Africa · 326 Days · 97 Moments · January 2017

Tanzanian Bush Beany

23 November 2017

I just saw the funniest thing ever! Walking into the house, Kalvalina was standing there, making food.. with onion leaves in her nose! I asked her what's going on? Apparently she has a bit of flue and this helps with a runny nose. Something I will definitely try the next time it feels like my nose wants to run away!!

15 November 2017

New fruit... malusi... nice and sweet, big pits on the inside... because you always have to try new things.0

14 November 2017

Today I ate the fruit of the sausage tree. We do have the trees in South Africa as well, but I never thought the sausage is actually like a fruit! When you cut it open, I would say it looks like a pumpkin and also almost taste like one. A little bit bitter. I'm sure you can try and make a stew of it! Think we will have to try! They say the juice can heal wounds and also the following Sorry for the next: (PG18): They believe that if you take a small sausage and cut it a few times. You take the juice and rub it on the male body part. As the sausage grow, the male body part will also grow.

11 November 2017

3 Times stung by bees tonight... it was like in a movie. 5 People having a great dinner... first there was one bee, then another 3 or 4 arrived. The next moment you could hear the whole swarm arrive!! Quickest we got up and go! We were surrounded. Luckily the fire was almost dying, so there were some smoke. My grandpa was a beekeeper and I remembered him always using a smoke device to get them away from the hive. So I went kneeling at the smoke. It helped as most flew away or fell asleep.. except the one trapped under my hair... my neck is still burning! At night!?! So weird! We think something might have disturbed them so we were waiting for at least a honeybadger!! No luck.. just stings with ice on them.

10 November 2017

Mvua kuja.. (rain is coming). I cannot wait!! The baobab flowers are telling is it is close. This earth needs some rain.. a lot of rain!
This guys came to say hallo.. he is so peaceful. Definitely aware of me, but not bothered by me at all! #Iloveelephants

4 November 2017

So I had a very rough week! Busy with TRA audits and trying to figure out what the previous accountant did. All fun and games. Yesterday I walked from TRA to home, taking a long, relaxing stroll through some new streets to familiarise myself some more. Then I heard the music.. Im sure not even our events in SA have speakers like that! It was huge and loud! A Saturday church. I decided to go and sit down and join them for a bit. Hope that when we prayed, we prayed to my God. The music was somehow familiar and it was all so refreshing. It really made me feel better and put a smile on my face again. The small things that happen when you need it the most. Dankie Jesus.

15 October 2017

Its a sad day for the animal kingdom. Ruaha hippos are dying from anthrax. Then when you Google hippos and anthrax, you find that 100 hippos died of anthrax in Namibia, anthrax outbreak in Botswana.. this is only the start. There's not enough rain, not enough water in the rivers and almost no water left in Cape Town. Please let it rain... a lot!

13 October 2017

One of our guests', who is now a good friend, name is Chris. On one of their game drives they saw a leopard in the tree who was baptized Kris the Leopard, right there and then. Later that afternoon we got the news that Kris caught an impala, right next to the road. That was the quickest we all jumped in vehicles to go and see him! I've been very unlucky with leopards all my life.. they seem to hide from me, but the Tanzanian leopards didn't get the message. I'm very glad, as now I saw them more in 6 months than in in 33 years! He was trying to sleep when we arrived.. too hot to eat now, but every now and then he licked his paws like a real house cat. Chris and Kris... two very happy chaps today. (Photo cred of leopard eating: Chris) πŸ…

10 October 2017

Today everyone could sleep in a little bit, so I got up earlier and went to make myself some tea so I can just sit and stare as nature is waking up in the new day. I looked like I went through a war.. everything was black, but I did it. Not with matches, but with my new toy, just a flint, to keep it interesting. My brother in law would be so proud of me making my own fire, with a flint. Well... I did cheat a little bit by using a small amount of kerosene.. but I could only try that many times! πŸ˜€ A breeding herd of elephant is in and around the camp the whole day. I was wandering from dining to the office when one stood almost right next to me.. never be deep in thought when walking in the bush! Tonight I can hear them feed all around me.. branches breaking and a sigh of happiness every now and then.

9 October 2017

Tonight we have no guests in camp, so we decided to take a small game drive to see one of our new neighbouring camps. Plenty of buffaloes, an ostrich, impala, giraffes and elephants. The new camp is very modern and it has a coffee machine and mint sorbet!!! And of course the highlight of my day... a swimming pool!! So refreshing and good. And then it has a view too! Perfect. Vincent went into a swimming pool for the first time ever and I tried to make him float, I'm sure next time will be easier. Always good to try and overcome ones fears a little bit. One of the managers comes from Namibia, so for the first time in a month I could speak a little Afrikaans. So weird... I write Afrikaans everyday, but suddenly when I wanted to speak, my toung tangled and it felt so strange speaking my own language. The guys went to play soccer this afternoon. We couldn't go with as someone need to look after the camp and we did have our outing earlier. All alone in camp... what a day!

8 October 2017

I think my nerves are done now and adrenaline too much.. so many predators in one day, around my room. Hyena also said hallo just now and I think I might have been attacked by a genet.. is it possible? I'm lying on my couch, against the window, and suddenly hear something running my direction. Just as I wanted to shine my torch it jumped against the mesh wire and I fell off the couch, just seeing a black and white tail.. small.. I think. Maybe it just ran to the tree right infront of me, or my imagination is starting to run wild now!?! Time to try and sleep.. enough action for today. Who said it would be boring living in the bush?
So sorry to share yet another amazing experience, but I've never in my life been as lucky as in the last 24 hours! The excitement is overwhelming. We were on our way home, and as we shone the torch at the place the lions ate the impala, we saw him... mister-always-here-when-I'm-not-here-leopard!! We think he came after the smell of last night's kill, looking for some leftovers. He isn't shy at all... just lying there and waiting for us to go our way. My first impression would have been to go into my room, but Jemedari Sanga and Geofrey Mponzi just kept calm and we stood there and tried to take pictures. Note to myself... get a proper camera for future action! Now I'm sitting once again, at my window, trying to see the leopard. Sleep wasn't ment for me this weekend. Earlier there were some elephants in the riverbed as well. Three out of great five.. not to bad for a day.
Who said you need to drive hours to try and see a lion kill? I had it all wrong... when we went to make sure our guests are fine, the lions were already lying a few metres further, eating the impala. They most probably saw us and wasn't bothered as they had their food right infront of them. When we came back and I saw all the jackal.. it was just them trying to get a piece of the action, not them trying to hunt a bird or eat old bones. When the 3 lioness arrived, it was just them joining the one who caught the impala male. The evidence are all around our rooms this morning.. 4 pieces of bone left, a piece of the tail and his horns that the students took as memorabilia. Unbelievable experience!! I will never again say Im unlucky a don't see kills in the wild. I fell asleep after 3.. so they most probably left, all full, in the next 2 hours after that.
Ok... scrap the Japanese, the jackal and the birds. Three lioness just pitched up 10m from my huge, mesh wired, windows. I just saw jackal running in all directions, growling and the next moment these 3 figures came around the corner. The adrenaline of knowing they see me, and I see them. I'll hide behind my cushion. Sounds like the branches I thought an elephant was breaking, are bones.. bones the jackal found and the lion now stole from them. We are a bit puzzled as a jackal won't catch something huge and these lions have just been chewing on these bones for the last hour? Later today we will try and find out what it was.. and if its a newly caught carcass, when did it happen? We never heard anything die.. we walked up our daily path a few metres away, a few times and less than 2 hours ago to make sure our guests are fine. Ill be awake for the next few hours.. just recording the sounds and trying to see them every now and then. So much action for one night!

7 October 2017

FOMO (fear of missing out) has always been one of my big problems... For a while before I went to sleep I thought an elephant was eating somewhere close to my room, so I would really like to wait until I see him walk past... but nothing. I was almost asleep when I heard some birds right outside my window going crazy. So scared I'll be missing some action (still waiting for our local leopard to say karibu), I jumped up and as luck would be.. there are 3 jackal in and out the bush, trying to catch the bird. Not quit sure which kind of bird as I'm not an expert with the sounds yet, but might be some guineafowl. The birds did achieve to chase the jackal away and now they are just sniffling around everywhere.. on the hunt for something else. I suppose they found some old bones as I can hear one chewing on something rather hard and two are chasing each other every now and then. So here I am.. sitting on my couch, right at the window, hoping to get some action in a full moon night.
A fun filled day.. we have a group of Japanese and I can just laugh at our students' impersonations of Japanese.. they think its the funniest sounds ever. Some closing their nose while talking or singing. Of course all of them sound "fluent" now. One even got a Japanese guy to teach him to count up to five.. for exchange he taught him a bit of Swahili. So now we all can count... ears ni sang she no.. or so we believe. Almost all students can say "Arigato" - thank you - by now and you can just hear them working while repeating it over and over. We have whistles in each banda that guests should use in case of an emergency. Tonight was my first night as manager to go with Alex and 2 guys as we were sure we heard a whistle and we can see one banda's lights are on. Just to find out the guests are in wonderland and just like to sleep with all the lights on. At least we got to see a few jackal in the riverbed and the sounds of the lion in the far distance.

5 October 2017

Market vibes. I'm starting to make deals in kiSwahili as if I'm a local... luckily I have Rose to help me translate if I don't understand everything or if I hear 7000 instead of 17000. What a deal that would have been! I'm starting to get my regular suppliers who I sms the order to and should now go and try plant broccoli.. its one of the most rarest veg in town. As far as I walk I just hear "mzungu mzungu" (white man white man). Yesterday the municipality didn't want to allow me into their offices with my short denim pants, so I had to take my scarf and fold it around me like a long skirt. The government stopped small vendors from putting up shop anywhere they want to on the streets, so there are only 2 streets in Iringa they are allowed to be. So we have 2 markets where you walk and make deals as far as you go. There are 2/3 supermarkets in town, but as big as an Engen garage. Lots of familiar brands and imported from SA, like the chocolate!

4 October 2017

My first official outing to pay monthly taxes and meet all the need-to-know people. Everyone is still so friendly! Ill go to Tanzanian Revenue Authority any day, rather than South African Revenue Services!! The one picture was taken in secret... ssshhh... but I couldn't stop staring!! This is the municipality and all their land rent documents.. I hope they know where to look for something. I'm very glad for computers and Dropbox/Google drive! Then Rose bought us some maize for a snack late in the afternoon. We are pretty tired of shopping now, but this made everything better. Its made on a grill over a fire, almost popcorn, but not yet. Yummy!! Buy one, share between 3... this is definitely worth it!

3 October 2017

Life starts where the tar road stop... This is our road to do our weekly shopping. 3 hours, 2 nights sleeping over and 3 hours back.. We buy fresh vegetable every week, and the chefs make the most awesome food you can ever imagine being made in the middle of nowhere. We go through a few small villages and the rest is pure nature. Mountains and trees and Masai kids looking after their goats. We go with our TATA truck so there is enough space to load what we need. Yonna is the driver, me in the middle, Merrow's wife, who came to visit and am now going home, and then Rose. Its hot.. but a nice breeze comes through every now and then. I don't mind this trip at all. I learn a bit more about my colleagues and their culture and what that tree is next to the road. Good internet for 2 days and a bit of civilization never hurt anyone. #roadtrip #Africa #bushlife #alwaysfreshfood #letslive #youshouldseethemountains #whatwonderfulnature #Mwagusilife
Today was another python type of day. Our guests woke up this morning with a strange noise on their veranda, and there she was, busy slibbering up to the beam. The very relaxed guest told us not to worry about taking her away, they know she won't do anything. I was trying every hour to see if she moved so I can take a better pic, but no luck. Sounds like she caught a hyrax and is busy eating. A few days ago we saw a python in a tree. We think that was this ones baby. This mom looks like about 3m long.. and what a beauty! The guys says she is a local.. they see her in same area every season. There is another one on the other side of the camp as well. They saw her about 3 months ago. They did disturb her a bit so she chased the one guy and bit the other guy on the ankle. First time to hear things like a python chasing and biting. This is the type of story I wouldn't have shared with my grandma, who really didn't like snakes, but I think the python is really beautiful.

29 September 2017

An eventful day in Mwagusi. Everyone was woken (if not already awake) by baboons and monkeys going crazy early morning, just before the sun came up. I was completely unaware that it was alarm calls, just thought they are really chattery this morning. A leopard caught a baboon VERY close to the staff quarters (boma). He dragged him all the way past our waterpump, into the tall grass. One of our super guides walked with me to show me the drag marks and leopard track. They said you could see the blood as well, but by the time I made time to go and see, it was dried up already. As we were standing at the pump, you could see the kudus are really nervous and then we heard it.. the crunching of bones. Well, after working in the entertainment industry, standing to close to loud speakers, I don't have the best ears, but I could hear it! He is not very far from us, but the grass are too tall! We don't want him to think we want to steel his food, so we'll wait and hope to get a glimpse later.

28 September 2017

Dining by fairy light. This photo doesn't do dining in the riverbed any justice.. but its the best my Samsung could do. Every now and then we have dinner in the riverbed.. changing location all the time. Lots of lanterns in random places, one big fire and good food. We also sometimes have dinner in the bush to just change it a bit. Under the African sky. The hyenas and jackal love watching us eat... every now and then, if you shine the torch, they will be there, staring and waiting, hoping we leave so they can come and see if some food fell on the ground.
Guests came back from safari with the best photos of a leopard dragging a civet up a boabab tree and some lions coming closer to try and get some free food. It wasn't too far from camp, so we filled a vehicle and off we went to see the leopard. He was gorgeous.. just hanging on a branch, feet dangling in the air and not bothered by the 2 lioness right under the tree staring at him. I really wish I had a better zoom!! We did however not see the civet.. thought we are crazy, I saw it on the photos, but now there's absolutely nothing in the tree. We thought it might have fell, but then the lioness wouldn't still be staring. Later we found out another group did see the civet... in another tree! No he didn't walk there. Seems like, after the first guests, the leopard got out of the tree, but then the lioness came too close and he jumped into another tree, where we found him. Now just waiting for them to leave. I hope the lioness aren't still waiting...

27 September 2017

When I was in Mwagusi Jan to March, there was an elephant in camp almost every few days. They started to feel like family. Since I've been back, I haven't seen one yet, except for a few nights ago, when we were on our way to cross the river to go home, and there he was, standing big... but that doesn't count as it was dark. Then I saw one crossing the river in the distance, but that was too far. He looked like a full stop. Big, round and I almost didn't see him. Today, as I wanted to leave the office to knock off.. he came drinking some water in a hole he made in the riverbed. Very peacefully grazing all the way to our office. Photo opportunity!! Now I'm home.. I could stare at him for hours, but it was getting dark, so I need to go home. It was an exceptional hot day today! They were saying it might be rain on its way, but rain should only start mid Oct, so cannot be. Well it started dripping now.. so I went outside to feel it on my face! And there he was again.. Tembo.

23 September 2017

The invasion of the matabele ant... this is night two I lie awake listening to a sound, almost like the soft dripping of rain, but actually, its the ants invading my room! Last night I was unprepared and bitten, tonight I'm just lying still. Its unbelievable how many they are!! I remember my mom telling me that when the matabele ants came through the farm they stayed at in Zambia, even the dogs went to sit on chairs and wouldn't dare to climb off. Now I understand why! So if anyone has some suggestion on how to keep them away, I would appreciate.

22 September 2017

My first day back. It was wonderful getting up, surrounded by nature. A magnificant sunrise, fresh smells and beautiful animals. I can't help to just stop and stare every now and then. Work was hard.. there are a lot to catch up on, while dealing with everyone's questions. Its very hot, something to get used to after a South African winter. We had dining in the same spot in the riverbed as when I first arrived for training in January. There were about 10 giraffes in the riverbed, I got a few stares from impala and I got dressed with a baboon looking from outside my window, very awkward! I'm sort of moved in and my biltong is still hanging safely. A squirrel did come in and help himself to my avo, so now to get ways to hide food!
My first day back. It was wonderful getting up, surrounded by nature. A magnificant sunrise, fresh smells and beautiful animals. I can't help to just stop and stare every now and then. Work was hard.. there are a lot to catch up on, while dealing with everyone's questions. Its very hot, something to get used to after a South African winter. We had dining in the same spot in the riverbed as when I first arrived for training in January. There were about 10 giraffes in the riverbed, I got a few stares from impala and I got dressed with a baboon looking from outside my window, very awkward! I'm sort of moved in and my biltong is still hanging safely. A squirrel did come in and help himself to my avo, so now to get ways to hide food!

21 September 2017

We had a very nice drive to the park. I was greeted by giraffes, lots of huge maraboe storks, warthogs, 2 jackal, giant kingfisher, impala, waterbuck and kudu. Its very dry and they say it didn't rain enough to last the summer. Animals will be suffering very soon. Next rain only expected in November. We arrived in camp late afternoon. Alex was there to greet me. I went to say hallo to everyone and it was so good to see all the familiar faces again, all smiles. I immediately felt at home again. I started to unpack.. this time around I have my own room, on the staff side, to make home. My South African flag is hanging and also my one piece of biltong that I brought from SA and not eaten in Iringa. There is a nice breeze to dry it even more, Im just hoping the animals will try and leave it alone until I want to eat it. Fingers crossed.

20 September 2017

Today is our camp's shopping day. The guys arrived in town last night. It was so interesting seeing the town with them, making deals for the best price in the market, new smells (not all good) and fruit that are a bit different.. (really sweet oranges here, are green and not orange like in SA) You really struggle to get things we take for granted, like broccoli, cauliflower and even good looking lemons. There isn't a thing like frozen veg. Fish are VERY limited. This town isn't very big on chocolates (which is a good thing). An abundance of avo's, about R3 each! Its heaven!! Now I need to start relationships and make sure we always get the best price. Lets work.. and network with food!
What an interesting start to my day... I had to quickly go to town. On our way back, the police jumped in front of us in the road, trying to pull us over. (I know, I know.. we are irresponsible! But this is Africa.. who really needs to wear a helmet?) It was the fastest I've ever seen someone on a motorbike make a u-turn.. almost like a handbreakturn! And there we went... opposite direction, around the corner, up the hill and on our way home with the detour. Joseph (my personal boda boda driver) felt so bad, he gave me discount. They are very unhappy.. says they just keep on paying taxes and the one government fee on the other, but still the government just wants more and more... there is a new tax implemented almost every few months! Its crazy! So even if we did have our helmets on, they would have looked for a way to get money. (Sounds a little bit familiar)

19 September 2017

I ran around a lot today to try and get a few last things done before I'm going to the park. Met a few very nice boda boda guys. One guy took me to a very nice Italian restaurant, Mama Iringa. It is quite far from city centre and through a big residential area. Bumpy gravel roads, small houses, friendly people greeting a long the way and children playing in the roads. A nice piece of cake, ice cold beer and Leonard, the waiter who kept me company the whole time. Telling me more of his hometown in the North. New words: kusoto (left) kulia (right) tiarie (ready) because I need to tell the boda boda guy where to go, and he shouldnt start driving before Im not on and ready.

18 September 2017

I had a good, far walk through the shops to see where is what and what is available out there. Everyone greets and help if they can! What a town!! Ofcourse you hear "mzungu mzungu" a few times (white man). There are a few familiar names, like First Choice milk and sunlight πŸ˜€. There are hundreds of small shops, about 3 square metre, each.. and everyone sells something. Only a few (2) supermarkets that closely resembles a Pick n Pay (but a small one and not at all the big variaty). There are no shops at the garages, so no quick Woolworths meals or grabbing a SteriStampie. Tea time... I met the owner of one of the garages and he offered me some real Arabic tea. Small, tiny, qdogo glasses with teaspoons (good for the figure as you cannot take too much sugar with that). Think I had a tea-high after maybe 5 cups?

16 September 2017

Today I walked through the gravel roads of Iringa so I can get to know the area. Next to the roads are plenty of Jacaranda trees, reminding me of the place I called home for more than 10 years, Pretoria, Jacaranda City. For a moment it didn't feel like I'm in a complete different country. Then I went to the Iringa Sunset Hotel... pombe qdogo, pizza, I made a new friend from the States and we saw a very beautiful sunset. I told myself to be home before it gets dark, but had such a nice time chatting that it was dark before I can say "safety first". Luckily there was a boda boda and I was home in an eye wink, with the guy giving me a speech of not walking alone at night. Oops.

15 September 2017

My official contract was supposed to start 1 June 2017, but first we needed to get myself a permit. I was told it might take two months or so.. but we never could have foreseen 5 months, actually a little bit more. So yesterday I received my official document to proof I'm a resident for the next 2 years, and today I went to endorse my passport. Let the games begin.. or continue. I just walked through the streets like a local... greeting people, learning more Swahili words, even trying a sentence or two, not getting lost in the streets and making friends with my own boda-boda contact. Now its joto sana... back to work and the shade for me.

11 September 2017

A peaceful 2 days of working and resting and today I took my first boda-boda from town. You see motorbikes everywhere transporting people... I even saw one with 3 passengers!!! How they all sit without falling off, I dont know, but the back end was dragging a bit. What a fun experience!! So excited, I had to take a photo and my phone almost blew away. Think I might get a boda-boda to take me through town so I can get my head around what is where.

9 September 2017

Waiting for my lift after a long 9 hour bus drive. Those 2 bags are only half the luggage.. the most I've ever traveled with! Never again! Fresh grapes, my first food for the day. The one girl explained to me how she is folding her chitengi on her head so she can carry the heavy basket they use to sell produce to the busses passing by. Something I will be trying in the near future. Now home, shower, eat and sleep! Hallo Iringa!
Very bad photo, but this guy tried to sell us something.. just not completely sure what. There were chickens on the cover of the one book? It seemed like I'm the only one listening, but also the only one who doesn't understand a word. Walking vendors drove with us for a little bit, trying to sell their products. They got out a few kilos further and is now either walking back to town, or waiting for a bus to give them a ride again. The teamwork between vendors and bus drivers. 260km to go... now I'm awake for a bit and can experience the people and the views. My legs would like to stand up for a bit, but its okay... almost there. Eish.
Dar is getting its first flyover. People are excited to improve the traffic. The bus station was a lot better than last time. Not as hot, not so much chaos and I didnt have to sit an hour before starter moving. For now, I have 2 seats for myself, just no open window. At least this time I wont have an everlasting tshirt tan. Before I came here in Jan, I read a blog saying Tanzania is the place busses come to die. If they can't drive in, lets say SA, anymore, they come here and keep on driving until kufa. So far I saw 2 overturned busses next to the road and we just got sandwiched between another bus and a huge truck... my nerves. At least the view os very nice.

8 September 2017

So I landed in Dar, still hot as I remember, but not as humid.. I think. It was a lot quicker and I knew more kiswahili than last time. Had to help my new friend filling in her document. I could find a Vodacom shop by myself this time and everyone is so friendly! Fern took me to a proudly Tanzanian shop/street restaurant.. only operating at night. Its a braai or two on the street which sells the best chicken and chips while the "grocery shop" sells us some nice cold beer. They close early (at 11) so they avoid the police looking for the correct licenses. What a nice karibu to Tanzania... always safi sana.
Chileka Airport, Blantyre, Malawi.. my stop for the next 2 and a half hours. You can see there should be a mountain, but its too cloudy.. dont let the clouds fool you, its very humid!! Small, but nice airport.. and the transit room has aircon!! More police that flying customers. They are organised and very friendly, English is very good. Made 2 friends and looks like we are the only ones going to Dar. Wohoo #feelslikeadream #newthings #travelopenstheeyes
I'm on my way... a nice, calm check in, with enough time to relax in the slow lounge. 10 min before boarding time at the gate, and then... yes, that's my luck.. flight delayed and they changed the boarding gate to 5 kms walk further! See you on the other side!

6 September 2017

I was starting to think I'll get my work permit when the pigs start to fly, but then I got the news.... warthogs are flying! I'm going to Tanzania for 2 years! So my bags are packed and I'm on my first leg of the journey.. greeting my dad and dog-children, taking a bus and an Uber.. Pretoria I'm coming for you for 2 nights only. #uiteindelik #letsgo #mwagusi #ruahanationalpark #littlebitscary #lotsofexcitement

21 March 2017

14 people plane (including the 2 pilots). I've flown a lot in my life.. no problem, but twice I flew in a small plane (about 100 people or so) and I felt very claustrophobic. This is the smallest plane I've been in.. EVER!! (Except for sky diving) This time I don't feel the claustrophobia.. I can see everywhere and feels like a daladala (small bus). The view as we go up is spectacular! Lots of hills and trees. Attached is the map of their routes. We just stopped in Ifakara.. it's not even on the map! Depending on how many people want to fly somewhere, they will stop almost everywhere. What a scenery!! As we landed in Ifakara, we went through a mud pool... the windows and all are full of water and mud, as if we are driving 4x4 on a farm. The guys quickly got out and I got the chance to take a picture before the pilot said they are leaving me there. The guy sitting next to me told me how he flew the last time without a safety belt, being told its fine, its only 1 seat belt.
Smallest airport I've ever flew from! The plane should please just stay in the air the full trip. The guy had to go through all my bags.. in detail! He even picked out some tampons and stared at it, not sure what it is. Eish. The whole building looks like an old house... kitchen, bathroom, sitting room... very small. On our way there were a road sign "This road was sponsored by the American People"

17 March 2017

We have a lot of financial admin to finish before we can go home. So we will be staying at the bosses place until then. Tonight we went out! The first time in a town, in months! We went to the Iringa Sunset Hotel. Its at the Gangilonga rocks (where the king stood years ago to see where the Germans are coming from). The best view over Iringa! Wow, what a sunset! We laughed so much! Our bank manager joined us as well. We linked our phones with the restaurants speakers and played music. Dancing and singing. We needed this! Then he took us to a local bar.. everyone was sitting at the bar, but we were right there on the dance floor.. the whole night! I can still hear hyenas and lions in the distance πŸ˜€, aka dogs, during the night. Happy St Patricks day! I had.. pizza and beer! I saw.. people, buildings, vehicles, potholes! I miss... Mwagusi nature and the sounds.

16 March 2017

The long road back to civilization... we all fit into a Tata lorry and a Toyota bakkie. I feel a bit sad as we leave 3 guys behind. They need to look after the camp and try to chase away animals so they don't make a home. Some maintenance to do. The road to Iringa was so much fun! I thought it's going to feel super long, sitting on a trunk on the back of a bakkie for 3 hours, but it felt so quick. We laughed a lot, waved a lot and made a lot of fun with the guys in the lorry behind us. We stopped once and we could quickly buy a beer. It started to rain a little, but was over even before it started. The roads are really good. All gravel roads, but good. I only started to see potholes when got onto a tar road just as we entered Iringa. Lots of sunflowers, small towns and maize lands next to the road. We were choka (tired) when we arrived home, but so much fun!! I want to do it again!
Today is my Mom's birthday... I wish I could call her and congratulate her. I believe she would have been so proud of me and would have enjoyed this journey so much. It is our last day in the camp. You can feel the atmosphere.. everyones happy to be going home. Everyone will now have holiday for about a month and a half. We had some fun with photos and finalising a few last things. Everything is packed away so the animals don't carry it away and the water won't harm it if it does decide to flood. Good for now Mwagusi! It was a wonderful few months! Now I walk through the river last time as just a trainee. What a wow experience!! Alex and the guys made us some nice padkos with a little juice.

15 March 2017

My last morning waking up in one of the guest bandas... next season I will be joining everyone on the staff side. Our last full day in camp. Lots of packing and last payments. We are making melktertjies (vodka & condensemilk) for tonight to celebrate the end of the season. The lions pitched up in the river bed this afternoon. We went with the guys to try and chase them away. Its not good to get them used to coming so close to the camp. Reffing the vehicle, screaming, throwing rocks... quite exciting! There are a whole pride.. too many to chase away. We worked late in the office tonight.. one small light. The next moment I just heard the lion.. sounded like a cat purring, and so close! The quickest I jumped up. They were about 200m away in the river bed, mating. We organised a car to take us to the staff side as walking through the riverbed is too dangerous. On the way to staff camp, the rest of the lions were just lying in the road. They were so busy tonight!

14 March 2017

14 March 2017: on my way to the office this morning, I heard the warning call of some punda malia (zebra). I was so happy to hear a different kind of sound from the normal day at Mwagusi. I've only seen zebra kilometres from the camp and haven't heard them since I arrived here. Later the guides told us that one was caught by the lion pride. Not close enough to the road to go and see. I saw... an elephant

12 March 2017

Last night it sounded as if the lions are in the camp and very busy. This morning our guys found an injured lion about a kilo from our camp... we had to call the Parks to inform them of a hurt lion near to the camp to prevent any accidents in camp. Seems like they did have a little quarrel. On our way back to camp, we found someone's shoe in the road.. seems like the hyena was in a mood for a snack again last night. Carrying someones shoes away that was lying outside. Tomorrow our last guests for the season will arrive. Its been a few days without wageni (guests).. it would be kind of strange to not have the camp for ourselves. Badu siko nne... 4 days until we are in town, civilization, again. I saw... impala, water monitor, lion

11 March 2017

It always happens in threes... this morning on my way to the office, a big snake fell out of a tree right next to me, chasing a lizard. In the words of my uncle, when something scares him.. "jou gat!". Don't surprise me like that, especially not when you are cold blooded. In the afternoon, close to my banda, a water monitor saw me when I was almost on top of him, and before I saw him.. another surprise. I'm sure the grass grew 2 metres during the night! It's getting more difficult to see things, but oh so green. Tonight I went to drink a glass of wine on the other side of the river. On our way back we saw what might have been lions for a second, but turned out to be impala. Now I'm done with surprises.. good night world! Let's lie and listen to all the sounds of the night. I saw... snake, water monitor, monkeys, impala

10 March 2017

Today I am skipping dinner.. as I arrived back at my banda, I had to chase the monkeys out of it. The dominant one didn't really give a damn, so there were rock throwing involved as well. They left me with a few crumbs. This morning we had a river again.. think it came between 4 and 5 in the morning. This afternoon it already went down by a lot. I found a pretty mushroom.. five hours later a beetle was busy eating it. Maybe half an hour later, it was completely gone! Not sure if the beetle finished it (feels impossible as it was huge), or maybe the monkeys grabbed it? It's almost full moon. Look at the pretty colours on the trees with sunset. The elephant bulls were practising to fight today.. what a noise!! I saw.. mongoose, monkeys, elephants, water monitor Today is one of those days I cannot stop thinking about my family.. I really want to see them!

9 March 2017

Tea time with a view... tonight I'm alone on this side of the river. No guests. It is raining very softly. We did some exercise on the bandas veranda and I skipped all the way back to mine. Then deciding I need some tea in this perfect, rainy weather. African time: making a pot of tea in Mwagusi. First I had to make my own fire... its not like a kettle I can fill up and switch on for a minute. I waited a while for boiling water. All part of the fun. Some ginger tea with honey.. and rain, birds saying good night and lions roaring not too far from camp. I started making a list of everyone's birthdays.. some of the older men don't know the date. In the old times they spoke of being born when the rain came or when the crops started growing. I saw... impala and baboons running right past our office, mongoose, giraffes, baboon spider in my banda

8 March 2017

Today our second last guests for the season left.. the famous mountain climber, Micoslav Caban, and his friend. They were awesome! Now the camp is bubbling with everyone trying to pack up and go home. Bandas are disappearing by the day and now even our office is starting to look like something is happening. Alex made some aubergine and mozarella pasta.. it was soooo good! I was longing for some pasta. We can say we have a real Italian chef in da house! Erica had a crazy admin day in town.. we had to send so many documents through whatsapp so she can sort some of the things we need for closing of camp. Things are really happening now! In 8 days we leave the camp. In Tanzania there are 30 days in February. 😁 I saw... baboons and this tiny owl.. think it's a pearl spotted owlet?

7 March 2017

My banda is gone! It takes the guys about 1 hour and 5 minutes to wrap up a tent and take away all the furniture, hammock and anything that is not part of the structure. Gone is even the toilet seat and shower head. Everything labelled per banda and in storage until opening of camp in May. We are busy closing camp slowly! 20 days until I'm back in SA! Cannot wait to see my family again! I moved to banda 7 today.. my 4th banda to stay in. I like this one's view the most of all! Our guests are very nice. The guy is 2nd in the world at climbing the 7 Summits on 7 continents, without the use of oxygen! In the late afternoon the lion roared and it felt like just on the other side of the river! Hope to hear him again tonight. We did some exercise again.. one day it will become easier and will I be able to breath. πŸ˜€ I saw... elephants, impala, baboons

6 March 2017

Alex started an English class 2 days ago.. I think it's the best idea ever. The guys really appreciate it and everyone wants to learn. Everyday there is one more person. Yesterday even I joined. The nice thing for me is that while they are learning English, we also learn a bit of Swahili as Alex gives the sentence in Swahili and they have to tell ut to her in English. I will support this as much as possible as I do believe this is very important. Hopefully I will be able to get some reading material or lessons from friends when I'm on holiday.
I cannot believe you get a more hard ass man like this... guest booked through an agency in Dar es Salaam. They started driving yesterday morning 6 o'clock. It is about an 8 hour drive.. We expected them for late lunch, but they never arrived. Then they called to say they are at a place which we knew was still 5 hours to go, so we told them we don't think they're going to make the gate's closing time. This morning we tried to call a few times, with no answer. We prepared yet another lunch. At about 3 they called to say they are stuck in some cotton soil mud. Well.. after sending a guy to help them, we discovered that they were through the gate at 7 last night. They got stuck at about 9. The driver said he was born here, so he didnt want to call the camp 'cause he knows what he is doing. They arrived here after 6 tonight! I would have been livid!! More than 34 hours and sleeping between animals, without food I saw... nothing? Weird! Lots of ruaha red billed hornbill and squirrels.
In just a few days, green became tall grasses!! Suddenly I cannot walk all the short cuts and some buildings I can't even see. I will keep these photos as reference in the new season when it is dry and yellow. It's not as easy to see animals anymore and the elephants aren't visiting us anymore.

4 March 2017

At around midnight I woke up with the sound of what I thought was rain, but this morning we had a river again.. it's like a short story as this afternoon it was already almost empty again. I have my first soccer scar! Yesterday I started to excersise with the girls, but today they were all in Msembe dropping off a friend, so I kicked some ball with a few of the guys. I feel like the mascot.. very unfit and making everyone laugh every now and then. I met 2 girls (one from Sweden and one from Denmark) doing volunteer work in northern Zambia. They are staying in a rural village with no running water.. real Africa. What an experience I think! I came very close to a woodlands kingfisher, but he was too quick for a real photo. He is my alarm call... every morning I wake up to his song and every afternoon he is the last one to say good night. I saw.. elephants, impala, monkeys (they are becoming a problem.. not running away anymore, and trying to come into tents, showing teeth)

3 March 2017

This morning a small sand snake caught a gecko. He wasn't very happy with the photo session. I had to go and oversea the unloading of our diesel (it came with the town trip). We transport a fuel tank on a lorry, fill it up and bring to camp. Then there is this home made pump to help transfer the diesel to the fixed tank. This takes a while.. so me and Dege played some Draft while we were waiting. Draft is on what looks like a chess board and the rules are a bit simular to Dambord, but completely different. I'm gonna practise so I can join the league. It was my first day to excersise with the ladies... I'm choka (tired)! And think I might be very stiff tomorrow! We run, stretch, jumping jacks, throw some ball, etc, on the soccer field before the guys come to practise. I saw... impala, monkeys, baboons, sand snake, mongoose, bateleur eagle, cameleon I love... that the hornbills are staring at us while we excersise, with the view of bush and mountains

1 March 2017

What an awesome day! I got the chance to go on safari today (a bit out of our golden cage). For the first time in my life I experienced lions mating! They really didn't care about us.. 2 couples right in the middle of the road. We had to drive in the bush to get past them. For the first time in my life I saw the lesser kudu (looks like the greater kudu, just mini me with more stripes, and more shy) and the grants gazelle (lighter in colour, more greyish). When we arrived home, a pod of pelicans waited for us in the tree. They were so funny! They tried to sit in a palm tree close to my banda.. some branches couldn't hold their weight, so snapped, then they glide off and start flying in a circle trying again. We saw the small Serengeti with a nice baobab with a whole in. Photo session time! I saw.. elephant, baboons, impala, greater kudu, lesser kudu, grants gazelle, giraffe, Saddleback stork, white pelican, digdig, zebra, lions, jackal, grounded hornbill I love.. nature

28 February 2017

In every section where staff are working you will see the writing on the wall... BADO SIKU with a number and TATA with a number. Each day this number will get less. At first I didn't know, but we are counting down the days until all of us can go home!! Bado siku means days left and Tata is for the weekly town trips with the Tata lorry to buy stock. Today we are Bado siku 16 until we leave camp. I am Bado siku 21 until I finish my job and get on an airplane to Zanzibar, and Bado siku 26 until I see my family and country! Tonight I will start to pack. I will be leaving some things in storage and a few things will go back to SA. Next Wednesday is the last Tata trip to send our luggage with (when we leave, there won't be space for a lot of luggage, so we will be sending our bag to town and only keep clothes for the last few days in camp) I saw... baboons, banded mongoose, impala I love.. that everyone is excited to go home

27 February 2017

Here I am, lying in my hammock and listening to the rain falling on sand, rocks, leaves and my grass roof. I'm trying to think of the things I miss so much, I would go back in a heart beat to just be there/enjoy that.. but my list is really short, a lot shorter than I could ever have imagined. My family.. I think of them every single day, and sometimes I just want to give up so I can go back to them. Nothing to do with work or my surroundings, I just really want to see them more. A few special friends.. I miss their talks, laughs, nights out to restaurants, tastings, theatre and just having fun together. My dog.. he is my baby! I wish so he could be here with me. I really feel bad leaving him behind. When it's extra warm, ice cream would be nice.. but I don't miss the city with its lights, traffic, sushi, bars, shows, movies or shops. This is a good place to be and I'm feeling at peace with myself.
Happy South African Milk tart day!! Milk tart is as traditional SA as can come. The national day has only been in existance for about 4 years. I love the idea! I never went to work without the milk tart and couldn't let this year pass... so I asked the guys and they were just to happy to do it. So for lunch we had milk tart as desert! I'm as excited as a little kid with ice cream! This morning I was woken by a spotted genet trying to get into my tent. He was after the little bit of food left from last night. Walking to work, I found his prints all around my banda in the pathways. I played with my neighbours, the banded mongoose. They started walking and talking over the river bed, so I said "Boe!". They stopped in their footsteps for a while.. relaxed a bit after few seconds and kept on walking, so I said "Boe!" Again. It happened about 4 times then one decided he's going to start running. They are so cute! I saw.. the genet, mongoose, impala, baboons, elephant I love..our milk tart

25 February 2017

How to survive without a washing machine 101: The guys wash everything by hand in, what looks like, 4 baths under a roof. Clothes are then hanged on a line or thrown on hot rocks to get dry, after which they iron with an old school charcoal driven iron. My dad says my great-grandmother also still used these irons, but I've never seen it before. Because of cultural reasons, no ladies underwear are washed. So in each banda is a little bit of washing powder you can use to wash it by hand in the basin/shower. This all depends on the sun.. just like at home, without a drier. You should see Kanu carry all the washing on his head!! It's brilliant! He will be teaching me in the future.
This were my early morning bush obstacles.. it was still dark when I had to go to the office, so had to be extra careful, watching my steps! A breeding herd of elephants came through the camp last night and threw all their food on the floor! A bit in the dark and still sleeping, I walked to the office.. at dining Peter said he will walk with me as the elephants were still at our office. We had some lovely rain since yesterday! A small river was created right past dining, but there isn't a lot of water in the actual river. Today we started to get things ready for my permit application. On the one photo you will see my neighbours coming home after a long day.. the band of banded mongoose. I think they are starting to communicate with me. I'm getting into the unusual habbit (for me) of reading.. I cannot wait to get back after work to just sit on the veranda and read! People who know me, will be so proud! I'm always struggling to start a book. I saw.. dikdik, impala, banded mongoose

24 February 2017

Catching up on work and having another lunch with guests... it was a quiet day, but I got to sit and stare at a giraffe right infront of my banda today. He was so relaxed.. gave me a short look and then kept on eating. There is some kind of fungus growing behind the giraffe's knees in Ruaha. Not all of them, but some, and on no other animals. They are doing a study to try and find out what causes it. It started raining late in the afternoon.. I just sat, stared and tried to read a book. A small river formed next to our dining. I saw.. elephants, giraffe, white storks

23 February 2017

Yesterday we were once again waiting for the river to start flowing.. still amazing! It was just a normal day, until the other camps started calling us to tell us water is coming. We need to check the levels of water coming our way.. the river bed is filling up, so a lot more rain/water might mean some flooding. Last year it was all hands on board as the river went completely through the camp. It created new river branches past our office, the kitchen and through a few bandas and dining... we need to be ready for incase this happens again. It's still so amazing how a river can get full in a few minutes, how you can hear the water coming! The sound of water over rocks and birds celebrating.

22 February 2017

Last night I slept next to Tembo (elephant)... he woke me up in the early mornings, eating as loudly as he can. Then I heard him leaning against a bush, most probably breaking it, and the next minute he just started snoring... it was so cute! I lay there just listening and falling a sleep. When the sun came there was still no river. We went to work like any other day and just before 10 the news came from another camp.. the water is coming! It took about 10 minutes and we had a nice flowing river in front of us. Amazing! I am surprised everytime it happens! After work I had a staring competition with a hyrax.. he looked at me for a minute, without moving and then started chewing again. Super cute! I saw... kudu, hyrax, banded mongoose, impala, elephants I love.. the river when it surprises us again!

21 February 2017

Brace yourself.. the rain is coming! January is supposed to be the beginning of rainy season, but it haven't really rained a lot yet. I can count the rainy days on one hand and almost the amount of drops as well. As you know by now, the river is a perennial stream... there are water in the river bed all year round, but only visible a few days/weeks during rainy season because of rain in higher up mountains. Since my arrival I saw the river full of water, and almost completely dry a few days later, about 2 or 3 times. We are expecting the river to be full again tomorrow morning.. as you can see in the pictures, it started making streams again in places there were nothing yesterday. It surprises me everytime I see it and I think its one of the most spectacular thing I've ever witnessed! It was raining in the mountains for 2 days now and today it was raining in camp.. I love this weather! Perfect time to read. I saw.. baboons, banded mongoose, greater kudu, impala

20 February 2017

My first braai since I'm in Tanzania!!! Wow it was good!! We were a bit worried that the meat wouldn't be the same as in SA, but is was definitely not a disappointment! Finger licking good! The wors was a bit bad.. we didn't finish it. Then there was wine and very good company. We had a great time! This will have to become an institution. Cannot wait for the next off night! Alex and Erica accompanied me back to my banda before they had to cross the river to theirs. On their way they saw two lions a few 100m away.. just kept on walking and made it safely to their rooms. This is the dangerous type of bush traffic we get..
In Afrikaans we say that a girl that whistles, should be thrown out the door. So kick me out! I can whistle.. I love to whistle! In my younger days we had horses. My grandma (Annatjie Bosman) tought me how to whistle very loudly, so I can call them easily, and it worked! I used to be louder than all my cousins and can still show guys a thing or two. I started getting into a habbit of whistling songs softly, without even myself realising it... it is my happy place, content in what I'm doing at that moment. My grandpa (Jannie Bosman) also used to whistle around the house.. you would hear him spinning out some honey or doing some wood work, just whistling this 1 or 2 tunes. Sounds I will never forget! Somewhere in the last few years, I stopped whistling. Too busy in life worrying about small stuff and other people. Well, I got it back! I found myself whistling while I walk again and it feels like I found a bit of myself again! The rain is also back again! It's a good day!
The sound of nature celebrating after a quick rain... birds of all kinds are singing, the rain is still drizzling softly on the sand and in the far distance you can hear an elephant trumpeting. It's one of the few times I can actually here the thunder! Usually I can just see it far away, but no sound. The smell of wet sand a fresh elephant dung. Tomorrow we might have a river again! Today started off very good... I was woken up by the sound of 2 young elephant bulls practising their fighting skills just across the river from my banda. While lying and watching them, the banded mongoose came sniffing and digging around my banda. I had so much energy today, I even went for a short (breathtaking) jog around our soccer field. Tonight we have no guests, so it's an off night! We are going to braai! I saw... elephants, banded mongoose, impala, giraffe, baboons I love... the rain!

19 February 2017

Squirrels.. the cutest animals in the bush! I love the way they jump ahead in the pathways. They are everywhere! Alex told me how she heard a baby squirrel one day in the office. So she entered very slowly and carefully, looking for the mtoto. The next moment she just felt a *squish* under her shoe... she stepped on him. It was very sad. Today I stalked the banded mongoose at my banda. They came very close, but there are always one, that I didn't see, that warns the others. One day I'll get a close up! Internet connection is really bad in the bush! Today a couple wanted to check-in to their flight. We walked around looking for good signal and finally got them checked in. What a mission!! I saw... banded mongoose, 2 black backed jackal drinking water in front of my banda and some baboons. The lions roared very close to dining tonight.

18 February 2017

So the hyena broke our hole trunk last night, to get to milk powder and cookies.. he opened the coffee, but didnt seem to like that taste. Now we need to make sure there is a door so he can't get it again... what strong jaws!! I slipped away for lunch to sit in the privacy of my banda to eat and drink some wine.. feels like holiday! Everything is so dry, I really hope that its starts raining again. I started reading "Playing with fire" - Tess Gerritsen last night.. couldn't put it down!! Was a bit tired today, but saticfied! Finished it now. What an awesome piece of reading material! I saw... impala, elephants (incl a super mtoto one, looks like few days!), a snake went over the pathway at our office, but was too quick to see what it was, some banded mongoose came sniffing around my banda and got a big scare when I moved I miss... a nice, big, juicy piece of steak
Today my 4 day sit down with a TRA guy started. More info regarding all taxes and documents required by the government. Lots of details I do know, but enough new info to make me look forward to working in this beautiful country. After work I watched a band of banded mongoose crossing the riverbed. 3 of them stopped right in the middle.. started playing and the next moment 2 were mating and the 3rd was just on the lookout for danger. Just before midnight we heard a loud noise which could be our friend Tembo breaking our water pipes again. I looked from close to the safety of my banda (which is very close to our tank) but didn't see anything. Erica & Alex went around to the dining side and when coming round the path at Banda 8, they found Fisi (hyena) eating our coffee tin.. he also had some cookies. He must be working through the night like my dad.. lots of coffee needed! I saw... elephant, baboons, band of mongoose, impala, water monitor I miss... online submissions and Sage

17 February 2017

16 Febr 2017: A bush Christmas in the middle of February... our guests from America arrived here with battery driven fans.. they could see the happiness on my face when I saw some cool air. So today on their departure I got a fan and some mosquito spray.. I'm in a happy place! I'm a winter person.. I love soup, hot chocolate, a fire place, scarfs, beanies and snow holidays in Europe. Extreme heat in Tanzania was one of my biggest fears. I brought with me a small USB fan that I used at Oppikoppi. Sometime in the first few days here, I couldn't sleep because of the heat, so I tried to use it, but with my first try it started making a terrible noise while cooling me down. I really don't want to disturb the bush silence here, so I'll keep it only for emergencies. Now I have a new, bigger fan and ready for suicide month (November). I saw...elephants infront of our office, baboons and yes, it was a hyena sniffing around my tent last night! I love... my new fan

15 February 2017

Just when I thought I'm safely in my tent, something ran past my tent. Too fast and light to be an elephant.. I suspect a hyena. Pretty scary as I think he must have been watching me when I came to my tent. Tomorrow morning I will look for the track! I miss... biltong! I saw... 2 baboons running a metre or 2 from our office this morning, on a mission! A herd of elephants in front of my banda. Impala, cute squirrels, lots of hornbills and a troop of monkeys with 2 very cute babies. I loved... the little monkey, so naughty and playful, and the sunset.
Dinner was lovely! I had some good conversations with some Americans and told them about biltong and Ouma rusks. Now I need biltong.. with a nice piece of fat.. mmm Me and a few guys from work started talking about a big scare in our life or what we are afraid of. A few years ago, me and some friends did a hiking trail in the Kruger Park. An elephant was eating very calmly, a safe distance from us.. until someone's flash went off while we were taking pictures. The next moment we were all running-walking in seperate directions with adrenaline flowing stongly in our veins. Our guide could luckely scare him enough that he went into another direction. Seems like a few are, not scared, but aware of snakes.. because they can hide well enough and just be there when you don't expect them. Even in towns and on farms. It's like telling ghost stories around a fire.. now I'm looking for snakes everywhere!
Today started early this morning.. again. Before the sun came up, the best time of the day, when the birds start with their morning choir and the field is starting to get colour. I tried to take a late morning nap, but just as I lied down, my Tembo's came walking out of the bush... so here I was lying on my bed just watching and enjoying every small movement of theirs. Our figures went to the auditors today. It was so much fun going through everything and starting to make sense of it all. My cousin went to a Valentines dance with his girlfriend... don't they look gorgeous! When I receive photos like this, I really do miss my family so much! I'm so proud of him and what he is becoming. After work I sat probably an hour just watching a troop of monkeys playing around in the river bed. A tiny one was making somersaults.. the one after the other. The moment he stood up and saw his mom left him.. he started jumping after her. Super cute!! He was so upset when he saw me.

14 February 2017

Happy Valentine's Day! Just a normal day in Africa... playing with the accounts to get things sorted for the annual audit, paying weekly wages and eating breakfast while the elephants are drinking water in the river. Tonight I met some guests from Australia.. what an interesting couple! Well traveled. For one or other reason I always enjoy the conversations with Australians more than other countries, except that sometimes I really struggled to understand through that thick Aussie accent. A big water monitor climbed up the tree next to my room.. what a noise! Didn't realise they can climb up so high! And he is super quick to get away when he saw me! I miss... ice cream I saw... impala, elephants, squirrels, baboon, water monitor and lots of hornbills I loved... our heart shaped cookie desert

7 February 2017

A bush beany: The word bean counter is used as a nickname for accountants. "Beans are a cheap commodity, so to count them is a rather silly thing to do. A "bean counter" is one who nitpicks over small things in order to save costs." - Urban Dictionary So here I am in Tanzania.. training to be the accountant for Mwagusi Safari Camp. A real bush beany! My training will last 3 months after which I will have to apply for my business permit. My 2 year contract will start in June 2017. Let the numbers dance!

4 January 2017

We stopped ever now and then, the "bus agents" will jump off and try and get people who wants to get on. It's like a whole marketing team for the bus Vendors would come to the windows to sell anything from water to tomatoes and boiled eggs... sometimes they would even jump in the bus to sell and drive with for a few kilometres, before jumping out and walking back to the town. Some vendor guys would even show incoming passengers where there is space to sit! After one our lunch stop, they put dustbins in the walkway for all the rubbish. There are lands and lands full of sisal plants next to the road! The use this especially to make strong rope. There is a 14 year old boy sitting behind me. The only one who understands English! He was my tour guide.. teaching me Swahili words and explaining when the bus stop and I can quickly jump off to stretch legs. He was so happy to practise his English. He is on his way to school in Iringa. Stays there for the quarter. The landscape is beautiful
We got up very early and went to the bus stop with a tuktuk. My baggage almost not fitting. It is so warm 5 o'clock in the morning, and still dark. 27Β° 5:30 At the bus stop the tuktuk driver helped me and my roommate to get to our separate busses. Nobody understand us.. I'm hoping to get on the right bus! Sweat is dripping off my face.. it is sooo warm! I'm gonna die! I bought myself a water, but I will have to drink slowly as we are only stopping twice for 5 minutes. I sat in the bus for 2 hours before we started moving. I asked the "bus hostess" if there is aircon.. she came and opened the window. I used wet wipes to try and cool myself down. I'm luckily sitting next to the window. I leaned out of window half the time to get cool air.. so now I have 1 red arm, but definitely worth it!
It was the warmest night of my life!! Our room had aircon, but somewhere during the night the power went off and I woke up all sweaty! It didn't help to go outside as it's soooo humid!!! I took some cushions and slept on the floor outside, on the veranda for a while until the power came on again. Luckily the floor is kind of cool. As the power came on, the alarm went off... seems like I triggered the alarm on the veranda. Oops. πŸ˜€

3 January 2017

After we sort of got lost, we finally found my backpackers. It looked very dodgy from outside.. very high walls! But inside it was very nice and the rooms really clean and spacious. Me and my roommate (girl from Argentina who's English isn't very good) went for a walk to find a bar the backpacker guy told me about. Very close and on the beach.. but first we had to cross the road where no one understand us and drives just where they want too. I can see the ocean!! I immediately went strait to the water to put my feet in! A 500ml beer costs just as much as a 340ml beer!! Then we went to look for food.. we caught a tuktuk that took us to a nice Italian restaurant with very good pizza! On the way we saw a Woolworths... My dad was in the army, so we moved every 5 years. My mom always said she will move anywhere with him, just as long as there's a Woolworths. So here we are.. another good sign!! My first outing in Tanzania = success and excitement!
I started learning bits of Swahili when I was in SA. So now I saw my chance to tell him I would like to drink a beer.. they just laughed, liked that I can speak qdogo (little) Kiswahili, and kept on driving. We had to stop at his house to change drivers and leave him there (too much traffic to the place I booked). He invited me in and the next moment he came back with a beer! It was the best thing since I landed!! He also asked his wife to bring me a piece of Christmas cake. I was definitely in my happy place! Did I say that I already love Tanzania and the people!?! When I was finished we were on the way again to look for my hostel I booked...
3 January 2017, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Fernandes (an awesome guy helping Mwagusi with Dar es Salaam arrangements for travel) waited outside the airport with his driver and a signage with my name on it. (Like in the movies πŸ˜€) I quickly withdrew some cash and bought myself a Vodacom SIM card so I can just try and stay in contact with my beloved family and friends. Then we went off to look for my accommodation.. the streets are small, dirt roads with potholes and lots of vendors next to the road. I saw jackfruit for the first time, in real life! Fern was very disappointed that I booked my own accommodation and didn't ask his help. Next time I will definitely remember. People here are sooo friendly!!! The car had aircon! #goodsign Much appreciated after the hot airport!
It was VERY hot and VERY humid!! When we were younger, me and my brother locked ourselves in the boot of my Mom's car while she was in a meeting. We believed that we knew how to open it from the inside. We didn't! My sister had to go and call her to open for us. Months later we went to visit my great-gandma in Amanzimtoti. It was very humid... it felt like we couldn't breath and we told everyone it felt like in the boot. This is how I feel today as well... sweat is actually dripping from my face! How am I going to survive this!?! All this heat!! Ai Trudie, what have you done!?!
Safely in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania! The flight was really good and I slept like a baby after being fed. While we were descending, I saw a lot of palm trees, the prettiest green hills and LOTS of charter flight planes!! The airport is small, but bigger than Lusaka, Zambia. Inside I had to complete my visa documents (applying for a 3 month work visa). Then to a place where they took a photo of me and scanned my thumbs. My basic knowledge of Kiswahili and a very friendly smile helped me a lot. Everyone is so friendly! I did wait a long while for them to call my name so I can collect my passport, with visa, and go past border control. Lots of business people! My baggage was already taken off the belt and put in a corner with everyone else's because they only have 2 belts and a few flights landed while I was waiting for my visa.
I really miss my mom. She was so clever, understanding and had that special way of motivating when something seemed really scary! She knew and understood me, without me having to tell her how I feel. Thinking of her so much on this new journey! Years ago my Dad and Mom moved to Zambia for 5 years. My Mom rarely drank anything alcoholic.. thus, big was my surprise when, one night I spoke to her over the phone and she told me she is drinking a G&T. A what? Yes, a gin and tonic! Someone told her that mosquitos stay away from people that drink G&Ts. Now I'm on my way to malaria infested waters.. bring it on mosquitos! I'm preparing and I'm ready for you!
Boom! I've got the party row!! A whole row just for myself. How lucky can one be? #goodsign SAA Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam, 3 Jan 2017.
The walk of shame: parading through first class before I can take my seat in economy class. Rather keep your eyes on the ground, pleb!
Saying goodbye is never easy... my Dad and sister took me to the airport, so I can start my big adventure, the big change in my life! One of the few times I actually didn't have to run to be in time for my flight! #goodsign I feel really sad leaving my family behind.. they are my everything! But this is the opportunity of a life time and so much excitement is pumping through my veins! #superexcited #littlebitscared #Ilovethemsomuch #familyiseverything Johannesburg, SA, leaving to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 3 January 2017. Africa is indeed the future! Tanzania, here I come!
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone... this is so true! I was pretty comfortable the last 10 years.. a very nice, good, stable, interesting job.. nice flat.. close to my family.. I can drive to my favourite shops/restaurants with my eyes closed.. Internet.. a car. I think you start to take things for granted and maybe don't appreciate what you have as much as you are supposed to. My everything was telling me I need a change, I need to challenge myself, something different. So here I am... on my way to a country I've never been to, a place where I know no one, a language I don't understand, new culture to get used to and out of the daily routine of city life. Let the games begin! New journey.. please play nice! (My parents experienced some awesome things in their life. My mom always said she should write a book. She never got so far.. so I'm going to try my best and keep this blog alive with my experiences in Tanzania.)

1 January 2017

First adventurous obstacle…. how to pack for 3 months, baggage limit to stay under 23kg and then closing the zip! #ImgoingtoTanzania #travels #packingproblems #priorities