Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28, 2012 - Gossip

Rumor has it that one large, Kenyan grocery store chain is coming to Tanzania.  Four stores in Dar es Salaam.  Possibly this year.  Nakumatt.

When we heard this news at our Friday "happy hour playgroup"yesterday, I was flooded with memories of my love-hate relationship with Nakumatt.  If it is the same as a Kenyan Nakumatt, more or less, then we could get a lot of things that are often hard to get here now.  But then I could be back to fighting with the cheese guy over 100 grams of cheese.  At least we have a filtered water system in our house now so that I won't have to fight over how to spend my water bottle refund.

Nakumatt.  In Dar.  Could be crazy!

I won't get too excited until I see the place with my own eyes...
LMW

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27, 2012 - I Will Still Hit My Son


I’m still on my two-week Kiswahili course with just two days to go. It has been tough, very intensive, so many word have been read, written and spoken to me and I can proudly announce that I have retained about 20% of them. I now understand the system of the grammar but can’t really use it in practice although I know it in theory.

I want to have a serious chat with whoever said that Kiswahili is an easy language to learn; the person clearly didn’t know what they were talking about. OK, words are written as they are pronounced, there are few exceptions (but they are there) and you can count to 1 million knowing only 21 words but then the fun stops. THERE ARE 7-8 NOUN CLASSES. Remember in Spanish: el or la. That means Spanish has two noun classes, Kiswahili has 8!!! And the noun class changes the verb, the pronoun, the adjective…basically the whole sentence changes completely from noun class to noun class.   It is tough.

I am still with the same Kiswahili teacher and upon teaching me the word “strict” she asked me if Lisa was strict with the children. I said, “not particularly.”

“Do you hit them?” She wanted to know.  “I have heard that wazungu (white people) don’t hit their children.”

“That is true,” I explained, “it is actually illegal.”

Illegal...after several moments of laughter…the conversation continued. I tried to bring the normal arguments to the table. If you don’t believe people should hit each other people then why make the exception with your children and blah, blah. “But I want my child to behave”, she argued. After about 10 minutes of me trying politely to convey a none-hitting message, she says: “But I will still hit my son!” We left the subject and I was not really pushing her. I know the culture here, but I just wanted her to know the basic arguments against hitting children.

Today the topic came up again, maybe because I couldn’t remember the noun (to be strict). She told me that she believed in corporate punishment in schools. Remember the lady is 29 years old.  “It is ok if they hit me (or somebody) with a stick over my hands. What I didn’t like was one teacher made me sit outside in the sun where I continuously had to ask the sun to come down to me while moving my hands up and down. It was so hot, I got so tired and it was embarrassing because everybody could see me (I think this punishment is used for students that talk/chat in class). But hitting my hands five times with a stick is OK.”

Later today she told me about when her father would hit her. I said that in my country that if anybody would use a “tool” to hit their children they would be regarded as crazy. “Oh my father used to tell me to go out and find a stick he could hit me with. I would find a small stick and bring it to him. He would then tell me, do you really think this stick can punish you enough after what you have done? He would then go out and find a larger stick.

All the above I kind of knew already from living in Kenya. Towards the end of the day she must have reflected on our conversation when she said. “Maybe if I knew of a family that did not hit their children I would know that there is another option that could work. But I don’t know anybody that doesn’t hit their children.”

Well, now she knows me!

KW

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25, 2012 - Going to Town

Dar has been good for me in the sense that I have conquered my biggest fear from Nairobi - driving - and have gained a lot of independence that I didn't have there.  It is really nice not to feel so chaperoned all the time - I went the other day to get a hair cut by myself, and it was awesome (going by myself, not so much the hair cut).  I mostly just drive around the little peninsula that we live on and that is just great for me.  But there are some days when I miss Charles...and yesterday was one of them.

We needed to have our car inspected in order to register it in our names and get our diplomatic license plates.  The process has been ongoing since Kristoffer bought the car before the rest of us arrived, but today was the day (we were told yesterday) that the car had to be inspected.  In the city.  During Kristoffer's working hours.  Leaving only me to deal with it.  If I was afraid of driving in Nairobi, I was doubly afraid of driving in the city, or "in town" as we say here. 

I had to drive on the outskirts of town last week for my job interview (again, more on that later), but today I had to go all the way deep into the heart of town.  I was pretty stressed...fearing a car accident or flat tire or that I would be stuck in traffic and late to pick up Grace...or ALL of the above happening at the same time.  

But I did it!  

I carefully studied the city map to have a mental idea of where I was going.  I brought along the iPad and the Garmin for backup, and snacks and water because for some reason that just made me feel better.  I found my way to the Revenue Authority and asked a police officer to please let me park somewhere while I tracked down the guy I was supposed to meet (parking was like a free for all! totally scary!).  To his credit, the police guy did not ask for money in return for his kindness, which I greatly appreciated.  Then I waited outside for about 15 minutes for a guy to come meet me and get in the car to direct me the rest of the way.  We ended up down a backroad at what I could only describe as a "very sketchy warehouse with a full lot of dead cars".  I had the distinct fear that if I died there, nobody would ever be able to find me!  But the guy was nice and his colleagues took about 15 minutes inspecting the car before I could go.  

I had to make my way home again and deal with the crazy city buses...called dala dalas...definitely not as crazy as Nairobi's matatus, but also definitely driving on their own terms.  There was one really nice dala dala driver who let me in when nobody else would, so thank you very much to him.  In town the roads are narrower with weird double- and triple-parking arrangements every so often.  There are more lights and stop signs here than in Nairobi, and people adhere to them slightly more often here as well (but definitely not all the time). I did much better than I thought I would, and it was much "easier" than I think it would have been in Nairobi.  A little bit scary...but I did it!  ME!  HA HA!  Take that, fear of mine!

I haven't decided what is the more "expat" thing to do:  

become confident in driving on the "wrong" side of the road and even drive by myself in town, WAY out of my comfort level 

OR

have a full-time driver for four years and never drive at all.

But now that I have tried them both, I feel 100% "expat" for the first time.  

LMW

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 24, 2012 - Afternoon Delight

One of our kids' favorite pastimes is when Kristoffer turns them into rockets.  As you can see below...sky rockets in flight...


*please pardon Grace's unlady-like lack of underwear. She had just spilled a large cup of water and then sat in the puddle, so she was airing out :)

LMW

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012 - The Help

Rose has been away for over two weeks on leave in Kenya.  First it was Easter and then her daughter was on break from boarding school.  It was good for her to go and also good for us that she came back last night.  While she was away, we were really busy keeping up with everything she does on top of everything we do, and during all that I had some time to think about our general situation with her (there was time for thinking, but not so much time for blogging!).

If you've been reading this blog since we started our African adventure you might remember that we were not initially comfortable having staff work for us in Kenya.  We started off thinking we could do it all ourselves and tried to fight the pressure to employ Kenyans.  That is, until reality turned out to be more difficult than we expected.  

Because first of all, expats do provide a huge percentage of jobs in developing countries (at least in Kenyan and Tanzania...I am assuming other African countries as well), the absence of which would likely lead to a rise in a whole host of other social and economic problems.  Second of all, the expectation that expats will employ local staff is actually fair, when you think about how much most expats benefit professionally and economically from working in a place like Nairobi or Dar AND how little employing domestic help costs.  And third of all, it is harder to live in Africa than to live in the US and Europe.  It just IS!  Not bad or worse (necessarily)…definitely different…definitely harder in many ways (easier in other ways too).  I have to boil water before I can hand-wash all of my dishes.  Hanging up laundry to dry and taking it down again takes a long time for a family with kids (I know lots of people do this at home too).  Cleaning the dirt and grime and African dust...not to mention the gecko poop!...is more labor intensive here than at home.  I have to go to 3-5 different stores to get all of the ingredients I need to cook one basic dinner almost every day (because things go bad really quickly even in the working refrigerator).  And of course we are also running around paying CASH for all of our bills and trying to acquire diesel and luku (electricity) and all of that.  Plus, in Dar at least, it is bloody hot...and I have never met a teenage girl to recruit as a babysitter!

So having domestic staff of any kind definitely feels like a luxury sometimes, but it also definitely feels NECESSARY and PRACTICAL.  And, as I think I’ve written about before, when you find the right help – a person, or people, who just fit well with your family and your needs – then it is golden. 

The other side to having help is a little bit of guilt that I sometimes feel.  Guilt that I should be the one scrubbing my floors and hanging up my laundry, since I am not working at any other paying job.  Guilt that I would ever think it is “hard” to have staff (but I am in a management position over here!), which sometimes it is (although mucd less so with only one employee now), when I know most stay-at-home-moms where I come from don’t have additional help and do everything themselves.  Guilt that maybe I have help because I couldn’t actually handle everything on my own in the first place.

So Rose’s absence the last two weeks was actually a good reminder for me.  We did not wash the floors or clean the bathrooms as often as she normally does, but our house was mostly tidy and our laundry was washed and our dinner was made and we never ran out of luku and Grace did not watch more TV than we normally let her watch. We were exhausted, but we survived.  Kristoffer helped a lot in the evenings and I did the best I could during the day to do household chores along with Noah’s nap schedule, Grace’s school schedule, and the normal errands. (I also applied for a job and had a first-stage interview…but that is a story for another blog altogether.)  Exhausted.  But we did it!

I realized that Rose doesn’t work for us because we can’t work for ourselves.  We employ her to make our life here manageable and easier and more pleasant…and we appreciate her hard work so much for those reasons.  This realization assuaged my guilt a bit. I also feel that because it is harder to live here, even though we know it is our choice, having help is just a really nice perk that we should enjoy as long as we can (you would too if it was as inexpensive to do so where you live!).  I suspect in our future life in the US or Denmark we will have plenty of laundry and dishes and floors to wash all on our own.  Right?

So.  Grace and Noah had a very happy reunion with Rose today.  Grace missed her and we made a calendar to count down the days until she came back.  Rose brought them sweet little Nairobi presents and there was a lot of laughter in the house in the wee hours this morning.  An outsider might have thought that Grace was the happiest person in our family to see Rose.  But an insider will know that is not exactly true.

LMW

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17, 2012 - I Want a Divorce!


I want a divorce!

Or maybe she said: “I wish I never got married”. She, being my new, young (29) Kiswahili teacher.

I’m taking a two-week intensive Kiswahili course here in Dar and today was day two. I like my teacher, she is good, professional and teaches at her students’ speed, which in this case is slow, but I am really serious about this time around.

Today we were talking about names of different family members, which gives you an idea of how far I’ve reached in learning Kiswahili. I had to explain that my parents were divorced and that I had many step-siblings. At first she didn’t exactly know how to say step-siblings in Kiswahili, but “fortunately” they have polygamy in Tanzania so she settled on: my brother being “from the same stomach” and my step-siblings being brothers and sisters “from another stomach”, which I found interesting.

“In Tanzania,” (I almost wrote Kenya) “we don’t divorce. It is not culturally acceptable.” She went on to explain that before she got married her husband was really nice to her. They would share domestic housework, which she really appreciated and thought that spoke well for the future.

When women turn 25 there is a lot of pressure to get married, even in affluent families. The husband can even be asked to pay a fine if he lives with his future wife before they get married; this will be added to the dowry. For a second, I could see this being embraced by certain religious communities in the US. Anyway, by 28 you basically have to get married and so she did.  It is regarded strange if you don’t have a baby within the first year.

After she got married and had a child (4 months old now), the husband completely stopped helping out at home. They hired a house girl and while she is in the house the husband doesn’t feel secure about helping out. “The man shouldn’t go to the kitchen” is a big thing here and the husband even told her: “I’ll help you when we are alone.” So when she comes home tired from teaching slow Wazungu to speak Kiswahili, she has to do everything by herself.

“To marry” has two different verbs in Kiswahili, one for men and one for woman. If a man helps out in the kitchen, ill-intended family members or peers would say he has (ameolewa) married her (using the female verb), implying that he is the woman in the relationship (in a derogatory way).

We talked about the origin of this but maybe that is for another blog. Just thought I wanted to share this.

KW

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13, 2012 - The Fortress

I think I briefly blogged about the security at our house here in Dar before, but to recap: 

First you go through one gate.  The day guard (DG - whose name actually might be Sheldrick or something that sounds like that) now stands at that gate acting as security for our house and Mrs. S' house too.  Once the DG lets you in, you drive by Mrs. S' house and you see two more gates in front of you. On the right is a gate to an empty plot with dogs and construction storage for the time being.  On the left is another gate to our house, which is opened during the day so you could drive right up to the house.  At night, Mrs. S has her own guard at the first gate and our night guard, Abdallah, is posted at our second gate, which is closed from 6 pm.  At night the 3 dogs - who do bite! - also roam the first part of the compound (Mrs. S' house).  

So...in theory, we are very well-secured.  We also have an alarm system of sorts and various locks and bolts on our doors.  Great.

But yesterday presented an interesting challenge to our security.  Around 4:30 the kids and I opened the front door to go outside for a few minutes.  We usually bring the gated dogs a treat at this time, hoping that someday they will be used to us and will lose their instinct to hunt us down.  In front of us were two white men (wazungu) taking pictures of our house.  I was shocked!  They claimed to be the guys who built and installed the windows and doors on our house, and said they were taking pictures for their catalog.  But once I came outside, they left. 

The question that immediately popped into my head was: How they hell did they get in here?!

So this morning I talked to two people:  the DG and Mrs. S' son, who is the architect of our house.  When I described the guys to the architect, he said that yes they did do the windows and doors, but nobody gave them permission to take pictures and they couldn't do that without our permission, which we obviously hadn't given them.  He's going to call them about it.  

The more interesting conversation happend with the DG.  He said they told him they wanted to come in, and so he let them in.  He didn't know which house they were coming to or why.  REALLY TIGHT SECURITY OVER HERE!  Just ask, and you can come in!  Doesn't matter who you are!

I wanted to ask him if he knew that they were armed with weapons, but decided that that wasn't a nice or fair thing to say...EVEN THOUGH THEY COULD HAVE BEEN!  Of course in his head, they were white so they were not dangerous.  But we don't know what they were actually doing taking pictures of our house.  If you take pictures of the US Embassy or the World Bank you get arrested!

So, I gave the DG what we will now call Lisa's Security Training Tip #1:  Do not ever let anyone onto the compound unless we give you permission to do so.  Either come to the house to ask, or call my cellphone to ask, or go to Mrs. S' house to ask.  Ask ask ask.   

I plan to follow up tomorrow with Lisa's Security Training Tip #2:  Repeat Tip #1.

In his defense, he seemed to understand my directions and was apologetic.  But there will be an email going to his supervisor today as well, to make sure that it doesn't happen again.  The DG is probably a very nice guy, but a security guard?  Not quite.

LMW

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012 - Curling...African Style

If you are European you definitely know what "curling" is.  If you are American, you probably don't.  It is a sport where a team slides big stones across the ice to a target zone, using brooms to help them get the stones across the ice.  No offense to anyone, but in my opinion curling is really bizarre.

Except now we are playing our own version of curling over here.  You see, our house is often inhabited by geckos.  Sometimes teeny-tiny ones, and sometimes bigger...they like to get into our house because they think it will be cooler than outside.  In fact, they often come in through our air conditioning units.  And while these little lizards might seem harmless enough - I mean, it's not like they are biting anything - they do poop all over the house and generally we don't trust them.  

Kristoffer has perfected the art of shooing the geckos out the nearest door using a broom.  It becomes really like curling when I participate with another broom because we are really working as a team to get the gecko to its target (outside).  There is a lot of fast spontaneous movement and phrases like "I've got it!" and "No!  It's to you!  Get it!"  Like the original sport, it too is really bizarre.

We have a LOT of ants, geckos and spiders in our house.  Mosquitos come and go as well.  It is hard to keep track of all of them and really, in the end, I just thought our social life would be a bit...bigger!

LMW

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012 - Too Cool for School

Grace is at school now and when the cat's away the mouse will play.  
Noah LOVES to wear Grace's sunglasses.
Could he be any cuter?!

Noah is so awesome these days.  Ok, on the down side he is hitting and biting on occasion.  He has a "hit face" that he makes when he is doing it on purpose.  Upper lip tucked into his lower lip - slight grin coming from the corners of his mouth. It is SO darn cute, but we are trying to be serious about getting him to stop doing it.  Grace is often his target...which is really just turn about fair play, but we are still trying to discourage it.  And when they aren't fighting (last week it was constant but it has been better the last couple of days) they are being so cute together.  

Noah isn't sleeping through the night consistently - sometimes there is a late night wake up.  But he is only nursing twice a day (when he wakes up in the morning and after his bath at night), and soon we will wind those down as well.  He has been eating great for the last week, which we hope will help him gain some weight because he definitely needs some help in that department.  He is going to sleep without any crying and napping really well twice a day, although I suspect we'll get down to one nap within the month.  Other than Mama, he can say Hi, Bye, Woof woof, "ba" for backwards when he goes down the stairs and his words for "bear" and "ball" are almost exact.  When he wants to go outside or in the car he goes to the door and says bye bye.  He is making a lot of other noise too, so I think more words are coming.  He likes to "sing" in the car when Grace is singing.  

Noah is so curious and learns really quickly.  If he sees something done once, he will try to do it.  For example, we have Grace helping to set the table before dinner and now he is also trying to bring things from the kitchen to put on the dining table.  

He loves: brooms, putting things in the toilet and the trash (oy), washing his hands at the sink like Grace, music and toys that make noise, hot dogs, ketchup (which we pretend is paint so that when Grace is painting he can paint too - yup everything still goes in his mouth!), and Grace.  He is quite a Mama's boy these days, but is also pretty sweet on his Far.  We are really enjoying this age of rapid change and growth.  And he has been healthy for over a week (knock on wood - QUICK!) so that is an added bonus.

Love this little guy.  Sunglasses or not, he is the coolest!
LMW

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012 - First Day of School (belated)

On March 15th, Grace had her first day at The Nordic School.  Posting pictures on here takes forever with our super slow internet and I haven't been patient enough to do it before today.  But here she is...getting ready to go school (with a few friends for comfort on our 5 minute car drive).


Everyday, each child brings a piece of fruit that the kitchen cuts up for the whole class to share.  Grace LOVES to eat fruit!

Then they have ring time (sorry, can't get the picture to upload) where the count and sing songs and talk about different things.  Grace is very shy during ring time, but I am sure as she gets more comfortable she'll start to chime in like the other kids.  Then there is some free play time before they do another activity.  Here, Grace is coloring with one of the teachers (actually, an intern from Denmark) and three of the girls in her class.


Grace was the youngest in her class when she started, but starting tomorrow there will be some other young 3 year olds moving up from the baby class.  The kids are as old as 6 in her class!  They spend some time in different age groups (the 3- 4 1/2 year olds and then the 4 1/2 to 6 year olds) but they have ring time all together and fruit and lunch as well. 

Most of the teachers are Danish but they speak some combination of Danish, Swedish and Norweigan. Grace's Danish at home with Far has already improved a lot since she started there.  She had her first week there, was sick for a week and then had a week off for Easter.  She was really looking forward to going back tomorrow!

LMW

April 9, 2012 - Easter Buddies

We had a nice Easter yesterday.  The kids woke up to find that the Easter Bunny did, in fact, know where Dar es Salaam is.  While he probably wanted to hide eggs outside, the Easter Bunny was smart enough to know that sugary candy attracts all kinds of creatures here, not to mention that it doesn't take too much heat to melt Easter chocolate...so the eggs were all around the downstairs of our house. Grace and Noah had very different strategies for approaching the Easter egg hunt.

Noah was content to explore his basket and get started eating chocolate right away.  It melted faster than he could put it away, but he was pretty happy to try and keep up.  I think he found one or two other eggs, but was very interested in just eating the treats instead of continuing to hunt.
 Grace, however, was hoarding eggs and having so much fun finding them in all of the creative places the Easter Bunny (who she just called "the Easter") hid them.  I think her favorite was the egg underneath her Bamse's tshirt!
After our egg hunt, we went to Mass for the first time.  Or I should say we TRIED to go to Mass.  The only English mass is scheduled at 9:30 am and we arrived at 9:15, hoping we weren't too late to get a seat.  HA!  Big joke on us.

There was a huge crowd of people standing outside when we got there, and that was because the 7:45 am Kiswahili Mass was only 75% of the way finished! I am assuming that it didn't start on time because I've never heard of such a long Mass!  So we waited.  The music was wonderful  even though we didn't know what they were saying.  As we waited, people started creeping closer and closer to the doors of the church.  Eventually, by 9:45 when the mass was finished, the crowd outside had completely blocked the doors so that the crowd inside couldn't get out, except to trickle down the stairs one by one against a resistent crowd of Catholics.    This was not that surprising to us as we've had similar experiences in Kenya (mostly at elevators - the worst!); but, we didn't want to get trampled so we were not at the front of the pack at all.  The kids were extremely well behaved during all of this waiting and crowding.  By the time we got inside the church, it was 10:05 and there was not a single free seat.  The chairs set up outside were also already taken.  It was getting hotter and hotter, and we had already been there for close to an hour!

Sigh.  I was sad about not going to Mass, but with two little ones what else could we do?  I said some prayers privately and we went out to brunch.  These two were as sweet as all the candy they ate that morning (and, yes, it is a pretty big deal that Grace wore a dress!).
The rest of our day involved some naps (me and Noah) and some hanging stuff up around the house (Kristoffer and Grace), and going for a swim at the pool at Grace's school for the first time...which was awesome!

Hope your Easter (or Passover!) was great as well.
LMW

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 5, 2012 - I Have Fallen in Love with a German Woman in Dar


I am yet to meet her though.

This lady supplies real, authentic, freshly baked, homemade RYEBREAD (rugbrød) to the local deli at Oysterbay Shopping centre, just down the road!

I lack words…

Ryebread is the equivalent of peanut butter, Mac&Cheese, hamburgers and BBQ sauce to an American; it is the Tikka Masala of Scandinavia, the Ugali of the Nordic countries.

Real freshly baked Ryebread is nutritious and brings the whole family together. We bought a whole loaf on Friday and it was gone by Saturday. Note that Ryebread is easily thrice the weight of normal bread.

The 30th of March will for the Welsien family here on and so forth be known as “the day of Rye”.

Bless you German Lady. Can't wait to buy some more.

KW  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4, 2012 - Don't Know Much

I snuck away this morning to a restaurant that has amazingly wonderful internet.  Yippee!  Internet at our house is not great these days, and I got sucked into reading three books in three days which also hogged my online time.  But now I'm back.  

Today is the one-month-anniversary of my arrival in Dar.  Remember that Kristoffer came one month ahead of us, so he has been here for two months.  It has been a productive month in many ways.  Things at our house are good (still some work being done here and there, and we still are on the hunt for affordable curtains), I am comfortably driving around and Grace is somewhat "settled" in her school (off for the week after being out last week sick...but hopefully next week will be the start of a good long stretch there).  The best news is that we are not sick and haven't visited the clinic in a whole week.  Go us!  There is still a lot of "settling in" to be done, but in ways that take more time.  

For example, this week I miss my friends.  Friends in the US.  Friends in Nairobi.  Friends in Denmark.  Just friends!  People who know and like me already.  It is hard starting over in a place and having to figure out who you are comfortable/compatible with and then trying to convince those people that you are friendworthy and all that.  I would like to zip through this phase and just have some people I can talk to aside from Kristoffer, Grace, Noah and Rose (no offense to them).  Luckily we have a play date tomorrow with a girl from Grace's class who happens to have a brother named Noah only 2 weeks younger than our Noah.  Fingers crossed their mom likes me!

Another example of still getting settled is that I feel I don't really know anything about Tanzania yet.  When we moved to Nairobi, we were instantly thrown into the upcoming election and learning all about Kenyan history and politics and its tribes, etc.  And then I got a job and learned a lot about the country when I was working at UNICEF.  We also didn't have kids so we probably had a lot more energy for exploring and discovering things (and we didn't have little people's nap schedules or feeding times or temperature preferences to be considering).  

Fast forward to now.  I have not read a Tanzanian paper since we got here (embarrassing, but true) and I am doing very little exploring.  I know that the government-owned electric company is broke and so we are using our generator A LOT because there is not a lot of power...and I know that regular Tanzanians are pretty pissed about the situation.  But I don't know much else.  I am sure with time I will learn more about the country, but we really live in so much of a self-contained bubble of expatriats that I could very well be living in ANY African country it seems.  Also the person I spend most of my time with is Kenyan (Rose) so I'm not learning anything new there.  The country seems to move slower than Kenya, but because we have such awesome landlords I haven't really felt anything at home to happen too slowly.  There are two things I find to be a bit annoying:

1. Flies.  They are everywhere and we can't kill them fast enough.  I hate them.  So they are beyond an annoyance, really.  I feel that they are my enemy.  The flies! AH!

2. There are quite a few good stores for grocery/fruit/veg shopping...but you will never find one store that has everything you need at the same time.  So when I go shopping to buy dinner, I have to go to 3 different stores on average to get everything I need.  And I am not cooking anything complicated, trust me.   That is annoying - especially since I have to shop every day or other day because our fridge doesn't stay that cold and things go bad in the heat.  I am still getting used to this.

Otherwise, we're doing fine.  Rose will be in Kenya for the next two weeks so I will be a crazy woman doing both of our jobs.  Not so thrilled about that, but I will of course survive.  And after that, I will try a lot harder to get to know a bit more about this place we call home.  I will look into a Kiswahili tutor at that time and hope more regular interaction with a Tanzanian will help me learn more about Tanzanian culture as well.

Kristoffer has a 4-day weekend for Easter and I look forward to that.  Feeling very happy that I brought Easter baskets with us for the kids.  I did some research and picked out the church that I want to go to here, so we'll go there for the first time on Easter as well.  Hope it can be a really nice holiday for us.  

LMW