February 2010 in Tanzania through the eyes of an Englishman

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Visit Tanzania?

If you are planning to visit Tanzania, and come to Arusha, please feel free to contact us. We can tell you about hotels, facilities, prices of basics, etc. Arusha is a great base for trips to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Kilimanjaro, and of course our own pet volcano, Mount Meru. We now also have bed and breakfast rooms available, and a special introductory offer - see Adia's Place.
The BEV Retrospective - 1942/2002.

There was life before britseyeview.com. Find out what it was like in the second half of the 20th century viewed through the Brits Eye. Read the BEV E-book, currently featuring the year 1970. This is really getting rather stale - it's been stuck there for ages now, but being retired is so busy. I am working on 1971.

Yet another bed.

A jungle in the back of Potter.
27/2/2010 - Exhausted.

Of course, now the South House is occupied, I am confronted with the list of things that accumulated while I was working on that.

One was a replacement or modified bed for the Old Cottage. The sides of the bed there were being progressively eaten away by woodworms. In addition to this, the tenant had bought a new orthopedic mattress that was smaller than the existing bed. I decided that the best approach was to make a new bed of the required size, then I could remove the sides from the existing bed and replace them later. The new bed (number 9 I think) is finished now. You'll see it isn't in our standard wood/colour - the Old Cottage was put together before I had developed the idea of a consistent theme.

The following job on the list was to start some policy for landscaping around the South House. This again is new. When we let the Old Cottage, it was done just as-is. Technically the newer small house is on the same basis, but I now have a landscaping policy of sorts. Admittedly, this is not much more than "we should plant a few things around the entrance to make sure it looks half-decent!"

The practical result was that we went to the nurseries again to the day and bought a car-full of plants to meet that aim. Some of them are already planted. The rest will probably wait until Monday.

In bed last night, I had a revelation of sorts about how we should continue with the site development. There's a section of the land that we own that has a chunk bitten out of it. The chunk was sold before we bought our extension chunk. We have made noises about buying it, but the answers have been ridiculous, and we will not be held to ransom. So it occurred to me that we should just treat the effected strip of land quite separately, and do the main secondary plot later. It is possible that this approach might also provoke a more sensible price when it dawns on the owner that they are finally to be surrounded by a high wall.

According to this revised policy, the strip will eventually have an access through to the secondary plot, but it will be a service area where we can build workers quarters and my workshop. We really do need to have such an area, and as far as I can see it should not cost all that much. Basically it's just some foundations, some block walls, and a roof. All the expensive bits are not initially required.

We will see how this idea works out, but for now, as I said, I am exhausted. Catch you later.

The South House - now occupied.
24/2/2010 - A Switch of Effort.

Well, I'm now out of the South House, and its occupants are in. Adia and I both really like the place now it is (more or less) finished. The occupants seem pretty pleased with it also. I was in there again briefly today to screw the mirror to the wall. No disasters this time, we have decided to put the large mirror in a wood frame from now on.

Looking at the place again today, I could not escape the feeling that if we had ten of them, we could let them in short order. So I might well be kept pretty busy in the future. We'll have to sell bonds to do it though, unless the process is going to take 10 years.

For some weeks now, when I was tired, and had a couple of beers in the evening, I have been struggling with the GCC version of the D programming language. Needless to say, in that state I was not making much progress, but at least I had achieved a list of problems to be solved. Coming at the job fresh from a night's sleep makes an enormous difference, and during the last three days I have made good progress.

There are a couple of areas of work that need attention. First, someone needs to apply Walter's changes (that's Walter Bright - the guy who invented D) to the GCC version.
There is someone who was working on that, so I decided to try another job. That is to change the version of GCC that GDC is associated with to keep it reasonably up-to-date. This is probably the more difficult task of the two. I think I am winning, but I could change my mind tomorrow.

A man was supposed to come yesterday morning to check out our sweet potato crop with a view to buying it. Our neighbour Mica, who has been looking after that for us seems to have done a good job, and the roots are ready now, but I suspect that since there has been quite a lot of rain since they were planted that there may be a good supply of this vegetable. Consequently our price might not be too good - but we will see.

When we get to the stage of them being dug up I promise to get a picture - life is rich and varied!

Mr Toad.
20/2/2010 - A Fractal Example.

One of the characteristics of fractals is that you can always look at them in more detail, and there you will see increasing complexity. It seems to me that finishing a building must be a fractal example.

The closer you get to completion, the smaller the units of work required to complete become. However, the number of such units seems to increase exponentially. I think that buildings only get finished because someone finally says "enough - it will have to do as it is".

We are very close to that point with the South House, and I think the call will be made tomorrow. But there will still be things outstanding that irk me. That said, I don't have to live in it, so I'll survive.

A positive measure of what has been done is that I would quite cheerfully go and live there. It's a nice little house - just fine for two!

Also on the subject of strange and interesting complexity, tonight when I quit working and went round to the Silver Springs for a couple of beers, I put on my comfortable shoes - not immediately though.
At the first attempt there was some obstruction, and on examination of the interior I discovered there was a toad in my shoe. This is not the first time, so the shoes will probably have to live somewhere else. The toad now seems to be a fixture on our veranda. I'm trying to make friends with it, but it hasn't quite got the idea yet.

Ignore the ugly power lines.

19/2/2010 Well Kept Secret.

Those of us who have web pages would love to be able to do a search on Google associated with your topic, and have your web site come up on the first page of results. Some though may be happy with the more usual outcome.

For example, if you do a Google search for "Tanzania power cuts", you could be forgiven if you concluded from the first page of results that these were a thing of the past. Certainly Tanzania's national power monopoly (sorry I meant company) TANESCO isn't exactly in your face. You could quickly become comatose if it was - its web page is not exactly riveting. There is no mention on the site of any possible problems with supply, rationing, etc. If you call the local contact number given on the 'contact us' page, either it is busy (presumably someone else is trying), or there is no answer.

However, our power was off for four hours yesterday evening, and then a whole chunk of the city, including us again, was off for a couple of hours tonight, and it's been like that maybe every other evening - just when people need a power supply - for two or three weeks now.

There's no mention of this on the national TV news, or as far as I can detect from asking Tanzanians, in the papers. The general attitude is "what can you do about it - that's just the way it is".

To make things more uniformly depressing, the British pound is falling like it's aiming for parity with the US dollar - 1.54 something last time I checked. Just what I need!
17/2/2010 - Spending Time in Tanzania.

Recently a BEV reader asked me some fairly detailed questions about what it would cost to stay in Tanzania for some time. The discussion might be of interet to other readers, so for what it's worth, here it is.

> I wonder if you could kindly provide me with your observations on the following in Arusha:
> 1. Housing
> Cost of housing. What is available eg 2 BR flat in a safe area in Arusha. Cost of rental/month?
> Potential cost to purchase?

Accommodation cost and availability is very variable. You'd probably have to pay around $650 a month for a partly furnished flat, but first you have to find it. We do have contacts who can help. You can't purchase - only Tanzanian citizens.

> 2. Utilities
> Cost of electrical, tel, internet, cellular, water and other utilities

$25 a month should do you for electricity (that does NOT include AC, but you should be able to do without that here in Arusha). Telephones are mostly mobiles, and again the price is unpredictable with numerous special offers etc - maybe another $30 a month each (of course I have no idea of your level of usage). Internet is in a state of flux. There is an undersea fiber optic cable now, but that only works in Dar. I pay $60 a month for a crappy satellite connection. You can budget $10 for water.

> 3. Gas (Petrol)
> Cost/litre? Cost of propane or other natural gas?

Petrol is currently $1.19/l. 15kg of propane costs about $28.

> 4. Food
> Cost of typical staples and non luxuries - rice, flour, sugar, beans, lentils , fresh beef,
> fresh chicken, etc. Availability from local stores/market place. Soaps, toiletries, etc?

Rice $1.15/k, flour $1.51/k, $1/k, beans etc 75c/k. Beef and chicken are not what you have grown used to in your country - good beef is difficult to find, and often tough, tenderloin $5.30/k. Whole chicken $4 - $5.50.

Soaps, toiletries more expensive than where you are, but not too bad.

> 5. Vehicle
> Types available (small). Cost new? Cost used?

Only royalty have new cars here. Most cars are imported second hand from Japan and elsewhere. A little car maybe 8 years old might cost you $7500. We drive on the left side of the road in right-hand-drive cars.

> 6. Furniture available locally
> Cost - Bed Room/Living Room/Dining Room furniture

If you use the cheap locally made stuff you should be able to furnish a 2 bed for maybe $2000. A decent sized fridge is going to add another $750.

> 7. Clothing, bedding available, cost?

When in Africa ... Most clothing etc here is also second hand. The new stuff is expensive, and often not very nice. Cost varies according to the colour of your skin and your language. Go shopping with a native ;=)

> 8. General cost of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables etc

Seasonably variable - pineapple 90c, mango 40c, avocado 40c, tomatoes63c/k, onions 63c/k, potatoes 60c/k, carrots 63c/k, cabbage 40c, greens 15c/bunch.

> What would an expat family of 2 (non alcohol drinkers) need per month to live 'comfortably'?

If we weren't constantly building things, I estimate it would cost us about $1000 a month to live 'comfortably' - and that includes my beer, which is non-trivial, so you could do a bit better.

> General comments on security.

Security is yet another thing to pay for, though at the price I was talking for a flat, it should be included. I don't think Arusha is significantly different than major cities in Europe, India, or the US security wise. Africans think differently, but they don't seem to appreciate that you can get your pockets picked or your handbag snatched, or mugged or burgled with ease in any major city.

> Any other comments or thoughts.

Arusha is as comfortable as you'll get this close to the equator. It is busy and growing. The HQs of the East African Community and the African Court of Human Rights are to be here, and lots of NGOs are based here. It's going to get more expensive and more up-market, the latter particularly when the trade barriers come down in the EAC and it is easier to get imported and manufactured stuff stuff from Nairobi and Mombassa. Internet connectivity should improve dramatically over the next couple of years.

Plenty of people speak English.

> Look forward to hearing from you.
> Kwa heri and Kind regards

Sun close to overhead at noon.

The cracked toilet.
16/2/2010 - Regression Rather Than Progress.

The bathroom in the small house is fighting me every inch of the way. The outside plumbing worked out well. When the plumber with the green pipe machine had finally botched up the connection to the supply, I had very little to do. There was one joint where I had forgotten the thread sealing tape, but it was easy to deal with, and a couple of others that needed to be tightened up a bit. The kitchen sink also went very well.

The bathroom however has been a pain. I went in yesterday morning after the toilet cistern had been full overnight to find water all over the floor. After checking all the joints, which seemed good, I finally discovered a large crack in the hidden side and back of the cistern. The thing is doomed, and will have to be replaced - a real bummer, and $120 down the drain! Then one of the wash basin flexible hoses would not seal tight whatever I did. I eventually went and got a replacement, which was immediately OK.

So currently, the wash basin and the shower are functional, but tomorrow we have to go and buy another toilet. I just hope they have another of the same model in stock! If they don't, it's a big deal, the drain pipe and hole in the wall will probably need to be redone.

It is close to one of our midsummers here. You can see from my shadow in the picture that the sun is close to overhead. If I'd taken the picture closer to noon, the shadow would have been even smaller.

Having finally got to the bottom of a problem I was having building the latest version of the GCC D compiler for Linux, I built it yesterday evening on about the sixth attempt, having been hindered by a string of power cuts. Altogether, yesterday was a frustrating day. So now I can hopefully conclude the piece I was writing on GDC-newbie about how to do the build - manyana.

Yet another pickaxe through yet another pipe.

The carpenters version of shelves.
12/2/2010 - Nonsense Induced by a Couple of Beers.

I read quite a few articles that ask or suggest what should be the programming languages used by computer professionals (now there's a word - we'll look at that another time) for writing programs to be used in the next few decades of the 21st century.

I don't see that many articles about which 'ism' or 'racy' we should adopt to govern our nations, or the Earth as a whole over the same period. They are probably there, but I don't know where to look.

It does not seem that states that classify themselves as religious republics (theocracies I guess) do very well. If you think of them in terms of English history, you are back - plus or minus - to the days of Henry II, who asked famously in 1170 - "who will rid me of this turbulent priest". It was the other way round to what things are now. Then some knights loyal to the king went and chopped Thomas Becket up with their swords. Now the question is more likely to be asked by some turbulent cleric, and some loyal paradise seeking, or merely pressed, follower will go off wrapped in a belt of high explosive and shrapnel, and attempt to do the necessary - killing 20 or 30 unrelated civilians in the process. Theocratic rulers have no less tendency to hang on to power at all costs than any other rulers. No questions, no dissent - that's just the way it is!

So let's forget that particular avenue. Definitely too much of a step into the past. But what remains? Is there a Communist state left that still manages to run its affairs successfully? You have to think at once of China. Currently the PRC is doing pretty well at running a managed economy, but calling that communism these days is too far fetched - it's just an autocracy run by either an individual or a committee who happen to be members of the communist party. North Korea is just a dictatorship. Probably the closest there is remaining to communism as it was originally conceived is Vietnam or Cuba, and by all accounts, they are probably both trying to exit the condition gracefully.

Capitalism is in a similar situation of disgrace. Its inherent nature is to concentrate all resources in the hands of a decreasing number of already wealthy and at the same time very intelligent and well educated individuals. They have the resources to understand national and international laws, and to come up with initially very expensive, and probably speculative schemes to pump money out of national legal and customary systems into their own control.
Such people operate under the name banks, or hedge funds. Increasingly they are so large in financial terms that they exceed the control span of national governments. In fact national governments may be obliged from time to time to give them money to compensate for schemes that proved to be too speculative.

China excepted, capitalism often chooses to operate within democracies. There the distinguishing feature is that nothing much gets done because there is too great a danger of the ruling party making a mistake, and in consequence getting turned out after the next statutory election. Then of course there's a fair chunk of the world that lives in nominal democracies. These are places where corruption and nepotism are so well established and so accepted (again - that's just the way it is) that it is possible to hold elections vetted by international oversight bodies that can be guaranteed to always return the ruling party. The elections are only necessary because they are a precondition for the foreign aid that is used largely to fund this particular system of government.

And then of course, there's Russia - a law unto itself since Peter the Great or before.

Having said all that, if asked where we should go, the answer would be "no idea". I'm getting on, too old and too cynical to come up with a suggestion. That will come I think, not from my children's generation, but from the generation of their children. But we should all think about it, and do what we can to move things forward in our own small way.

My day? More plumbing. I mended a pipe where Danny had dug an excessively large hole for a very small tree, an got quite a bit more done. The carpenter finished his work on the shelves, a computer table, etc. I was not overwhelmed by the results.

An area I'd like to visit.
11/2/2010 - Visitor from a new Area.

The city of Victoria, in British Colombia, Canada, is actually the BC capital. This was a surprise to me, since I would have expected it to be the city of Vancouver, somewhat to the north. This is an area that has always fascinated me, and I've been close, like Seattle and Bellevue in the USA - the software connection. I guess the fascination is that it seems to be miles from anywhere - an outpost of civilization at the end of the universe ;=) It also has a western continental climate that is recognizable to a Brit. I can remember being at the bay side in Seattle in the spring, and buying Rainier cherries to eat out of the bag - wonderful.

Anyway I had a visitor from somewhere close to Victoria today, someone with an Internet provider located there. I hope whoever it was enjoyed the visit. Eat some cherries for me come spring!

Happy plants.
11/2/2010 Congratulations, Condolences, and the Day

Congratulations of course to Nelson Mandela, for being a brave, and great, and magnanimous, and kind, and patient, and generally wonderful man with a genuine smile that we would all die to have. You don't get many men like him per generation.

South Africa, of course, still has numerous problems. Like most of Africa, though maybe not quite as bad as some other places, South Africa is still desperately short of jobs. Having civil rights and political representation, and an inclusive constitution, and hosting the World Cup is one thing. Having a job is another.

Condolences to those in the NE of the USA who are having disgusting weather. We from the Third World salute you, and hope it gets better for you soon.

Condolences also to the people of Iran who are not represented by the man who believes he is president. Congratulations to all the people of Iran on your escape from the bondage of the Shah - it's a pity that what you got in exchange was the bondage of the Ayatollahs. There are other ways to live in this world that are comfortable for Muslims. Visit East Africa. The countries there are not imperialist, not against Iran, but provide a pretty good example of how people of different religious views can live together like 33-33-33.
Obviously the powers that be in the Eurozone don't read BEV. There's talk of baling out Greece - quite likely throwing good money away after bad. I believe that route will just give the currency speculators more traction - common sense, people who throw away money can't be trusted to run a financial system!

I've been doing more plumbing, but I'll amplify on that later when I've taken some pictures.

10/2/2010 - Does the Eurozone Need Greece?

The Euro has been going down of late - sadly not as badly as the GBP. I don't think this is particularly good news. With things as they are in the world currently, a bit of predictability is probably the best prescription.

Greece, by all accounts, is way outside the limits of economic behaviour that qualifies for Eurozone membership. The tax men are on strike, or were, and the population has become accustomed to an unsustainable level of government expenditure.

So why not kick Greece out? They had a currency before they joined the Eurozone, so they could re-institute the Drachma, and print a lot of it to pay for the government expenditure.

Of course, in terms of international exchange rates, it would probably be worth next to nothing, which would be good for tourism, and exports of Ouso, but would probably otherwise impose a short, sharp shock. The currency markets would see that the Eurozone mean't business, and that would probably stabilize the value of the Euro. Also the citizens of Spain and Portugal might take the overspending of their governments a little more seriously.

Unfortunately, that would then focus the attention of the currency speculators even more onto the good old British Pound, which would not suit me at all. So just forget what I said - what do I know?

10/2/2010 - Is Anybody There?

There's obviously something about my little web page that keeps some people coming back. I have a hard core of dedicated readers who do so regularly, some of them are my children. But none of them, except for my ex-wife Lynn, and a couple of others, ever communicate with me about the content of the page.

So it is a bit like living in solitary confinement. There are some functionaries who will communicate briefly if I go out of my way to provoke some interaction - a bit like screaming when the food is pushed under the door. I have provided two channels of communication. You can click the 'Contact' link at the top of the page to send a private email, or you can click the 'Feedback' link to share your thoughts with me and other readers. But I can't shout - I'm doing my best now, can you hear me?

What I need to know is what do you want to read - what do you like to read now, and what is missing. If I have some idea, then I will do my best. Please, don't be shy - click one of those links and communicate. I do not bite - well at least, not very hard ;=)

A distant place.
10/2/2010 - A Visitor from a New Place.

There's an island nation (several islands) called Palau about 800km east of the Philippines, and 3200km south of Tokyo - right at the centre of the picture. I think a friend of ours may be there - we had a visit to the web page from Palau today. If you are, please let us know ;=)

Today was mostly plumbing again. I put a gate valve on the end of the water supply pipe that runs to the kitchen of the South House, and attached the other side of that to the pipe that will go to the kitchen sink. Then I made appropriate holes in the wall and put pipes through for the water supply and the kitchen sink drain. The cement around those will have to set before I can do any more. In any case I'd run out of plumbing materials. To fill in the rest of the day I went to an electrical shop that is close by and bought some socket outlets, and fitted those.

The carpenter who made the doors is here again making shelves and such. He's very quiet - even by my standards. Just comes, works, and goes (bit like eats, shoots, and leaves). I would normally have done these, but I still have quite a lot of plumbing to do, and as I've remarked before, it's about as easy to get a plumber to come here as it is anywhere else in the world.

For example, I need one to come to connect the water supply pipe for the South House to the water tower, and we've been trying to coax one here for about two weeks now. When they do come, they do a crap job and charge far too much by Tanzanian fundi standards. I would do that job myself except that I don't have the machine to connect the relevant plastic pipes. I nearly bought one two years ago, but decided the investment was probably not worthwhile. Drrr - it would have paid for itself many times by now!

The cat will sleep anywhere that you don't want her to.
8/2/2010 - Programming and Real Work.

I have various programming bugs up my arse at the moment, so it has been difficult to get me off the computer. To make that situation worse, some plumbing components I needed to work over he weekend seem to have magically disappeared. I have made some progress in terms of understanding with the programming, but the problems are outside my control, so I'm still banging my head against a brick wall.

Today though, I got myself going and went into town to buy replacements. These are now in place, and I am close to having the water supply parts of the bathroom in the South House completed. The last thing I did today was to fit the sockets that the shower mixer will screw onto. These will have to set in their cement for a couple of days before I touch them again. Once I can, there are just a couple of short pipe lengths to add to connect these to the geyser and the cold water supply, and I should be through with that. I can't do final leak testing until a plumber who has the required machine can come and connect to other end of my water supply pipe to the water tower.
The tomatoes in our veggie garden seem to have recovered to some extent from the disease that seemed to be killing them, and there are quite large numbers of fruits forming. The eggplants are also doing well, and I see the first signs of a broccoli forming. We ate green peppers (capsicums) from the garden tonight as our main vegetable.

We got a new house girl on Saturday, who was rather cute. But on Sunday morning she announced that she could not live at our place - it was too quiet. She comes from an overcrowded slum area, and is used to having a lot of people around, so I can see how the Teale compound would come as a shocking silence.

Cali has discovered a new basket to sleep in - the fruit basket. She's incorrigible - the places that are least convenient are her favourites. For example, another of her places is on my computer keyboard.

4/2/2010 - When in Africa.

I've been working on plumbing again today in the South House, and thinking about the way things are here, and the way they were in the UK when I grew up.

We live in little eco-systems - our houses or apartments. The assumptions under which these systems are defined vary from country to country, and with latitude. Houses/apartments in the tropics make different design assumptions than those used where winters are cold. In relatively less developed countries, a different set of design assumptions may be made.

The design assumptions are not just those that allow people to live at at temperatures encountered in a particular location. Temperature has, in the course of history, guided the way people do things. A classic example is how we organize ourselves in our bathrooms or toilets.

In the cold climates, current 'developed country' habits were probably formed in the 19th century. The places where you went to relieve yourself were not generally a part of the house - sanitary equipment was not up to that. So you went to an out-building that was connected to some sort of drain (in the worst case, just a pit). There would be no water supply there, since if there was, it would freeze and the pipes would burst regularly, in the winter. In any case it would often have been so cold that the possibility of washing yourself when you were through was not likely to be attractive.

As paper became a more everyday commodity, some of it was kept in the privi - pieces of newspaper impaled on a nail stuck in the wall were commonplace. You wiped your arse or whatever, on that, left or right handed according to your dexterity, and threw the used piece down the 'toilet'. When you got back to the house, if facilities were available, you washed your hands. Gradually, the use of paper designed specifically for the purpose became prevalent. The destination of the excreta and the paper also changed over the time, and was more likely for many to be some sort of town or city sewerage system - not your problem.

In warmer climates, and in less 'developed' countries, it was less likely that there would be a designated place. A quiet corner of a field was the most likely option. Paper was a rare commodity, so to clean yourself, you took a container of water at ambient temperature - quite warm. You poured it over the affected area, and used your left hand to assist in the washing process. Your right hand was reserved for eating - simple but reasonable effective hygiene.

In these countries, the spread of 'mains' sewerage was much less likely, so as houses became more sophisticated, septic tank systems became prevalent, as they still are in country areas in the USA and elsewhere. The use of the container of water was replaced in more luxurious bathrooms by a hand held spray.

I was warned when I first used septic systems in the US to minimize the quantity of toilet paper flushed. It contributes to sludge in the septic system, and now, in the days of sophisticated toilet paper, it introduces chemicals such as sulphites and bleaches into the system that can act against the bacteria that make the septic system work. In the other environment, there was no need for such warnings, since the use of toilet paper was minimal anyway. If you used it, it was probably just to dry yourself, and it did not then need to be flushed. With proper washing, a towel is OK, as after a shower. Septic systems in that environment can be compact, and don't need regular pumping to keep them working effectively.

Septic systems don't like detergents either, so when you do the washing, disposal of that water is something completely separate. Usually it is relegated in cooler climates to a separate soak pit or trench. In the tropics, where evaporation is rapid, it is likely just thrown on the ground. It does not go into the septic system. Another related point is that the use of hot water for washing is rare in the tropics, but was normal in cold climates. With current detergents, and a decline in hand washing, hot water is not necessary, and it is not environmentally sound.

Now, when people in the cold climates expect to have year-round temperature control, the use of toilet paper is something of an anachronism. Useless killing of many trees. Sending washing machine effluent to the same place as bathroom effluent causes problems for public sewerage systems, and should probably be revisited.

So when in Africa, or India, or elsewhere, I'd recommend that you do as the locals do. When you go home, you might have found some new habits to take with you.

The aluminium windows delivered.

The water pipe and its trench.
2/2/2010 - Monthly Progress Report.

Well, the main house is pretty much as it was at the beginning of January, give or take a few new plants. Our focus is on getting the South House in a habitable state. This is going quite well.

Last week, our do-everything fundi Innocent did the finish plastering and an initial coat of paint on the walls and ceilings. He also painted and glazed the front door - well actually the only door.

So this week it is floor and wall tiling, and the aluminium windows. I also have to some plumbing work. One of my jobs got a big chunk bitten off it yesterday. On Sunday, Innocent's brother Gideon had dug the trench for the water supply pipe - 70m of trench about 50cm deep, mostly along the base of the compound wall around the back of the house. In my view, a prodigious effort, since the sun was merciless and it was scorching hot

Then yesterday Adia and I went of on a materials purchasing trip - just-in-time provisioning. We bought floor tiles for the two main rooms, and 150m of one inch PVC water pipe. The windows components also got delivered. In the afternoon, Gideon and I coaxed the pipe into its trench, then he filled it in again apart from the ends, while I did some work on the latter.

Now the pipe is in place, Innocent and Gideon are here to build a small dam at the and of the strip of land behind the house. They will also put a couple of lengths of 100mm pipe through the bottom of the compound wall. This will hopefully end the Nile delta effect and the small stream that runs down the side of the South House and across the front of it every time there is heavy rain. When they have done that - if the money is there - they will formalize the channel in the ground that has been carved by water running off the roof by giving it a concrete lining.

Ali the tiler is working on the main floors today, and the window people are due to come and fit the windows, but they are always late so it would not surprise me if that did not happen until tomorrow.

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What is BEV?

Brits Eye View is an Englishman's six-year personal blog about life in Arusha, Tanzania, and previously in Bangalore, Manhattan, and the Bronx. It deals with life in general, building a house, food and drink, computer programming, opinion on current affairs, 20th century history, and so on. It may give you some insight into what life is like in 'the third world', or encourage you to visit Tanzania.

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bid $ - ask $  .

The most popular BEV archive page (Jan 2003 - Nov 2009) is still June 2003. (I still wish someone would explain to me why!)

We have rooms available at Adia's Place (the Brits Eye View micro hotel). So if you plan to visit Arusha, and don't mind being a guinea pig, give us a shout. You can stay in a rather nice room close to both the city, and to rural Africa, at a very competitive price.

A GDC-newbie web page

I have made a new page for beginner users of the GDC (Gnu Compiler Collection D Compiler) here. Since I am a newbie to it myself, I thought I should share my experiences of getting the thing up and running and beyond.

Currently on the Software page:

GDC, MinGW, and Code::Blocks
- Taking a different tack on the D programming language.

Javascript Exceptions
- A design flaw?

Minimally Intrusive Javascript
- Writing scripts for use by others.

BEV Tiny Feedback Component
- Simplified installation (I hope).

Javascript Little Known Facts #1
- Array Slicing and Function Call.

Javascript Little Known Facts #2
- Nested Functions and Closures.

Javascript Little Known Facts #3
- Labels.