Manhattan seen across the Hudson river from New Jersey.New York panorama image

February 2013 in Tanzania through the eyes of an Englishman

Danger: Electricity may be dangerous, but an absence of it is too.


20/2/2013 - TANESCO Games.

Adia went to the TANESCO offices today to apply for an electricity supply to our new compound. When she got there she was confronted by a very long queue for supply applications. People kept leaving, and eventually one of them told Adia's section of the queue that there was a notice further along to the effect that no application forms were available. A little further investigation suggested that this had been the case for maybe a month.

Could this, I asked myself, be just ghastly inefficiency? I think not. Even the worst of organizations could have got some forms printed in that time. So no, it must be deliberate, a simple subterfuge to prevent people from applying for new connections.

But why, you might ask, would they not just put up a sign saying that no new connections could be accepted at this time due to an insufficiency of supply? Well, that could be because such a statement would be politically unacceptable. The government has a policy of connecting as many homes as possible to the supply - one of its 'look how well we have done' targets. Another reason might be that the government has recently told TANESCO to reduce the cost of electricity connections. Political reality includes the possibility that the newly prescribed cost is less than what it costs TANESCO to do the work.

So, a stroke of management genius! Just tell the manager who signs the order for the new forms not to do so, and to keep his mouth shut, and bingo! Problem solved.

There was also a very long queue of people who have the old post-paid electricity meters attempting to pay their bill. This could be a symptom of similar policy - if people don't pay their bills they can be disconnected. More likely though it's because of lack of staff. People are bound to leave from time to time, and either the cash-strapped company can't afford to replace them, or maybe nobody wants a job with an employer who is on such a slippery slope any more. Same difference - not enough staff to collect the revenue.

Fecundity: Adia complete with bump, avocados to the right.


17/2/2013 - Adia Pregnant.

It's been a long road with many twists and turns since 2006, but Adia has finally got something she has wanted for years. She is pregnant - second trimester at this point, and I am now permitted to announce it.

I have to admit that I find the prospect of being a father again a bit daunting at age 71, which is what I'll be when the baby is zero. I have however got a proper baby carrier, so I shall be able to take her/him to the pub with me, and show off ;=) I dare say that the baby will have a dedicated helper for those occasions when Adia is not around, so I shall be able to behave like a member of the aristocracy in the 19th century - go to the nursery and see it every so often.

Sex of baby T is unknown at this point. The next scan should tell, though Adia says she does not want to know. I do though, it's the 21st century, and I don't see the point of the suspense. The gyno agrees with me so I may find out from him.

Home sweet home: The garden from our veranda.

Home sweet home.

7/2/2013 - February.

January was unusually wet, but the weather now seems to be gradually reverting to the norm for this time of year.

It - January - was also devoid of guests, other than Annemarie and Ferry, who currently occupy our two cottages. But now at least we have one, and there are more to come this month. Typically we go from empty to more than we have room for.

I finally got my replacement debit card from the bank in the USA. Four months accumulation of my Social Security benefits are now allowing us to make some progress on unit one of our ongoing development. Spemba the roofer is working on the gypsum board ceilings, and if I can get myself off my arse, I'm going to make a start on the little deck outside today. Our resident masons have already done concrete and block supports for the wooden structure. The day's job is to bolt a length of 6x2 to the wall as the support for its back edge.

Before that though, I need to get the motor scooter Kiki fixed. Yesterday the engine just stopped, and then would not start again - a combination of a dicky starter solenoid switch and a carburettor problem I would guess.

Right now, I'm listening to some Tchaikovsky after a good breakfast of sausage, stewed tomatoes, toast, and fruit; and feeling somewhat sentimental. It does no harm. You all should come here to escape that nasty northern hemisphere winter weather ;=)

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Check out the BEV retrospective
currently covering 1942 - 1975.

1976 is yet to be started.

What is BEV?

Brits Eye View is the personal blog of a 70 year old Englishman - Steve Teale, started in January 2003. It's currently 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.

I started playing with it in January 2003, when I was living in Manhattan. At the time I felt I was going nowhere, and exposing the details of my life could be no worse than not. Almost immediately I changed partners, and quickly recognized that while I might be prepared to live in a goldfish bowl, other's weren't.

The same year I lost my job - recession, exhausted my NY State unemployment benefits, and got a job in India. Consequently a large proportion of BEV was written in Bangalore. India was OK, but I could not see what I was going to do there when I retired.

This uncertainty was resolved when I met my current partner Adia in 2006. She was a Tanzanian, studying law in India, so I came Tanzania in 2007. Here we have built a house, and made new friends. The rest, you can read on BEV.

At about the same time I had the ridiculous idea of extending BEV backwards to cover the years 1942 to 2002. So far I have got to 1975. For the years 2003 - 2012, choose a year/month from the tool bar, or go to the archive page. For 1942 - 1975, choose a year or go to the retrospective page.

Visiting Tanzania?

Adia's Place now has On-Line Booking. Please feel free to check it out. It may not be 100% yet, but if you get a confirmation email then it's a safe bet that we got your booking.

In the short term we will re-confirm.

If you have done all the usual tourist destinations, then make a leap and discover Africa! Come and visit Arusha, Tanzania.

You might be able to stay at - a great centre for safaris to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Kilimanjaro, and of course our own pet volcano, Mount Meru.

Please feel free to contact us. We can tell you about hotels, facilities, prices of basics, etc.

We now have very pleasant bed and breakfast rooms available at $20 per night. The Old Cottage and the South House are also available for longer term visitors.

Studying in Arusha?

Some of the major study centres in Arusha are at Njiro. There, you'll find the Arusha Institute of Accountancy, ESAMI, and TRAPCA.

If you are not happy with the accommodation there, you are only a 5 minute drive from - a secure haven of tranquillity with African food like your mother cooked for you. Price is competitive with the on-campus accommodation.

Just call Adia - 0762 442888 - and she'll come and get you and show you her place. You won't regret it!

This Month's Posts

If there's something particular you'd like to go back to, just click it here

Top 20 BEV Pages.

Exchange Rates.

BEV Software Blog.

There are a several new articles on the Software page:

Moods of Meru.

Mt Meru

The clouds give a good impression of how high it is.

Random BEV Poem.


If you are a Linux user, you might want to try this piece of graphical design software I worked on last year. You can use it to design business cards, labels, logos for your web site, and things of that sort.

You can download it from the BEV COMPO page, where you'll also find the documentation.

About You.

A bit of nonsense. If you've ever wondered what a web site can discover about you when you visit one of their pages with little or no effort, then now you know.

BEV Partners.

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Contact BEV.

If you want to get in touch outside the built-in comment system, email Steve Teale.