Arusha - Arusha, Tanzania
mzungu (mmm-zoongoo) = white person, westerner 10 September We experienced a wonderful surprise after breakfast, (Pastor) Peter Makemo was waiting for us in the lounge - wow, so good to see him, and looking so well! Very warm embraces and greetings to us all. This was his only chance to be with us, and wanted to drive us over to NOCET, along with the U3A Croydon quilts and various other presents. It was so familiar to us, that drive, a route we'd trekked many times in January 2012. When we arrived at the gates we saw that a sign was painted, Sasheryl Friends Nursery School And Daycare Centre - impressive! So good to be reunited with Samwel and Joyce (who looks fresh and happy), as well as Upendo, as well as the sight of another Nursery teacher, Jacqueline, and perhaps 25 little brown faces - NOCET has grown! Also Irene, who isn't at school as she's ill, she has grown! Over the hours, some of the other fulltime care orphans arrived, Godfrey, Grace, Doudi, wow! It was all rather emotional and heart-warming to be in this house, with obvious improvements. Loved seeing the 2 burner gas stove and fridge, bought with Loose Change funds, both obviously tremendous assets for an over-worked Joyce. Later, after another welcome song, Sheryl unfolded the U3A quilts, which Joyce and the orphans were bewildered, then delighted by, each one choosing their own to keep. Awwwww. The quilts were "Made with love" and they will be much treasured by all at NOCET. Thanks U3A ladies! We'd also pumped up the Tigers AFL football which I will attempt to teach how to kick and handball, even though I am still on my L's and hardly know anything about footy. Thanks Lockie for the footy, as well as Ev and Dan for some bouncy balls. There was a welcome song for us, which was very touching, and Jacqueline took the children outside for more songs which was so much fun, "shake your body body, before you die." So damn cute! On our way back to Otakef we bumped into Abduli's grandfather, the same spot as 2011/12, it was so very good to see him again, and looking in good health. He asked us if we'd like to visit his home, as Amina and Abduli are there, as well as his wife. We were again incredibly happy to be reunited with Amina and Abduli, and vice versa. Introduced to bibi (grandmother), as well as Amina's friend Vivienne and another granddaughter (we assumed), in a small 1 room house, the room dominated by a large king-size bed - most of the family would sleep on that - no electricity or running water, concrete floor. Babu is 63, and is still working, as a tour guide - he has to support himself, wife and grandchildren. "Life is hard, I have to fight to survive." His English is very good, he has great spirit and fire in his eyes, we admire and respect him greatly. To be continued ... 11 September Visit to Arusha town town centre to purchase wish list items, using the Otakef van and Eddison, a driver organised by Samwel, along with Adams. First stop to an ATM to withdraw wads of cash - max amount in a single withdrawal is Tsh400,000 (cAUD240), largest denomination is Tsh20,000. So 2 lots of 400,000, very difficult to fold our wallets! Samwel and Adams negotiated purchase of TV, decoder, dvd player, stand and cables in a small shop while we mzungu were out of sight (so as not to affect the price). Once settled, we were called over to deliver the cash. Purchases loaded into van, taking up passenger space, so we walked following the van. Another stop to buy forks, spoons, plates, clothes pegs, mop and bucket, kettle, thermos, sanitary napkins. A few more items, but majority bought, off to lunch, while purchases were delivered. To NOCET in time to see the nursery children and staff have their lunch. The TV was set up, which was much enjoyed by all. Mr Jared Ndige arrived from Dar es Salaam - he is the NOCET Financial Officer, a director of the NOCET organisation. A formal meeting was then convened, with Samwel, Jared, Adams and Sheryl, discussing the progress to date, and ideas for the future. Visitors' book was signed; Samwel's jobs to cap nursery students to 30 (15 fee-paying, 15 free, due to hardship); obtain quotes on building costs). Sheryl's to seek funds to cover salaries for Jacqueline and Adams (part-time for now), as well as Joyce's assistants, and fundraise for building. Once meeting was over, we realised it was getting on for time so parted company and walked back to Otakef. On our way back, just up the hill from Otakef, a small car slowed and pulled over, and an African man leaned out and asked us how we were enjoying Naurei (the village/suburb we are in). His English was really quite good, then we realised he was speaking with an American accent! He's from New York, here to put up a water tank for a local school. In the car was his friend and driver, in the rear a local lady he'd met via Facebook and her friend. We had a quick chat and at the end swapped cards, and expect to keep in touch once we return home - amazing synchronicity! Could be interesting swapping notes and experiences, as well as to cross-pollinate. These are moments that we shake our heads at fortunate random meetings, like that lovely Malaysian-Melbourne couple at Dubai airport. We thought we would eat out, not wanting to burden Stella with cooking, as she needs to go (breast)feed her daughter, Maori. Alfred drove us to Meru View Motel, just a couple of kilometres away, not far from the original NOCET rooms. A bigger and more well-appointed establishment, tables in the restaurant had chairs draped in cream cloth seat covers - like you see at wedding receptions - with bright orange gathers, daffodil colours, very pretty. I'd missed a couple of calls from Diana - who was working at Otakef first time we were here - called her: she's currently in Dar es Salaam, will be back Friday or Saturday, and hope to see her soon, she is very excited knowing we are here. The Meru View waitress seemed flummoxed by we mzungu, could almost not hear her when she asked for orders. Once she realised we came in peace - and growling bellies - she relaxed and even smiled once or twice. The food was quite delicious, although it ended up being over an hour's wait. Africa time. Tired, and satisfied with our day - it was another 'big one', time for us to 'retire' to our rooms for our various activities: debrief, showers, diary, and an early night to relax. 12 September Awake before 7am alarm, to the familiar sounds of blaring radio, man clearing throat, baby wailing, birds, but the sounds seemed more muffled ... it had rained. As I emerged from shave, shower, dressing and tidying up my bed, I wandered out to the deserted lounge area and saw that everything outside was damp, and it was nice and cool. My coffee pot was already prepared for me by Anastasia, which was very thoughtful of her, gave her a hug of thanks. Need good coffee to get started for the day. Strains of harmonised singing drifted over from across the maize and banana patch, probably from the nearby Evangelical church (which we pass by on our walk to/fro NOCET. There's a mosque perhaps 1km away, and we often hear the call to prayer during the day. Alfred drove the Otakef van, with the 4 of us plus Samwel and Adams, to a major market to buy 100kg of rice. Then to Central Market to purchase bulk sugar, wheat flour, soap, washing powder and other supplies for NOCET. Buying in bulk saves money, and while we have access to the Otakef van, we will make hay while the sun shines. Joyce normally can only buy what she can carry. Once unloaded at NOCET, Samwel and Adams went off to buy bulk charcoal, cooking oil, and bed sheets. Lunch at NOCET was the usual ugali with vegetables, but this time with fish. We later walked down the road with some of the older children to buy a couple of brooms, and treated them all to sodas. Dropped in on Upendo, who has been sick these last few days. She had visited the hospital today and is on some medication. On our way home to Otakef, bumped into Abduli's grandfather, who was being transported on the back of a piki-piki (motorcycle), with warm greetings exchanged. Sheryl had ordered makande for dinner - a local dish we tried on our visit in 2011/12, and enjoyed very much - 2 types of beans, white corn, carrot and green peppers in a rich sauce with some curry powder, sliced up avocado on the side, yummmmmm. After dinner we went thru the list of all the things bought for NOCET - wish list and bulk food - and their costs - it was toted up to just under Tsh2,000,000, cAUD1400, amazing how far the money goes here. A work desk, swing and shelving for the drygoods storeroom have been ordered, which we need to pay for tomorrow. We then listened to the blogs which Kerry had written - but can't yet upload - it was wonderful and very entertaining reminiscing on our adventures of this last week, our 4 day safari and time to date in Arusha. We have experienced so much, with a great deal to take in and process, many emotional and at times confronting moments. Kerry has a great turn of phrase! Another busy day lined up for tomorrow. 13 September Finally, a cafe with WIFI that works! If you are ever in Arusha and are desperate for good food, coffee, wifi, go to Fifi's, in the centre of town, on Themi Rd. We are here to have hot drinks and use the internet as the connection at our hotel is as slow as watching any negotiation here for anything, hahaha. After lunch we were driven to a large bookshop, shelves groaning with books, textbooks, educational books, a huge religious section. I bought a book, "Swahili Made Easy", I am determined to understand how this language is put together. I try to learn a few new words or phrases each day, heart is willing but brain often refuses to cooperate! Learnt today that baraka means blessed. "haraka haraka haina baraka" = hurry hurry has no blessing = slowly slowly wins the race ... We were looking for a proper printed world map chart, numbers and alphabet charts, but this bookshop didn't carry them. Off to an Indian owned bookshop, but as it was lunchtime, they were closed. Another day ... Eventually returned to NOCET, where we were introduced to Wenslaus, a polite young man who is supported by Loose Change with his studies to become a chef. We didn't have the opportunity to meet him last trip, so it was wonderful to finally meet him. His mother is very poor and can't afford to feed him, his school fees covers meals, so it means a HUGE amount to him and his mum to have Loose Change support. He asked Sheryl outside so he could thank her, deeply, movingly. Thanks sponsors! We spent some time there paying deposits for other wish list items - desk, swing - and shelving for the storeroom; more plans for the coming week ... we aim to visit the plot of land Samwel had bought, his laboratory, and The School of St Jude; we also would like to visit a Masai Womens' cooperative. Walked back to our hotel, having missed lunch we popped into a Western style minimart to buy nibbles to tide us over till dinner: chicken mayonnaise. We sat in the shade with our nibbles and cold drinks, debriefing and discussing today's events. Jacqui had asked Alfred about tanzanite, and he'd organised for a seller to come visit her at the hotel. A tall Will Smith-looking man arrived, producing a sample of about 2 dozen cut gems of various sizes and shapes for Jacqui to look at, wrapped in a tissue (hahaha). It was fascinating to take a look at these beautiful blue-purple stones, up close. Once an order was placed, this man rewrapped them in the tatty tissue and tucked it in his sock ... fascinating! Dinner was simple and scrummy, followed by hot drinks, tea and a pot of my beloved Lavazza Gold ... aaaaaaaaahhhhhh ... While Kerry has been enjoying taking pix of hand-painted hair salon faces+hair - often weird and 'naive' style = quite charming - I am attracted by the sometimes bizarre shop signs we drive past: HOME BOY SMART SHOP HETERO PHARMACY LAST DROP PUB FAIR PLAY GROCERY LOVELY COSMETICS NICE MINI SUPERMARKET HAPPY BABY SALON NEW WATERFRONT GROCERY (in front of a stinky drainage ditch) STIFF CENTRE (staff?) STOP AND SHOP MIN SHOP SWEETY BEAUTY SALOON (salon) Shop that sells "CD EMPTY" Just gorgeous! Tomorrow is Sheryl's birthday, her 3rd spent overseas. We are going to Church (7th Day Adventist), followed by lunch at the orphanage. Alfred may take us to a bar where there is live music tomorrow night, time to "shakey our body body!" 14 September A well-needed lie-in this morning, as Church isn't till 11am. First things first though, birthday card for Sheryl, then brekky in bed. Once she'd had her shower she joined us in the lounge, we sang "Happy Birthday" and Kerry and Jacqui had small gifties for the birthday girl. We relaxed, took it easy, got ready for Church, off we set. Again, a warm welcome given to us all, reuniting with a few people we'd met last trip, including a lovely young man called Ibrahim Who joined us at a pew was set aside for us as guests. Without going into too much detail, the Church Warden read notices, welcomed us, we had to stand turn and wave, hymns were sung, a pastor sermonised about God's Ledger of Life where all our sins and transgressions have been recorded, another fellow standing beside him, doing an admirable job of translating into English. When the service was over, we were thanked and welcomed once again, the Choir stood and as they sang, the congregation filed out, commencing with the children, followed by everyone else, pew by pew. The Choir sang beautifully, we listened to them till the end, thanked them, then shook hands and greeted the Church hierarchy and anyone else who approached us or were line. We caught up with Elizabeth - Samwel and Joyce's orphaned niece, she's seen as their fourth child - she is studying Human Resources, only in Arusha today to see us. We walked to NOCET where we had lunch, then took photos and videos for updating NOCET's and Loose Change's websites once we return home. We still have more to take as some children and staff were missing. Joyce, Elizabeth and Ibrahim walked with us part of the way home, Elizabeth leaves tomorrow to return to campus. Once at Otakef we sat in the little courtyard garden for cooling down drinks, shade and rest. Another big day and more to come later ... An early dinner at 5pm, we all had showers and changed, for later Alfred is taking us to a bar for African music. Winifrida joined us to be dropped off in Arusha town, then we looped back not far from home to pick up one of his friends. Then back in town to the Narok Pub. A park was found out front, the area dusty, rocky, unmade, as usual. We could hear live music, as we wandered into the bar area we recognised the song as "La Bamba", in swahili, Sheryl was already grooving. As soon as we found a table, a young lady who was grooving in the band's lineup, came over and greeted us enthusiastically - no, we didn't know her - first myself, then Sheryl - looked at her again, no, definitely didn't know here - then Kerry, lastly Jacqui ... then disaster, Jacqui's glasses became stuck in the woman's hair extensions, and as Jacqui to extricate them, one of the frame's was snapped backwards - bloody hell! The woman retreated to her table looking horrified - yes, mzungu prescription glasses cost a fortune! Poor Jacqui, without her glasses she can't really see ... not a good start! A round of drinks was ordered, and we sat back and relaxed, enjoying the talented musicians play quite marathon length songs. Sheryl wanted to dance, but I'm not one for that, noone else on the dance floor. Eventually that enthusiastic local lady danced with Sheryl, and later Kerry was drawn up to shake it. After a few songs a quarrel looked imminent between mad woman and staff who wanted payment for her drinks, and she was refusing or attempting to ignore their requests, which became increasingly more demanding, patience wearing thin. Suffice to say more and more patrons were getting involved, pushy-pushy-shovey-shovey, an Isaac Hayes lookalike was telling madwoman whatfor, Alfred wanted another drink, Jacqui couldn't see ... it was time to leave ... our drinks bill was paid, as we left mad woman attempted to use us as a human shield, but staff were on to her and we just got out of there as quickly was we could. Phew! Piled into the Otakef van, set off for our motel. Along the way, noticed there were heaps of people out, having their fun, particularly at the "pubs". Alfred explained that the music tonight was from the 70's, which to me kind of explained why there were 2 ancient men in the band playing the bongos and bass guitar - perhaps they were playing that form of music at the original 70s period. What a night! Great to be back at Otakef, and thankful that Jacqui had brought along her spare (older) pair of prescription glasses. 15 September A slow morning with a lovely yummy surprise - Stella has cooked us savoury pancakes for breakfast, mm mm mmmmm, wonderful! The programme for today is for Alfred to drive us all to Arusha town to withdraw more cash from the ATM; Adams arrived and joined us. The town centre is very quiet, parking was easy, on the tarred road, no parking fees today (usually Tsh300 for 2 hours, cAUD0.21). Once done, we took off for the Heritage Centre, on the outskirts of town, passing by the (western style SHOP RITE supermarket), which is opposite the Kilombero market - the large local market we shopped recently, the same market where we bought supplies for the Christmas lunch we hosted at Otakef, 2011. The structure of the Gallery buildings is based on a drum, shield and spear, opened in 2010. It is a very striking piece of architecture, the interior also impressive with a fantastic collection - looks like a mini-Guggenheim. Overwhelming array of paintings, drawings, masks, sculpture, beaded work, both antique and modern, each floor dedicated to a theme - eg, animals, soul - each floor linked by a semi-circular ramp, each in themselves a mini-gallery. I particularly admired the "fetish" pieces, just extraordinary, amazingly imaginative, stretching the notion of recognisably humanistic figurative to a magically distorted, explosion of shapes imbued with deeper meanings and given great mystical powers ... wow, wish photography was allowed as I can't adequately describe in words what my eyes and brain were trying to take in and make sense of! We could have spent many more hours there, but were aware mum and dad - Alfred and Adams - were probably elsewhere, wondering why we take so long ... there is a funky cafe round the corner from the Gallery's entrance, and, seeing a genuine 2 head coffee machine and grinder with beans in the hopper, as well as a tantalising array of fresh, delicious treats, we placed an order with our very friendly waiter; mum and dad joined us and ordered for them as well. Sheryl and I shared an almond croissant, as did ma'n'da - the croissant was scrummy and the coffee the best to date in Arusha. We took a tourney around the arts and crafts area of the complex, A&A took me over to a pair of woodcarvers who showed me pieces they were working on, all ebony, very hard wood. Some pieces incorporated the lighter coloured wood that encases the much darker ebony - very appealing. There were tableaus of everyday village life, fountains, sculptures, ponds, cafe, shops ... a very pleasant place to idle and wander, explore and windowshop - prices are 2x, 3x, 4x to non-mzungu shops ... Off to NOCET for lunch, then took more pix of children and adults that were missing yesterday, as well as some video which we will incorporate into clips for sponsors, schoolchildren, and any talks that Sheryl will give as part of raising awareness of NOCET and Loose Change, updates to sponsors, etc. On our way home we bumped into Kurwa, Abduli's grandfather, and met Kurwa's son Ally. Warm greetings exchanged as we parted ways. Cool drinks at Otakef, dinner at 5:30, then relax for the rest of the night, watching the coming and goings of the motel - never sure who's who and what's what, assignations, friends of staff ... Sunday night's a busy night ... 16 September Another slow morning, breakfast was savoury pancakes once again, with the usual sideplate of bits of watermelon, cucumber, orange, banana, and today's extra being small slices of sugarcane. Oh, and a not so strong Lavazza - just cannot stomach the Africafe, erkkkkkk. Once we were ready, piled into the Otakef van in search of the Masai Women Fair Trade Centre (MWEDO) according to Jacqui's interpretation of the Lonely Planet map of Arusha it was supposed to be at the western outskirts of town; Alfred didn't know where it was. We drove into town, Found Alfred's sister Esther, and gave directions, as did a number of other local guys. We checked the map again and found that MWEDO was perhaps 2-3 kms from Otakef and have driven past it almost every day. Turned into a rather salubrious part of town, lovely old-style houses set in beautiful gardens and boutique hotels. MWEDO is set in such a garden, very pretty, lush, relaxing. On our way into the shop/offices we noticed a couple of groups of Masai women dressed in traditional cloth, adorned with beading and silver earrings - just gorgeous. The collective trains women in traditional arts and crafts, as well as modern arts as a way of earning an income. The small shop had a collection of their work, well-made, at reasonable prices. Jacqui and Jerry purchased some gifts, then it was hot drinks in the garden, greeting the Masai ladies and gardeners, a very pleasant setting. Next stop, after refuelling the van, was Mt Meru Curios and Crafts Market on Fire Road, about 500m from Arusha town centre. Sheryl and I visited it in 2012, we bought a few gifts for the family from some of the stalls. It's a bit of an onslaught as each shop sells pretty much the same stuff as the rest, except the ones that specialise in kangas, carvings, paintings, etc, so if you are on the hunt for a gift and don't mind every shopkeeper greeting you and asking you in to have a look - looking is free - then you will have no problem finding something for yourself, family and friends. Not many shoppers there as high season is still some time off. I found myself just having chats with some of the shopkeepers, a couple of which I recognised, and vice versa, I enjoy that aspect. I caught up with 'my wives' and off we went to Fifi's for lunch (and the wifi) - again, yummy food in a nice atmosphere. Whilst downloading my emails - mostly junk - had a quick chat with Mike, the Dutch manager; he tells me it takes a lot of time and patience to train the waiting staff here due to the generally very shy nature of the locals; they are not customer service focussed like say the Kenyans - at home a waiter may ask "how was your meal?", "how were your coffees?", whereas here the staff find that a difficult thing to do. Interesting. Last stop of today's programme was a visit to Alfred's home - which is a few kms from town centre, on the same road as where Otakef is (sort of), but west side of town. It was great to see where he lives, in 2 joined rooms which he rents. He assists his brothers, and I think the one in Form 4 stays there. The "apartment complex" consists of 4 doubles and 3 singles, with shared toilet/bathroom. He has been there about a year, the lounge room has a sofa, draped in his washed/non-ironed clothes, his bedroom has a double bed, drawers on which sits his small gas stove - this is where he cooks for himself. He told us that if the traffic is congested it can take him an hour to get to work, perhaps 15-20 minutes if not. Thanks Alfred for showing us your home! To Otakef for beer-o'clock and sodas time, a relax in the shade ... it's quite a warm day today. We decided to take a walk to where the original 2 rooms NOCET rented are situated. They are pretty much the same distance away from Otakef as the current house is, so about 15-20 minute walk, through a fairly grotty and sad looking set of shops that looked rather down in luck and money and upkeep. It was quite sobering to stand not far from these small, plain, sad rooms and remind ourselves of the circumstances and living condition of the NOCET children and staff once called home, where the children played, the dusty road directly opposite, the kilometre round trip Joyce had to make 5 times a day to fetch 20 litres of water, etc, etc. it really hit home for us to compare that with where NOCET is now housed. WOW! On the walk back home Kerry was suffering with one of her feet - she wore thongs and one of her feet were very sore, poor thing. About halfway along the journey we heard singing and clapping coming from a small Evangelical church, it was awesome, we stopped and listened for a short while, enjoying it, one of the "clappers" came to the door to greet us and ask us in, but we politely declined, we were happy to enjoy what we were hearing. Home, dinner shortly afterwards in the garden, the rest of the evening showers, washing, resting, relaxing, reading ... an early start tomorrow, 3 more days to go ... PS, Now that we've been here over a week and have kind of developed a rhythm, I guesstimate that daily expenses - not including hotel room, souvenirs/purchases, etc - would be about Tsh45,000 to 60,000 max, approximately AUD30-40 per person, pretty good when that covers all drinks, lunch (usually including mum and/or dad), dinner, tips, transport (Alfred driving us in the Otakef van) and petrol - damn good value! Try spending as little as that in Australia on a day out, Europe, etc! You couldn't say that Arusha is a touristy place, not a great deal to see, more a business-NGO-UN hub, and most definitely the safari-Kilimanjaro climbing centre. I think it'd be safe to say most mzungu wouldn't be seen walking the backstreets where we've raising clouds of dust as we migrate ... 17 September Quiet start to the day, an earlier rising as we are being met today at 8am. The plan for today is to see the land Samwel has bought for the 'new' NOCET, as well as visit Samwel's laboratory. Samwel arrived, we waited for Alfred, once he turned up we piled in and set off on Nelson Mandela Road out of Arusha, the housing and shops less congested the further we went, seeing good farmland, later massive covered flower greenhouses - Tanzania exports huge amounts of flowers. The land is only c12 kms from Otakef, but took an hour to reach; we did stop at a village where we saw 3 teenage boys ploughing a plot with 4 cows pulling a metal plough, straight out of another century ... bloody hell life is tough, they're of school age ... Arriving, we parked at a neighbour's plot, next to a pen of cows, a short walk to a cropped half-acre, with a couple of huge mango trees at the edge of the land. This land was used for maize; the adjoining farm was quite lush, with a variety of crops on it, as well as bananas and mango trees. A beautiful place, and when the men stood at the 4 corners of the land it felt quite sizeable, perfect for a good sized orphanage building, nursery/kinder/childcare ... Samwel could add in a clinic, drop in centre, perhaps have chooks, vegie patch ... as Kerry writes, it has a good feel about it. There are schools and shops nearby, also regular daladala transport to and fro Arusha town. The plan for this land would have to include a road (unmade track) to be built from the nearby road to the land for vehicle access. Big plans, but, a good deal of money needs to be raised first. Spent a while on the land, 2 of Maurini's uncles were with us. Next stop was a nearby acre of land Samwel was looking at - Tsh10,000,000, used for watermelon - then another not faraway - Tsh11,000,000 - before heading off and drooping off the uncles. On our way in we noticed a sign for the Samaritan Village - Sheryl wondered if it was the one she knew about. So, on the return trip, Adams and Samwel asked various locals about it, and we headed offroad to look for it. Sure enough, as we drew nearer, Sheryl recognised the building from the calendar she was given by an American dentist, who was sitting in a Samaritan Village van parked near the hotel Sheryl and I were having lunch. We were checking the view when she spotted the van and raced down to talk to the mzungu man inside - he was an elderly American dentist who was supporting the Village. We parked, headed to the office building, and asked if it was OK to have a look and learn more about this Village. Sheryl spotted that same calendar we have on the wall. We weren't exactly welcomed, but once Sheryl, Adams and Samwel explained the background and what we were about, the setup was explained by a woman there, and then the priest (Sheryl had emailed from home that we were coming to Arusha and could we visit, but he never replied). So, Sheryl managed to hunt him down. This Village is an organisation that takes in orphans as well as abandoned children. Heartbreaking. A worker there was feeding a 2 month girl milk from a cup. Adams started to tear up when he asked the woman the child's circumstances: she was abandoned in a ditch at 2 weeks of age, and taken in. When a child's surname is not known they are given Samaritan. The Village does adopt out some children, to locals and internationally. Father Josephat showed us round the property, explaining as he went, the outside kitchen where a very efficient stove was in use - it boils water through some ingenious plumbing I can't explain - a cook preparing vegetables - chooks, 2 ladies at the rear washing clothes, a LOT of clothes hanging up to dry, a few head of cattle, vegie patch, and to the new building featured on their calendar, which houses the older boys and girls, volunteers rooms/lounge, library, computer bank ... 2 storeys, impressive. Josephat explained that through his research and training SV are doing really smart things: 2 large fishponds to harvest fish, fed with food scraps, etc, the fish are great food for the children, and what they can't eat they sell; the outflow of water feeds the lower terrace of bananas and pawpaws. They have their own bees too, and aim to sell their honey in future. They wish to be self-sufficient and not pay exorbitant prices; the local honey is often adulterated or sweetened with sugar. We heard that NOCET could apply for tax exemption on building materials. Many aspects for Samwel and Adams to think about when planning what to do with the land. Cross-pollination between Samaritan Village and NOCET - Samwel and Adams have been invited back to spend a whole day there next week. Very exciting, great for S&A to gain information and advice from an institution that is a good deal further advanced in their development. Much gratitude and farewells as we parted ways. The trip back seemed quicker, it wasn't long before we were back in the outskirts of town, and we were parking outside Samwel's laboratory. The shop sign still on the concrete landing, the rooms still the same, we recognised the staff from last time. One microscope, one hand-cranked centrifuge, 2 staff and a student (work experience)! This business has supported NOCET incredibly well over the years. To NOCET for lunch and to spend some time with the children - took pix of Jacqueline and Upendo (for website/promotion). Sad to think we have only 2 more days before we leave for Zanzibar. We have to say bye to Diana, who has been volunteering in the kitchen and general duties - her sister, Judy, is getting married this weekend, and tomorrow is Judy's "send-off". Diana teared up, awwwww, she's a lovely young woman and is such an asset to NOCET. We walked back the now well-known route to Otakef for cool drinks in the shade and discussed this day's events. We were hoping for a visit from Diana, former Otakef employee we grew most fond of last visit; Jacqui was also expecting a return visit from the tanzanite dealer ... no shows! Another early dinner, relaxed afterwards. We had a wonderful surprise later in the evening - I heard the word "baboon", which is Diana's nickname for me, and there she was, standing at the door, looking great, more mature. So good to see her again; she is currently living in Dar es Salaam, runs a business selling accessories, perfumes, etc, saving so she can return here to Arusha to undertake a 3 year course in fowarding/receiving in 2014. She left Otakef last December, so Alfred knows her, and Stella is her friend. Caught up on all the news. We spend most of the day at the School of St Jude tomorrow. And the tanzanite man after that for Jacqui. 18 September Good morning - unfortunately both Sheryl and I felt a bit "off" this morning, my queasiness wore off, bur Sheryl's persisted. It's almost 9pm here now, Jacqui and Kerry have retired to their respective rooms, Sheryl is having an early night with panadol, poor thing. A big day today, bigger than we'd planned. Alfred drove us once more, picked Adams up on the way to the Mishono Campus of the School of St Jude; had to sign in and be given a Visitor's pass at the gate, walked to the Visitor's Centre - formerly the crowded Admin block as Sheryl and I remembered it - and were met by Carley, a lovely young Aussie woman from Wollongong. Walked past a Meeting Room where we saw Gemma Sissia busy - the's the founder/director of St Jude. We were asked to read a Visitors/Contractors Code of Conduct form and sign. Wow, full-on. We were introduced to Felix, a local man involved in Visitors' coordination, who will soon be travelling to Australia (his very first overseas trip). We were shown to a Visitors' Room where he gave a briefing to our group ad well as a small group of American tourists on safari. A promotional DVD was then played with questions following. We were then shown around part of the school grounds as well as an Art room, then on to the Lower Primary Library (2nd time there for Sheryl and myself) where we were put to task to covering some new books while Felix showed the Americans around ad they were on a tight timetable. This kept us busy till the lunch bells, and we joined children and staff in the massive covered lunch hall for a simple rice-based lunch. We watched the children play for a while, each long table leaving in turn, nice and orderly. Felix then took us to a few more classrooms where we were formerly greeted and watched lessons in progress. We had fun in one room while the students played fun games and we became involved in one of those games. We saw parts of the Senior Primary area, including their Library and various other parts of the buildings. We ended up listening to drumming practice sounds booming from a 2nd storey classroom - I so wanted to join in! It was time for us to leave, so we called Alfred to come pick us up. Sheryl asked if we could pop over to the office of Gemma's husband's safari company - www.safaris-r-us.com - and guess who was sitting there but the great woman herself! This was Sheryl's and myself's 3rd meeting with her, and so we discussed how Life is for her, orphanages, their safari company, received copies of the 10yr St Jude's book, Sheryl told her about NOCET and Loose Change ... lovely! Gemma offered to drive is over to a Help For Masai", an orphanage she knows to be well-run, thinking it would be good - particularly for Adams and Sheryl - to visit. So, off we piled into her van and Otakef's to go the back way through to the Kimandolu area (not far from Otakef), great to see another part of Arusha town! Once we arrived we had to wait a little while as Gemma wasn't sure if it was open to receive us, as no appointment was made or warning given. Eventually a European man welcomed us, but unfortunately he had to leave but it was OK to visit and have a look around. Once in and parked Gemma stayed a short while to introduce us, then had to go after warm farewells - how generous of her to do this for us! We spent a couple of hours there - Sheryl still not feeling well - meeting the children and them singing for us, as well as some of the staff, and Sveya, a young woman from Germany who is volunteering there in her gap year. The kids held our hands, proudly showing us their rooms and beds, and grounds, turtles, rabbits and recently made pizza oven (!). There is a very friendly Rhodesian Ridgeback that wanted to play and so I made the most of my dose of play and pats! We were made to feel very welcome, hot drinks were served, and we had a good chat with Sveya and 2 local staff. It's just so fortuitous these last 2 days, lots of cross-pollination and networking can now happen with Samaritan Village, St Jude and Help for Masai, as well as other reputable orphanages Gemma named for us. Lots of work, fact-finding and networking ahead for Samwel and Adams! And I won't be surprised if Alfred involves himself as well. We were very warmly farewelled, with promises of future visits, and we left feeling so very happy and excited. Shame Sheryl felt ****** and nauseaus. Back to Otakef after dropping off Adams near his home, Sheryl went for a lie-down. Dinner was again served early, I had mine solo as Kerry was observing Jacqui's tanzanite transaction. Sheryl joined us once Kerry and Jacqui came inside for dinner. Yummy potato soup followed by our dinner orders. Spent a little time with Alfred afterwards, showing me videoclips of popular music from his region, as well ad general getting-to-know-you chat. Last full day in Arusha tomorrow ... 19 September How has 10 days passed so quickly? Not much on the agenda for today, Sheryl still feeling quite off. Brekky of 4 halves of lightly toasted sweet bread, boiled egg, shrivelled sausage, and a plate of watermelon, orange and cucumber pieces, plus Lavazza coffee - that alone has helped get me through, happy that I packed my pot and coffee even though it seemed mad to do so. We've ordered makande for dinner tonight - wonder if Sheryl will be able to eat anything today? Sheryl stayed behind, the 3 of us drove in with Alfred, a quick stop for Alfred to send money to his mum (done here via mobile phones - great system). To ATMs to get cash, a quick chat with a group of ladies and man washing the outside walls of the bank; then to central market to buy watermelons, pineapples, mangoes and pawpaw, with persistent "bag boys" - really poor boys with black plastic bags that never take no for an answer, kept pushing in; they open up a black plastic bag as close to your purchases as possible, they will follow you with your purchases, filling up, and take it to your car/motorbike/bike for Tsh500-1000 (AUD0.35-0.70). Then, a couple of cartons of biscuits, a rigamarole in itself. Best thing to do in future is to give money to Otakef staff and get them to do the shopping as mzungu get ripped off. Alfred will sell us a crate of soda. We want to give these treats for the NOCET children and staff. Last lunch in Arusha at Fifi's, great food and drinks, and reliable WIFI - so out came the ipad and iphones to upload and download, etc. i'm still a little behind on my Travelpod blog, and to be honest, I really enjoy it when Kerry reads her entries, such an entertaining, relaxed style. Tummies and electronica satisfied we headed back to Otakef. Last of my washing on the line, so I have sone fresh-smelling stuff to wear in Zanzibar. Hope it isn't as hot - and definitely NOT as humid - as it was last time ... Sheryl felt OK enough to come along to our farewell at NOCET. And just a few minutes before leaving Diana popped in to say hello and goodbye - we wished her well for her return to Dar es, working hard and saving so she can start her Forwarding and Receiving course next year. Everyone was excited to see us, and we were very very happy to see them as well. Jacqueline and Upendo were roasting peanuts. We delivered our morning's shopping, pumped up an AFL footy we will present to Juma; and Adams and Samwel excitedly showed us costings and plans for the proposed house, nursery/kinder and clinic buildings on the land Samwel has bought. Such quick gathering of information! Yes, a cool USD100,000 needs to be raised. We asked for the building quote to be broken-down to stages, so foundations - at under USD20,000 - is the first goal. Rejoining everyone in the lounge area we saw that masai material were draped over the 2 desks at one end of the room with 4 chairs - for us - a couple of rows of chairs and tables for the children. The ladies were cutting up the fruits. It was fantastic to see that Grace now wears a pair of glasses - last trip we suspected that she had seeing problems as she often squinted - so glad to see she's been checked. she looks quite the young lady with her specs! Joyce had gone clothes shopping and produced bags of clothes and shoes for the fulltime orphans, the kids so happy and proud to show them off - yes, lots of pix taken. Eventually it was time for formal speeches: Samwel started off, with Adams interpreting; then Sheryl, Jacqui, Kerry, Upendo in turn. Adams also spoke on behalf of his wife, Lillian, passing on regards from her, said "I shook my son's hand and pass on his greetings to you"; Adams interpreted for everyone. Briefly, we and all the sponsors of Loose Change were warmly and deeply thanked for our generous support, bringing them up from real hard times to a wonderful life in their present house. Upendo gave great thanks for her salary, which is allowing her to save for a house; Joyce for her life now made much, much, MUCH easier; Sheryl thanked everyone for their wonderful welcome and hospitality, and made a point saying "last time we were here I said I wanted to see Joyce look 10 years younger, and she looks BEAUTIFUL!" Yes, she does look younger, without the weight of the world being on her shoulders! Everyone received a plate of nuts and some biscuits, a square of chocolate (Cadbury milk choc that Kerry brought), also pieces of fruit. Yes, there were tears, but not so emotionally overwhelming as our farewell last trip (thank god!) Happy tears, rather than sad ones. Then there were a few songs which we joined in on, lots of fun. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and fundraising, all of NOCET's wishlist have been purchased, the swing and desk being delivered today. We also ordered some shelving for their storeroom, to get food off the floor and make more use of space in that room. They will also need more shelving for toys and clothes ... another time. Sheryl, Kerry, Jacqui and I were presented with masai blankets - Samwel apologised that they had little to give us - they are very special indeed, we wrapped ourselves as mini-masai and many pictures were taken. Adams gave a masai jumping demonstration, he's a natural, especially with his shoulder shake! The swing will be much used - thanks Jo and Lee - the children were very pleased and excited to try them out, even though the quickset cement at the base supports was still not set ... tomorrow kids, tomorrow! Time to say goodbye to all and head back to Otakef, lots of hugs, kisses, cuddles, handshakes ... sad to part company with these wonderful people and gorgeous children. Samwel and Adams want to see us off at the airport, Joyce will come to NOCET. Relaxed, my washing delivered, dinner served- pumpkin soup, then makande, yum - a big day. The electrickery has gone off so packing may be delayed. Alfred - on our behalf - has had some difficulty getting in contact with East African Safaris; Sheryl has booked them, and paid, for our transfer from Otakef to Kili Airport. Apparently they were unaware of the booking, grrrrrrr. Mr Simon, of Australia, WE ARE NOT IMPRESSED, get your sh*t together!!!!!! So, hopefully after Alfred's intercession we will have transport arriving at 8am. We said our farewell's to Winfrida at dinner, as it's here day off tomorrow. It will be sad to say goodbye to Anastasia, Stella, Eliamina and Rakia tomorrow, and definitely to Alfred who has been a fantastic and accommodating driver, host and friend - he calls me dada, as I am his father's age ... awwwwww! He's a lovely guy, and am very glad to have spent a little more time with him last night - most nights are early for we 4 old ***** - getting to know a little more about his life that unfortunately I cannot share with anyone - I promised - suffice to say there is a true bond there. Sheryl and I are also delighted to know that Alfred has formed a friendship with Adams - they are from the same tribe, the Luo - and that Alfred will continue his association with NOCET. I feel very fortunate also to be sharing these experiences with Sheryl, Kerry and Jacqui, great to have these witnesses to the progress at NOCET, a special bond. Heaps of work to be done in Arusha, Melbourne and Canberra for the future! So get cracking everyone! 10 September Last morning in Arusha Time to pack, bit of a rush, Adams arrived, brekky gulped down down, Joyce and Samwell arrived. Alfred packed our main luggage into the rear of the Otakef van, he will follow regardless of whether or not the East African Safari van shows up or not, as Samwell and Adams wish to wave us off T Kili airport. Well, 8:15 came and went, the EAS van didn't show, so we departed after farewells to Ana, Stella and Zakia, as well as Joyce, pix taken. Stopping off at a nearby service station to get fuel, I discovered my wallet was missing, when Sheryl asked me for some money. Sh*t! Checked my manbag and backpack. Not there. Sh*t!! To the rear of the van, grabbed my luggage, checked where I had it yesterday, in the detachable little backpack. Not there. Sh*t sh*t!!! Alfred rang Ana to check mine and Sheryl's room, and we returned to Otakef to go through my sheets, and checked rooms. Not there. Probably somewhere in my main luggage. Sh*t!!!! Resigning myself that it may be in the luggage and HOPE it isn't lost. The wallet has money, credit card, drivers licence, and the Travelcard VISA card that has our main travel money loaded on it, as well as the house building money for Juma and Saumu - we are to give the card to them when we leave Zanzibar. Sh*t sh*t sh*t bugger damn! Alfred wants me to totally unpack my luggage. We say no, don't want to be late and miss our flight. Not worth it, it will show up. Back into the van and depart, take 2. Action. I can tell Alfred is worried as he drives us out of Alfred receives a call from Ana when we're nit far from Usa River, c15 mins from the airpot. The wallet has been found, it was in the Office. I must have left it there last night when I paid for dinner, drinks and washing. Silly me. Alfred wants to turn back and we say NO, suggesting that Ana grabs a taxi quick smart and bring my wallet to Kili airport. Phew, relief, phew, phew, phewwwwww! Trying not to kick myself too much; at least it didn't happen because of sloppy packing - I left a video camera behind in Morocco last trip ... grrr ... Pack the night before next time Pier! And check and recheck before leaving accommodation! Arrived at the airport, checked in, we're all seated all over the plane. We return outside to rejoin our friends and a few minutes later we see Ana and the taxi driver running towards us! Yayyyyyy! Safe delivery of my wallet, paid Tsh70,000 (AUD50) for my silly oversight. All good - kilakito iko sawa! We say our farewells yet another time, we all part with big smiles, knowing that, in one form or another, perhaps in small or even large ways, we all have much work ahead of us, for the betterment of the children and staff of NOCET. A quick toilet stop, then joined the queue for the pre-departure gate scanner, noticing the rather oversized cabin "baggage" some unthinking mzungu think is OK to take onboard. Policeman Pete on the case once again. Our flight with Precision Air is in a smallish prop jet, the overhead storage compartments barely accommodate 1 "approved" cabin bag and perhaps a small ladies handbag or 2, and there are people trying to stow 65kg backpacks, grrrrrrr! Free wifi - a quick download and upload - then time to board. The locker above me is already full, grrrr, a teenager in her crisp white shirt and sky blue skirt takes the window seat, I have the aisle. Couldn't see Mt Kilimanjaro at all during our flight. Pepsi and a small bag of cashew nuts is our inflight snack. Our flight is bound for Zanzibar and then onwards to Dar es Salaam. Lots of young holidaymakers on our flight ... So friends, there's a coffeepot left behind in the Otakef kitchen for our return visit, as well as any international or local visitors who can't stomach the Africafe instant (blerk) coffee (coffee?). Just bring your own bag of ground coffee! You're welcome - karibu!