Monday, 27 February 2012


Today our baby girl turned seven. How did she get so grown up? The party was yesterday and she enjoyed it hugely. So did we, though we needed a shower, sit down and an early night afterwards!

Early morning present opening. She'd read two of the nine fairy books before breakfast.

Opening presents at the party. How many fairies?
Decorating and eating gingerbread fairy wands was good. Creating fairy crowns and edible necklaces was also good. But Mr B's obstacle course was the biggest hit!
The Mancub's never been one to do things by halves.

Spot the funky shirt. It matches Mr B's

Firing the stomp rocket was the last and best part of the course!
Fortunately for Mama, Kitty chose a nice easy cake design!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Orphan baby elephant

We are part of an email network in Arusha, mainly used by ex-pats to advertise items for sale, forthcoming events, security problems etc. This was posted today. Can't imagine we'll get emails like this when we're back in the UK. 
Dear Friends
Tina has put out a call for help for this baby elephant who wandered into Mkomazi - the home of Lucy and Tony Fitzjohn (BORN FREE AND WALKING WITH LIONS FAME )
The wee thing can only be fed SMA GOLD Cap baby milk and we have bougth up all we could in Dar but if you know of any please let us know or contact Tina direclty  - the tins cost TSH 40,000/- each
its mummy and family are no where to be found - very sad :-(
hope you can help

Monday, 20 February 2012

Camping in Simanjiro

As Mama B has previously advertised we headed out this weekend for a fun camping weekend with friends. The original plan had been to drive out to the seasonal wetland and sand river we'd been to before, but then we heard that the wetland, which was full in January, was already dry. So instead we joined up with another set of friends who'd planned to camp at a new site further south on the Simanjiro plains where they have been running a 'land easement' project aiming to ease the pressure on the land so the animals that migrate out of Tarangire between November and June have somewhere to go to. I've been down in the general area before, but Mama and the kids hadn't, so it was set to be an adventure for all.

Driving out of Arusha was, as always, a moment of joy (once we'd returned home to collect the mattresses, that is - after I'd looked in the mirror and wondered why I could see out...). Even if we rapidly hit the dessicated plains full of dust the kid's christened Dust Devil Desert for obvious reasons. Still, it was the best part of a 3hr bump past some hot (but as yet childless) wildebeest and a few other beasts down to our destination in the middle of a patch of Commiphora woodland.

From there the pictures probably tell the story best...

Red-fronted Barbets are nice

Son of one set of friends had a fancy flying machine. Here he's warming it up...
Then you have to run very fast...

before you can whizz about over the trees (and confuse the giraffe!)

Some pretty patches of Senegalia around too - used to be Acacia...

Commiphora are lovely trees. Learn about them on my other blog here!

Not all bids and trees though!

Could almost have been school...

The plains were hot and dry

But by the time we headed home the baby wildebeest had started!

Cute! Must be one day old...

And approaching Arusha we hit a dust storm preceeding the first rains of the long wet. Where's the road?!
All in all a lot of fun with many friends in the bush. And nice to see where the Tarangire wildlife gets to at this time of year. (You can learn more about the Tarangire Wildebeest Migration on my other blog too!)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sports Day

Just back from a wonderful weekend camping, but haven't sorted the photos yet, so here are a few from the Mancub's Sports Day last thursday. Fortunately The Learning Space have Sports Day every term. It's his favourite thing at school! (p.s. spot me exercising my muscles...)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Aeroplanes and Fire Engines!

Yesterday I helped to take the Mancub's Nursery class on a school trip to Arusha aiport, the local airport just ten minutes from his school. They have had the topic 'transport' this half term. After a frustrating delay while they failed to find anyone to show us round, despite the fact that this trip had been organised with the airport staff and paid for in advance, we finally got to go through security, climb into a plane and even play in the fire engines. Happy boy!

Friday, 10 February 2012

The history of Valentine's Day

No, I'm not going to tell you so feel free to Wikipedia it if you like. Kitty's class presented a play about it in their Assembly today and also read out the poems about love they had written. Kitty's was a song so she sang it. She's quite happy to be different.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

People in dresses...

The frocks at the front (M on right!)
Sunday morning we were treated to a wonderful Tanzanian experience when friends of ours were officially and ceremonially made directors of a nearby Anglican Bible college. The event was due to kick off at 9am, and we were only fractionally late so some of the first to arrive. After a while the main guests and many men in frocks arrived (and a few women too). We left after at lunch time after the first event of the day, with the schedule only running 1 1/2hrs late (the official lunch was scheduled for 2.30, plus delays I think we were wise to skip off!) - not bad at all really! Lots of enthusiastic singing and music kept causing the generators to fail, and kids were happy making nests and playing in the dust outside. K amd M finally got home just before 7, I understand, throughly installed in their new positions.

The kids out the back

Massed frocks and kids!

It was a bit dusty...

Kitty too had her moments in a dress on Wednesday at the latest ballet event. The Mancup didn't have any activity books with him so started by working Mama's mobile to send me texts (very impressive), then practiced with the camera, so photos of this dress thanks to the Mancub today.

Meanwhile, the event everyone has been waiting for (or not) has finally come to pass. We have residents permits and research permits! Amazing... Just need the stamp in our passports and we'll be done, though we're official at this stage now. Only taken 2 and a bit years...

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Social time

Thought I'd post a picture or two from our weekend, which was highly sociable. A relaxed start on saturday saw playing at home before heading off to meet friends at a lodge for lunch, swimming and playing. We headed off mid afernoon for a 2 year birthday party in a beautiful garden with lots guests big and small, plenty of wine and water balloons, paddling pools and potato crisps and other alliterative attractions. Sunday saw me surrounding with small people in church creche and then off to a friend's house for lunch with owls in the garden, getting home just in time to wash the dust off the children, feed them waffles and get them into bed. Lovely!