tell Hein and Maya what I want for breakfast. Porridge most of the time.
  • I eat my porridge while Hein and Maya try to have their showers, fix and eat breakfast and feed Miko all at the same time.
  • Leonarda arrives and she helps me get ready for shule.
  • Hein, Maya and I get into the car and we drop of Hein at the bajaj station on the corner.
  • Maya and I spend half an hour in traffic driving to shule. I know every advertisement on the way, as long as it contains an animal. I also know what bar is owned by Jackie, Jackie’s bar of course.
  • After we arrive Maya reads the ‘ten little penguins’ book with me (and the other kids who are interested) and then she leaves me to play.

And what do my parents do next?! They change the whole set up. I wondered why they kept talking about Kees but now I understand. This morning a driver pulled up a car and Kees was inside. Papa Kees put me in the other toddler seat and Maya started saying bye to me. That’s when I realised they were changing routines on me once again. No way I would allow that. Don’t they realise that in the past 3 months (that’s 12.5% of my life you know!) they have:

  1. taken my mother away from me for a week;
  2. put me in a plane to whisk me off to the Netherlands where I spent lots of time with Hein and Maya;
  3. dumped me twice a week in a nursery where I then had to stay a whole day without someone I knew;
  4. introduced me to lots of fun friends and family that gave me loads of presents;
  5. enlarged our family with Miko, allowing less attention for me;
  6. took me away from all of it again to bring me back to my old but changed life;
  7. dumped me in another shule where, again, they left me alone.

Did they really think I would let them get away with that? NO WAY! I don’t care that my friend Fenna has been going to shule by herself for two years already. I don’t care that Kees likes the place so much. Hein and Maya will have to learn that they can’t forever be changing my life. Dumping me in a car with Kees and his driver? I don’t think so. And so I wailed. I shouted ‘Maya mee, Maya mee, Maya mee’ until Maya squeezed in between the two childrens seats and even a little after that.

Even before we had made it out of the street I was fine again. And then Kees told me: ‘Tarek you don’t have to cry when we go to school because there are lots of friends there. So don’t cry when we go ok?’ Both my mother and Jonne, papa Kees, were very impressed with Kees. In Dutch they say: Ik denk er het mijne van…. I’m not so sure just yet. But Bob Marley might have a point: every little thing, is gonna be all right.

meeting Kees

This is August 2009, when they introduced me to Kees. Kees also likes lions.