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June, 2011:

What will be missed

Rereading the blog I have noticed I there are a few things I keep complaining about. Traffic, power and the internet connection. The car used to be a big sore but since we found a real good fundi that has passed. It’s clear that certain things will not be missed at all when we leave.
There are a lot of things that will be missed though. Call me crazy but I could eat wali maharage (rice and beans) every day. And I did for a long period. It can come with so many different green leafy vegetables that all translate to ‘spinach’. There is sweet potato leave, there is kisamvu (cassava leaf), there is sukuma wiki (lit: push the week, a vegetable that grows so fast that a week or 2 after planting you can eat it already) and then there is the true Tanzanian spinach: mchicha. Today the mchicha was so fresh and good I must have eaten a bunch and a half. This leaves little for Tarek, Leonarda and Cecilia but Tarek has the Tanzanian habit of eating hardly any vegetables at all so I don’t think they’ll mind too much.

wali maharage

His favourite women

Very occasionally Tarek will say ‘I don’t want to go to school’ in the morning. Every time I pick him up from school he will refuse to go home though. It normally takes a few minutes of coercing and many times the only way to get him to leave is to haul up his 13 kg’s and simply put him in the car. Currently it’s not normal school, it’s summer school he’s attending. Some of his favourite teachers are not there or only coming in occasionally. These favourite teachers are all Indian women. They have been replaced by other Indian women. And girls. Two weeks ago while trying to get him to come home an Indian girl walked in with her dad for registration at the summer school. Tarek immediately asked who she was. Something he doesn’t do with little boys or little girls of non Indian descent. The latest thing is that when I pick Tarek up from school I’ll find all his classmates around a table discussing the very hungry caterpillar and snacking on pieces of apple while I find Tarek separate from the group reading a book with a pretty Indian lady.

reading at school

Last news

We probably received the last fat enveloppe in Tanzania. Ever since we moved to Tanzania, my mother has been providing a careful selection of articles from the Dutch newspapers NRC and Volkskrant. Traditionally the articles have been on science, books, Dutch events, development and my favourite chess. Now also pictures for Tarek are included. Despite the fact that the content of the envelope was sometimes a month old, it was a very reliable news source, especially if combined with an Economist. We do hope that she will continue this activity even if we return to the Netherlands.

last envelope
Last envelope of newspaper articles

Just a quick update

You may wonder why it’s been so silent as of late. It may have something to do with the move. Except the move doesn’t keep us very busy. With the car sold, moving company chosen and most of our things sorted out already, there is not that much to organise. Or so it seems. A week and half from now we’ll probably be super busy and wondering why we didn’t do half the things before but in proper Denglish: who then lives who then cares.

What’s keeping me busy is Tarek’s schedule. Since a few weeks there is no longer a driver to take him to and from school. That means I spend an hour early morning driving him there. After that I sometimes manage to get some shopping done and/or go to the gym and then quickly drink a cup of coffee before I pick Tarek up again. Another hour, or longer, gone. It’s gotten to the point where I recognize motor cyclist, bajajes and daladala’s. After getting wildly irritated with traffic and the stupid drivers in it a few weeks ago my inner zen Buddhist took over and now I simply tell myself the amount of days left having to deal with the traffic. Hardly any! Or maybe it’s the fact that so many schools have closed and traffic isn’t as bad as it was a few weeks ago.

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.
Picnic of couscous salad on freshly bought bread