In the kitchen, the mighty kitchen, the lino sleeps tonight…


Now that I’m entering my final months of this stint in Tanzania there are so many things that I want to do but don’t have the funds for at the moment. I’m almost half way through our Easter holiday and I was hoping to go to Gombe Stream National Park to visit the chimpanzees but the ‘death money’ hasn’t come through, so I’ll se staying in Mwanza. I would love to go white water rafting in Uganda, or to see the gorillas in Rwanda, take the train from Dar es Salaam to Zambia to see Victoria Falls, but it’s not going to happen on this trip. Even if I stayed on for a further year I don’t think I’d have enough cash and time to do all of these things so there’s no point in getting annoyed and feeling like I’ve missed out.

There is plenty that I have done in the 6 months that I’ve actually been here, however. I‘ve been to Zanzibar, to Tanga and Pangani on the Tanzanian Swahili Coast. I have driven through ancient landscapes down to Shinyanga, across to Arusha, seen Mount Kilimanjaro, up across the border into Kenya. I’ve fed giraffes, been tickled by an orphaned elephant, snorkelled in the Indian Ocean, met fishermen and Maasai, been stupidly sunburnt (even in the shade), eaten fresh octopus and fish straight from the ocean. I’ve been to one of the most important archaeological sites in Kenya and watched monkeys play for half an hour. And last weekend I went to the Serengeti.

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Edges are blurring all around


I’m back at school, I’m tired, I’ve got a cold coming on but otherwise things are good.

After my Christmas trip to Kenya I was quite drained, sunburnt and altogether dreading going back to work. Having a break of a month is not necessarily a good thing for me. (Yes, I know, boo hoo, poor me, I’m sure you would love a month off for Christmas – I’m not bemoaning that, I just recognise that I need more structure than all that time to my own devices.)

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And I am sunburnt


One week back and I’m still not sleeping properly, although over the last couple of days that has really been my own fault. What’s been going on then? Let’s take a quick look…

Wednesday: I had a really shitty day, no better way to describe it really, and I was in a bit of a foul mood.  Not sure why, nothing really happened to make me feel that way, probably just lack of sleep and the feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing again.  I got an email from one of my friends telling me that he too had had a shitty day, although his language was somewhat stronger.  I think moaning to each other probably helped.  But I did get to work with my Junior school choir and they have improved since the first time I met with them.  And I started writing a book.  I’ve done 6 pages and probably will never get any further with it, but I had a first line I liked and thought I’d get on and see how much I could write from that.

Thursday: Better – I had music with all of year 3 and then two lessons with year 7, a bit of possibly bad news from home that is being investigated further, but some more emails from people and entertaining photos.

Friday: Getting through the day, working on the class assembly (it’s next Friday and should be interesting) and off to a birthday party on the roof top bar of a local hotel.  After a few drinks and playing games – If you had £2000 in your hand right now would you snog Pat Butcher? Etc. – we were off to Rock Bottom, Mwanza’s current premier night club – a better one will apparently re-open after Christmas.  Loud bass, neon lights, a large screen playing music videos, smoke machines and local men and women grinding up against you it was a lot of fun.  I got home at 3amish, made a phone call to England and got to sleep in the middle of a storm with rain splashing in through my half closed windows*…

*Yes I did try to close them but they are on slats and have a rusty metal mechanism that didn’t want to work, and when you’ve drunk a bit of whisky you don’t want to be messing with that sort of thing too much.

Saturday: Alarm went off at quarter to 6, slept through, woke at 7.07 and jumped out of bed, had time to get dressed, clean my teeth and pick up a banana before heading off to school to help with the swimming gala.  Since I was meant to leave at 7.15, I didn’t have enough time to put on my sunblock.  This may have proven to be a mistake.  All the same, I got to school with Chloe, ate a slightly expensive breakfast of omelette and banana, and waiting for instructions of what to do to help.  The rain started shortly after we were in position to be helpful (my job was keeping track of swimming hats) but thankfully didn’t last long.  My main input into the day was to help sort out the sound desk so that the commentator’s microphone would work.  I managed to re-wire a cable, get all the inputs into the right channels and sort out the bass problem.  It seems that my module of music tech 9 years ago wasn’t entirely unsuccessful, but I’m sure that they could have managed it without me eventually.

I watched some really good swimming and started to feel a bit warm as the sun had emerged and there was a bit of a glare from the pool. I put on my factor 50 and felt quite smug that I had covered up in time before the burn set in. I was, in fact wrong and obviously didn’t apply the sunscreen well enough as today I have a nice red streak down my nose, a clear line of colour on my feet and most prominent and, for everyone else it seems, entertaining are the two red wings that are now across my boobs a bit. I wasn’t wearing anything particularly revealing, but my top must have slipped once or twice in the sun and I now have a chest like a zoom lolly. And no, I’m not putting a picture of the burn on here, or anywhere.

Here, however, are some of the pictures I took at the Gala:

I left in the afternoon and headed to the hotel by the lake for a drink and a look around the craft fair.  There was Tanzanite on show, I would really like some, but I just don’t have the money for it right now, so I’ll just have to gaze upon it longingly…  I did, however, buy a lovely chunky silver ring which may be a present for someone but for now is all mine.  Lunch at the Yacht Club, watching flocks of with birds flying against the cloudy grey sky and a monitor lizard lazily crawling towards the shore.

The day wore on with rugby matches, more drinks back at the hotel and an invitation to go out in a boat on a lake at 1 o’clock this morning.

And so now it’s Sunday, I woke up with cramp in one leg, which is normally a sign of drinking too much, I’ve been writing in hieroglyphs, laminating days, dates and months and starting to plan next week’s work. I’ve still got that nagging feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing and that sometime soon they’ll decide that they need to send me back, but I suppose that’s just because I’ve been away and haven’t got into the swing of things yet.

And after all, tomorrow is another day…

Limbo


I’ve started my anti-malarials.  So far, no side effects, which is good, but they are likely to make me feel nauseous, more sensitive to the sun and all sorts of other fun things.  So essentially I’m moving to the sun and taking medication that will turn me into a vampire. 

I’ve nearly packed – two suitcases of clothes, books, toiletries, dvds, shoes, staplers, staples, snap cards, hand blender, etc. and one more to fill with vitamin tablets, sunblock, stationary and pictures.  Little gifts that have come from my chims at work – Hello! – are going in there too.  I think I may have to repack some clothes to pad it out a little and take some of the rattling about out of it.

We’re leaving at 12 tomorrow for my 19.20 flight, better to be there waiting than in a queue on the M25 waiting.  Not sure how my mum is doing with all this going on, she’s storing all my stuff and driving me down, but my little brother is already trying to claim the dvd collection. Git. He’ll soon find that I’m actually taking all the good ones with me and leaving the empty cases for him to cry over.

It’s been less stressful, the irritating ex *finally* gave me some money today, so that’s my US dollars sorted.  Family members have also donated some so I now have a waterproof jacket, batteries for my torch for when the power cuts out and 6 bottles of sunblock.  Ta very much to them.

Not sure how I’m feeling about things at the moment, I think I just need things to be done now.  I’ve visited people, but not enough of them, I’m missing a festival that I’ve been going to since I picked up my GCSE results 12 years ago – Towersey Village Festival if you’re interested, it’s good, go next year if you can – and I’m feeling like I’m in limbo.

The next one of these I’ll write I’ll probably be sunburnt. I’ve got some Aloe Vera so don’t worry.