Archive for the ‘Personally’ Category

postheadericon A bit of Safari Life

My days are usually filled with daily routine and a lot of work – as it may be all over the world. Housework may be a bit more difficult, time taking and stronger than somewhere in the first world. But all in all, after a time, you loose the feeling of „doing something special“ or having a special life.

But even so, I never forget, that I am living in a such wonderful place and that I am blessed to have the chance to see „my“ country from time to time. On Easter Holiday, I enjoyed another bit of Safari Life. Together with my Swiss Family, the Interteam Development Workers Linda and Florian from Musoma, I travelled to Lake Natron. Linda and Flo have that huge Land Cruiser, in which everything needed for safari fits in: fuel for the car, water, food, tents, gaz cooker, kitchen equipment, tools and so on.

We started in Musoma and took one of the roads passing the Serengeti. The gate we entered Tanzanias best knwon and biggest National Parc is not very popular to tourists and not very much used. It was quite hard to find someone to get the permission and paying the park fee was not possible at all. But that is not a problem at all, as you have to show your permission by leaving anyway again and at the gate, we planned to leave the parc, there is a propre office…

After miles and miles passing the savannah (spotting elephants, giraffes, buffalos, antilopes, zebras, gnus, warthogs, bushpigs, kudus, oryx, vultures and many more habitants of the Serengeti) and spending a night in a rather cold place called Waso, we reached Lake Natron. Not without having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. But Linda and Florian are real „fundis“ and can fix everything on their car, I guess. At Ngare Sero we found a place where they could fix the tire and a campground with really good sanitation facilities and friendly Maasai hosts. As we were travelling out of the touristic season, we were the only guests there and enjoyed our time. At sunrise, we went with our guide to the lake, enjoyed the view of the sun rising behind a mountain and spotted the flamingos, Lake Natron is famous for. Even it was not breeding season when the lake is crowded of flamingos, there were quite many of them. At the lake shore, we spotted zebras, gnus and giraffes.

On our way back from Lake Natron, we stayed in the Serengeti over night. There are some lodges and different styles of campgrounds in the National Parc. Public Campgrounds are areas, where you find a covered place to eat, toilets and showers and sometimes covered sheds for your tent. That’s it. There is no fence, no ranger, no host – just you and the creatures of the Serengeti. And (out of season!) we were just the three of us out there in the wilderness under the most beautiful stars sprinkled sky. Going to toilet in pairs… Not locking the car to have the chance to jump in, in case an unfriendly „visitor“ is looking for food or so… At night, buffalos were grazing around our tents and shortly before sunrise, a bunny was hopping around the place.

We enjoyed our holidays, thankful being in a country, where your „backyard“ is like paradise may have been before human beings messed it up… Now back in daily routine, we all have some new plans in our minds.

postheadericon A Dog Story

Time ago, I provided you a cat story, because cats and internet are going so well together. As a lot of people are more fancy about dogs, I guess it’s time, to write about my two big babies. Silas and Irdhi are twin brothers and came to us, as they were just four weeks old. I was so sure, that they will die soon, that I did not take pictures of them. Because they were soooo cute and sweat and I could hold both of them in one hand. My brother Gilbert used to feed them several times a day with milk out of a bottle. Sometimes, he added some sugar to the milk – he was also scared sometimes, that they would die. After a few weeks and after Gilbert and I built them a nice house in my backyard, they moved to „Mama“ Susan’s place.

First picture: Silas on the left, Irdhi on the right side

First picture: Silas on the left, Irdhi on the right side

They were nearly falling into their food…

My babies

My babies

Silas was the strong one, Irdhi was a bit weak and one evening, he nearly died. The veterinary from Shirati could safe his life, but he was struggling for a long time.

Irdhi, nearly dying

Irdhi, nearly dying

Silas turned out to be cheeky and ready, to try everything out. Like escaping the dog house.

Silas tries to escape

Silas tries to escape

So they as time went on, they grew into big, strong watch dogs, taking care for the security on our compound.

Destroying some plants

Destroying some plants

 

Playing with Zilpa on the compound

Playing with Zilpa on the compound

We also explored Shirati together, went up on the hills and to the lake.

Irdhi and Silas playing with friends on the hills over Shirati

Irdhi and Silas playing with friends on the hills over Shirati

 

At the lake for the first time

At the lake for the first time

With Bobby, the cat, they get friends, and they protect the cat like they were big brothers. Sometimes, they eat together but everyday they love to play together.

One family

One family

One family

One family

All so tired...

All so tired…

So they became teenagers and most of all Silas grow into a sometimes really angery bunch of hormons. In the meantime, he’s the small one, as poor little weak Irdhi turned into a big massive dog. Irdhi still seems to believe he’s a little dog and wants to play like a puppy – and to lick everyone. People are afraid of Irdhi, because he is big and wants to play with everybody, but the dangerous one is Silas. I guess, because he lost somehow his position or so. One day, Silas was so angry, he bite me in my hand. The wounds were not big, but deep. I had to go to the hospital and get antibiotics and was afraid to get an infection. Bad beahvior!!!!

In December 2015, they figured out, there is much more fun out of the compound: there are female dogs to have fun with. Silas escaped several times and came back with wounds. I had to chain them even at night. Irdhi was howling all night long and the whole family could not sleep anymore. So the time was definitely come, to meet the doctor.

I witnessed in the beginning of last year, how a regional „specialist“ did a castration of a dog. And I had to assist. It was terrifying. Even the dog get an injection, the poor animal could feel everything, was not sleeping or dizzy at all. So for me it was clear, that was no way of doing it with my babies. I found a real good veterinary from Mwanza. Sometimes, he’s also working in Musoma. So we put the dogs into a car and went to Musoma. It was a crazy drive, but we made it. We could stay at my friends house in Musoma and there also the surgeries happened (see pictures below).

After about three days Silas and Irdhi were fit again and enjoying their new life, without „balls“… Irdhi did not really change is behavior. But Silas seems to be a different dog. He wants to be hugged and caressed, wants to lick me all the time and is (right now) not aggressive at all anymore. We will see, what time will bring…

postheadericon Cats

As cats on the internet seem to be a popular topic, I guess I have to come up with some pictures of cats too. And I also have a story to go along.

When I had my first „meeting“ with a black mamba (a snake, you can rapidly die of its poison) in my neighbours garden, people told me, that the best „weapon“ against snakes are cats. I have not yet figured out how, but they seem to be able to kill these beasts. So I thougt it would be a good idea to have a cat: inside of the house, it can clean up with all the cockroaches, caterpillars and other disgusting little things and outside of the house it can hunt for snakes, mice, rats or whatever. My plan was to have a young, but not too young cat, as I am working all day and do not have time, to feed it with a bottle or taking care for it many hours a day.

A friend soon sent me a picture of a pretty looking cat, that seem to be exactly what I was looking for. So Lola came to place to live with me and do the job, as described above. Unfortunately, she was not used to live close to human beings and was terrified. On the first day, she scratched my hands and arms terribly and I looked like a victim of domestic violence, as one of my bosses said. I used to wrap her into a towel or a kanga as well as in a plastic bag and hugged her and carried her around. The fabric was to protect myself from her claws and the plastic bag because she was so afraid, that she peed and pooped. She had to stay in one room of my house, when I was not around and it was hard work, to get her house-trained. After about one month, she was still a shy cat, but she accepted me and began to love me and the cat biscuits I have bought her. She came to my bedroom in the morning to greet me and was running behind my feet when I was walking around in the house.

It was time, to open the door and let her experience the environment. For about another month, she used to leave the house in the evening and came back around three or four a clock in the morning (I know that, because she tried sometimes to come into my bed, which is a no-go). One morning, she did not come back any more. And I do not think, that she was running away, but get catched by another animal or a motorcycle or whatever. And I also blamed one of my brothers, that he had killed and eaten the cat because of a discussion we had, that in Switzerland some people do eat cats and dogs… But that’s another story and for sure, I did not mean it seriously, but my brother has to live now with this story, as the whole family is kidding about him eating my cat.

As Lola’s mama get pregnant again, my friend asked me, if I wanted to have another cat. So I have the bed, the bowls and biscuits for a cat (and still work to do for it), so I said, yes, let’s try again. I have met Bobby as a little baby for the first time and he/she moved now to my house (I am still not sure, if it’s a male or female kitten – and different people tell me different things…). It’s still a baby and therefore not that much afraid of human beings. But the first two nights, there was no sleep for me at all. It was crying so loud for it’s mama, it was heartbreaking. At the moment, it stays inside of the house, as I want to have it grown up a bit before it will leave the house for adventures. I really do hope, I will have it for a longer time than Lola. And as my brother is staying at Mwanza for studies now, the chances seem to be high…

So here are some pictures:

postheadericon Fondue!!!!!!

On Friday, my dear friends Linda and Florian Stamm invited me to the first Fondue since I am here in Tanzania. I mean a real, Swiss Cheese Fondue!!!!! We even had some white wine, as I was for a short visit in Mwanza as well.

But we need more. Just send us Fondue. Gerber, Migros, Coop – we take them all…

Fondue in Musoma

Fondue in Musoma

Fondue in Musoma

Fondue in Musoma

Fondue in Musoma

Fondue in Musoma

Fondue in Musoma

Fondue in Musoma

postheadericon Holidays

After spending Christmas with my „Swiss Family“ in Musoma, I have spent time in Shirati with my „Tanzanian Family“. It’s really nice to have many little siblings. We went dancing together and spent a lot of time talking and having fun together.

I also had the chance to be invited to visit a typical family farm a bit outside of Shirati (I was told it is still Shirati, even if I had the impression of being already in Masai Mara). There is no water at all, no electricity and the roads to go there are dangerous already by daylight. But it’s a beautiful and peaceful place! As I was there as a private person and invited by the owners of the farm, I was shown everything and could talk to the people living there in a friendly, open way. I could see, that this rainy season did not bring enough rain for the acres and to let grow grass for the cows. And I was told that the children there are still do not go to school regularly, because they have to help on the farms.

And it was really strange (because I am still not used to) to visit the graves of so many family members who died at young age. I was shown the album with the family pictures. In Switzerland, you find in these books pictures of celebrating Christmas, birthdays and so on. Here I was looking at pictures of graduations from school and funerals. Crying children at the coffin of their young died mother. Crying parents at the coffin of their child. And I was explained „that’s me at my mothers funeral, that’s my uncle…“. I still have to learn so much about cultural differences and how to handle it for myself.

I am glad to know now more young people with whom I can talk about topics which are really strange for me, like polygamy, the role of women in the society and why showing your knees in front of men is the worst thing you could do as a woman…

 

 

postheadericon Christmas in Tanzania

My first Christmas in Tanzania I did not celebrate with Tanzanians in Tanzanian tradition but with my Swiss friends in Swiss tradition. On December, 24th, we had planned to drive from Musoma to Mwanza in the morning and use the afternoon for shopping in Mwanza. As there are many things not available in my little corner of the world up north. As we were entering the city of Mwanza, heavy rain started to pour, streets transformed to rivers instantly. We had the luck to sit in a Land Cruiser and we made our way – in 4 hours instead of 15 minutes… But on the side of the road we saw all the little shops, under water, filled with mud – no happy holidays for so many people. All what they had just gone. On Christmas Eve.

The next day we made our way back to Musoma – without shopping but safe and sound. And celebrated Christmas like Swiss families with cookies from Switzerland. It was just amazing.

Once again, good things and bad things go hand in hand in this country. We have to be thankful for what we have, support people if we can and enjoy that we were born on the „sunny side of life“.

 

 

postheadericon Ooops…

Don’t take my words too serious today, but:

May it be possible, that black humor works in Africa like voodoo? Yesterday in the morning some workers started to get the bats out of my house. I was saying to my neighbour that I would be pleased if they would not destroy the house while taking measures that no new bat colony enters under the roof. He was laughing and meant that would be not the case, I should not worry. A few hours later, half of the ceiling in my living room was coming down and I really started to worry – I mean, I prefer to stay in a house rather than in a tent. By today, the bats are still in the house (and due to hole in the ceiling they fly through the house at night) but the ceiling seemed to be quite stable fixed.

My concern now: the other day I came home at dawn and my neighbour was standing outside my house (doing nothing), dressed completely in black and leaning on a dangerous looking gardening tool. I said, I would be a bit afraid of him. He was laughing and explained me the use of the tool. And I was saying: „You could also kill your neighbour with it.“ He was laughing even more and said he would never ever do that. Me: „all massmurderer say that in advance…“. So am I in danger now? Would maybe best for my own security to stop saying things out of black humor…

 

 

postheadericon Tanzanian Wedding

Tanzanian weddings have several different parts – I have not yet found out, how these all get together. So my landlady invited me simply to „a wedding“, without mentioning, to which part of it. As she was in the committee to organize the party, she sent her son to pick me up at seven in the evening. The party was held in an annex of a motel between Kabwana and Obwere (two parts of Shirati). On the way, we were involved in a minor pikipiki accident – but that’s another story and should be told at an other occasion.

The guest were all seated in the ballroom (?) and waited for the families of the bride and the groom – and for bride and groom. The room was decorated with fabrics in yellow, pink and violet and many small, blinking lights. After a while, both families showed up, were introduced, danced and took seats – opposite of each other. The groom arrived and was seated in the back, amongst guests. The bride arrived with her best maid. She wore a yellow ballgown with sparkling pink stones all over it. She and her best maid were cutting the cake, feeding each other, offered cake to both families and danced. All family members were introduced by the bride again and everybody could held a speach. In between, there was loud music and an MC advising people to do things.

Coke, Fanta or water was handed out to the guest and we had the chance to congratulate the families and the bride. By dancing the whole way – for sure. Many guests were introduced (teacher, friends etc. of the bride) and held speaches. Bride and best maid were sitting on high chairs on a stage, the groom still in the back row. I was really confused…

Then families and guests brought their gifts to the bride and when her sister was not satisfied, there was additional money to be paid. And there were still dances going on. After that, the bride could choose from all men in the audience the one, she wanted to be with. Luckily, she choose her groom. They were dancing together (without touching each other) and went to the buffet for dinner. It was already 23.30. After them, all guests were invited to go to the buffet – I was thankful for the advise to eat before leaving my house, even there was plenty and delicious food. But really late… After dinner, there were a few more dances and bride and groom left the party. While servants started to collect the decoration, the young people started to dance. I took the chance to ask one of my co-workers who was invited as well, why it was just a party for the bride and not for both as a couple – like in Europe or America. She explained me, that this was the „farewell to the bride“ part, celebrating her leaving of the family home. So that makes sense to me.

My landlady showed up and brought two bottles of beer for her son and me – the only alcoholic drinks I have seen the whole night! My landlady and I were dancing with the youth and had fun together. Late at night, a car brought as back to our houses.

One more time I was so impressed about the friendlyness of the Tanzanians. Not only inviting me, taking care for me, explaining me and helping me through the ceremony, but also thanking me for me having fun. Even if there are a lot of things I have to learn and do not understand, I already feel a bit at home.

 

 

postheadericon Celebrating Birthday

A few days ago, I’ve celebrated my first Birthday in Shirati. We have had barbecue and beer. For the barbecue, we slaughtered a duck in the garden. So it is a bit different, to see the animal die, before you eat it. But it was delicious!

My time here started so well, there’s so much to learn – I am happy to be here!

 

postheadericon Finally at home in Shirati

Now I am finally in Shirati, my hometown for the next three years. About a week ago, I arrived and I already started my work. Due to difficulties with the access to the Internet, you’ve had to wait for this message – I am sorry for that! I hope, I will be able to show you a lot of pictures soon. But this is rural Africa and things are working when they do…

The people from Maji Safi gave me such a warm and friendly welcome, that it was more like homecoming. On the arrival, all my colleagues were on place, introduced themselves and sang for me. In the meantime, I am already quite busy in getting an overview as well as being involved in the recruiting process for two new staff members.

My house is big and empty. I am really happy to already have a fridge – there’s a market on Mondays and all the other days it is rather difficult to get fresh vegetables or fruits. From Mwanza I brought the first things for my household, because not many things are to buy here. So I will have to meet a fundi to do me a table with four chairs, a bed, a wardrobe, a bookshell… and I need a stove. Actually, I can cook but I sure will miss an oven. And I would like to have someone helping me with the household, most of all with the laundry.

Funny thing: I do have tubs in my house, but there’s no running water. Water has to be brought by bycicle to each house. The deliverer is a really nice man. But I guess he feels a bit uncomfortable to walk through my bedroom into the bathroom for the filling.

Everybody seems to already know me and the neighbours always ask me, where I’m going, when I will be back, what I have done during the day and so on. There are so many things I have to get used to!

But Shirati is such a beautiful place, all green and brown/red, no traffic noise, wonderful sunrises and sunsets, the lake in walking distance and a mountain I climbed on on my first evening. And had a stunning view – I can see as far as to Kenia and Uganda! I have to show that as soon as possible…