You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2007.

Day three at Amani and I’m feeling pretty settled and comfortable here.
The house is lovely, 100 years old or so and a typical sort of colonial style,
windows all around, and a massive terraced garden complete with Avocado trees,
flowering bananas and flame trees. The view down the valley is stunning
although it has been a bit hazy in the distance for the last couple of days.
I tend to wake at about 6.15 as the sun rises over the moutain straight
in front of my window. It is nice and cool at that time, about 24 degress
celsius. Note – It is currently 9.15 am and 28.5 and rising. The house
has electricity though this does fail every so often so there is a good supply
of hurricane lamps by the back door. I have discovered the delights of a
‘bush shower’. This consists of standing in a tub with a large bucket of
warm water in front of you and holding a tin mug. Take the mug, dip it in
the water, pour over the head. Believe me it is blissful! However, my hair,
well what can I say – it doesn’t do Africa! Think Charlie Dimmock with her
finger in the electrical socket – and you may be some way to getting the

The other night Steve pulled me up for going outside to sit on the step without
a torch. ‘The steps retain the heat and therefore are very inviting to snakes’
– gulp. Then on Thursday evening we were sitting in the garden and I noticed
a rustle in a distant tree – a huge yellow baboon. What a splendid chap
he was and we must have watched him for about an hour. Again Steve, pulled
me up – ‘if they come into the garden you must bring the dogs in’. ‘Why
will they frighten the baboons?’ I asked, ‘ No teh baboons will kill the
dogs, they have two and a half inch canines’ – again – gulp.

Emau Hill where the Tukae project is based is about 7 Km up a very very bumpy
track from here. We’ve been up in the 4 x 4 for the last couple of days
but as Steve has gone back down into Tanga today, Pia and I are going to
walk it – well I hope so. Pia does it all the time, but I’m not sure how
I’ll handle it – it is steep, rocky and will be very hot. Yesterday, we
went down to the river near the project to see African Violets growing wild
– yep this is where they come from. Steve kept picking leaves of various
trees,crushing them and then asking me to smell them and identify. I managed
cinnamon and cloves but failed on immature black peppercorns. In fact I
gathered a bunch of clove leaves and am currently drying them on the step
in an attempt to make some sort of pot pourri. There’s loads I could write
about the project but I think I’ll leave that till I’ve got good old broadband
at home and the luxury of my own laptop.


I was getting a bit worried as I hadn’t got any text messages from Lisa as expected, but then this morning I recieved the following message by email. – Kev

Well I’m here.  The phone isn’t working but I can email Kevin with the text
and he’s going to post stuff up for me.  I had a very good journey, but was
pretty tired when I eventually got to Kipepeo.  My goodness what a place to unwind and relax.
It is just blissful and I spent an idyllic day and a half there in the most
delightful little banda which are so cleverly designed and made with local materials and labour.
Anyway after an early start yesterday (5.15) I got on the bus to Tanga.
I’ll write more later about

the beurocracy – my goodness they like their paper work!  The bus trundled
up the coast and I knew we were approaching Tanga but wasn’t sure which was
the main stop.  At one particular stop a lot of people started getting off the bus, I looked up and
a chap was standing at the door of the coach.  Oh he looks just like my brother
– oh my goodness!  If he hadn’t got on I would have ended up in Mombasa!  Anyway, it was great
to see him and I’m not sure which of the two of us was most excited. So lunch
at the TAnga yacht club was followed by a shopping experience like no other I’ve encountered.  The
man at the market let me taste a passion fruit – believe me they are nothing like the ones in Tesco!

I was enraptured with them he gave me a bag for free!

Shopping over, we set off for AMani.  We soon left the metalled road and
started up the mountain.  When the guide book says, 4×4 only, it means it.
The road had potholes, rocks, and the final 7Km had 12 hairpin bands!  Eventually we arrived and
Pia came out to meet us.  They have a beautiful house which I’ll write about
later, but there is an avacado tree in the garden dripping with fruit and the place is just exquisite.
So we are just about to have porridge for breakfast and then go up to Emau
hill and see the project and what is happing.  I’ve been giving strict instructions on how
to greet different people – just hope I get it right!  Ok I’ll email Kevin
later in the week with more

news – oh one last thing.  I woke this morning to the sun rising over the
mountain – just beautiful.

Well the day has dawned – well actually it hasn’t yet but will be doing soon – I’ve just checked and it’s due to rise at 7.13 am. Yes that’s how sad I am. Well I’ve still not packed but the piles of clothes and stuff are all sorted so it’s just a question of putting them in the various bags. I rang the airline
yesterday to check that I could take more than one bag and I can so I’ll be taking a rucksack and a bag. I’ve transferred everything into the various pockets and the round the neck wallet that is recommended. I don’t fly till 8.00 pm tonight but will spend most of the day travelling down to Gatwick. So it’s off to Dubai where we land at 7.00 am local time tomorrow. This sounds really civilised doesn’t it, then you check the time difference and Dubai is 4 hours ahead of the UK. So that would be 3.00 am then! Oh well, I’m a good sleeper and have actually purchased a blow up cushion so that I won’t end up with my head collapsed onto my shoulder and have drool dribbling down my arm. I’ll just have a soggy cushion round my neck. Then I get the 10 am flight to Dar Es Salaam and Henry will be there to pick me up. Anyway, the whole point of going and this blog is to publicise the work my brother Steve is doing up in the East Usambaras with Tukae. So wish me luck and I’ll try and text Kev on a regular basis. Phew, yeah, well, sort of – here goes.  Oh yeah – happy Chinese New Year all.

Yes yes yes, I know, I’ve loads to do so I’m sitting her writing another post.  I think I’ve decided on the books I’m taking, I’ve got a Graham Greene, The End of the Affair, which I think was made into a movie a couple of years ago; Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson, he wrote ‘Snow Falling on Cedars’ which I thought was fantastic; and finally a Nadine Gordimer book that she got the Nobel prize for Literature call the Burger’s Daughter.   Gosh they all seem a bit worthy, so I’ll probably get some sort of trash from the Airport – well it’s compulsory really.  Ok ok ok, I’m going to do some packing now.

Don’t you just love this shop.  I bought handfuls of stuff this lunchtime and spent all of £32 and that included a coat! That’s it I think for the shopping.  Well apart from stocking up the fridge and freezer for daughter.  Good grief 2 days to go!

I start my course of malaria tablets tomorrow so thought I’d look up what it is I’m actually taking.  The drug I’ve got is called malerone and it has two comoponents – proguanil and atovaquone.  Well I’m glad that’s clear then.  Malaria is a pretty horrible disease and is the greatest health issue where Steve and Pia are living.  They have already set up four or five health posts where they have trained staff who can identify the type of malaria that people have from a blood sample.  There are various strains of malaria depeding on the type of protozoa that is causing the infection.  They are all of the strain plasmodium but the more serious form is from the protozoan plasmodium vivax and plasmodium falcifarum and these are the ones which are present in sub-saharan Africa.  The disease is spread by the female anopheles mosquito, so no mossie bites, no malaria.  No I’m not too scared, knowledge is power man!  I just don’t want to come back with an unwelcome souvenir.

I bought a lovely white scarf today in Alexandra Square in Lancaster University.  It is white with a lovely silver thread through it – just the job for protecting me from the hot African sun.  The chap running the stall was a real poppet and was really interested in my proposed jaunt – so hello Garry.  I’ve come up with a plan for a travelling companion – see later posts for details – no despite many requests I’m not taking anyone in my suitcase.

Can I just point folks to a lovely  video of Hugh McLeod who has been doing a marketing tour of Tescos in the UK to promote Stormhoek wine.  All I can say is – ah!

Well I’m back and pretty tired but it was a good meeting and again I met some smashing people.  So hello to Celeste, Matt, Mike, Cam (again!) Judy, and all the others.  It  was great.  I’ve inserted a link to the restaurant in the previous post as it really is worth going to.  I recommend the crab cakes with sweet chilli sauce.

I sent the previous post to Kev by SMS and he being a clever clogs managed to post it straight to the blog using his phone.  I don’t think my phone is quite up to that.
I’m currently panicking as I have over 150 emails waiting to be answered or at least read, goodness knows how much to do still and only 3 days to do it all.  Trying very hard not to hyperventilate.

Good meeting, with a great presentation on the ITN online project. We saw news items from Gaumant news reels, ITN and channel 4 news and Reuters. Archives from almost the last 100 years are being digitised and made available for download for FE and HE. Should be ready in beta by April and fully operational by the autumn. No news on the cost yet though. lovely meal at The Red Onion and further drinking at Intermezzo bar. If I sent anyone a valentine text rose at an inapropriate time I do apologise! Lisa

Right, I’m off to the beautiful city of Glasgow this morning till tomorrow night. Kevin has said he will post to the blog for me. Though I do have my doubts at his efficiency. My phone rang last night and it said ‘Kevin’ on the screen. So I picked it up and said ‘hello’ he then asked. ‘Did I just phone you?’ I nearly answered, No we are speaking telepathically but restrained. Bless him he’s full of cold and rang me today sounding like Gollum – well not really but it sounded good. So good luck Kev – I’ll be in touch later! And I promise not to mention it again – well not too many times anyway.

Twitter feed


Visitors to this site

Flickr Photos

February 2007
« Jan   Mar »

Blog Stats

  • 147,474 hits
Lisa Valentine's Facebook profile