March 2009 in Tanzania through the eyes of an Englishman

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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.
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.


The refurbished living/kitchen area in the small house.


Sigi attacking my foot after a hearty breakfast.
31/3/2009 - Reasonable Progress.

We are now close to getting the small house habitable again so it can be rented out. As far as I can see I'm down to:
  • Light fixture in the living room,
  • Replace the shower head that I borrowed for the big house,
  • Run a water pipe to the repositioned sink and connect the drain,
  • Clear up the rubble outside and clean up the deck.
However, I think we can now start advertising its availability - that is if we don't decide to move back in, it looks quite cosy and inviting now..

Having for a while had two Masai, we are now down to none. Adia has been unhappy since we found both of them asleep at night, and argued that one sleeping Masai was as effective as two, so she sent Johana home. That seems to have upset Moses, since today he suddenly announced that we didn't trust him any more, and said he was going home. So we're down to the dogs and KK security again now.

This is burglar season too, since it has now started to rain pretty enthusiastically during the nights. The burglar's like that because it keeps people indoors and makes a noise on the roofs that can cover their activities. The dogs are very vigilant though, and apparently quite systematic and organized.

The system is that they will spend some time down by the gate, then Gretel will go up to the top of the steps leading up to the big house, and Hansel does a circuit of the house while she watches the gate area. Then they'll go back around the house together, then visit the corner of the plot by the small house, and then back to the gate. We have never seen them asleep at night.

The little one is now de-facto weaned. Gretel is ignoring him when he tries to feed off her. Adia is giving him the millet/milk porridge that the two big puppies got when they were little. He has also started gnawing on any old bone bits he finds, and play fighting with anyone who will join in.

I have reached a convenient break point in my D programming. It it is of any interest, you can see what I've been doing on my DML page. Today I have to switch back to house finishing mode - I could do with the exercise anyway after sitting on my arse for a couple of weeks.



Self-weaning puppy.
27/3/2009 - Big Boy Now.

OK, so I have a web page that is devoted to the development of a single puppy. What can I say? C'est la vie!

So while I have been programming, he's doubled in size, and is now not only eating the morning pobs, but also the evening adult dog food.

We've both now become seriously attached to this little beast. He is a big boy for his age, and I hope he grows up into an impressively large dog who is unquestionably faithful to the family. The more of those, the better.

The Masai have already ratted on the agreement that has not yet even come into force. Adia got up in the middle of the night and found both of them asleep. The trouble is that they put their faith in the dogs too, and relax. We are going to have to lay the law down - we are keeping them and their families, and for that I want my pound of flesh! I'm going to tell them I want the house circled at regular intervals, so that as I lie awake at night I can hear them pass, or see the torch light. Also, there need to be defined shifts so that we can sack the one who was not on duty when he should have been.
The D programming is hard, but I think I am making progress. It's not the language - that's a joy - but it's just a fairly complex thing I'm trying to do, and the old man is out of practice.



24/3/2009 - BEV News.

OK, I have been very quiet. Rather than moaning about what hasn't been implemented in D, I've decided to get stuck in and do some of it myself. It is quite challenging when you haven't done any serious programming for some time. I don't know that this will result in any income, but you never know. Not that I suppose that anyone is particularly interested, but I'll try and keep you up to date on progress - I had a good day today.

Arusha news, well I have to announce that a business we have had some dealings with got burned more or less to the ground a couple of days ago. Guess who? Well, no less than "Arusha Arts", the strangely named auto repair shop that screwed up Potter last year. And no, it wasn't me, but I would not be surprised if it was the work of some disgruntled customer.

Just to give you an indication of the attitude of the guy who ran it, since he's seen us driving Potter around Arusha lately, he's been harassing Adia about why we never paid him for his work. He is just a step away from us going back to the police, since that is very close to breaking the agreement he made with Adia when we carted Potter away from his place. I would love that!

The puppy Sigi is growing larger and more active by the day. This morning Adia saw him licking up drops of Gretel's breakfast, and then trying to get to it in the bowl. I don't think weaning him is going to be a problem. Breakfast is particularly suitable for this. The dogs get one main meal a day, at about six in the evening. This seems to be fine - you could not describe either of them as being skinny or listless. But then in the morning, they get 'pobs'. That's a term from the days of my childhood. - a mixture of warm milk and broken up bread, which they love. Sigi will be in the bowl soon.

I don't know whether I said, but we have had a considerable tick problem in the kennels recently. It turns out that the next door neighbour had sold a cow, and then received a vigorous complaint that it was covered in ticks. As a consequence they sprayed their cows and cowshed, and all the ticks came over the intervening wall to feed on our puppies. So we've been spraying too, and now we seem to be getting on top. But it's a particularly dangerous problem when you have a young puppy.

Monday morning, Adia went off into town to do shopping. Potter's radiator top hose ruptured just as she got up to the Njiro Road, so she nursed him down to Nane Nane to Tyson's place. Tyson taped it off and sent to to a place in town where they put on a replacement. She's got very capable when if comes to dealing with vehicle problems these days.

She also took the corn kernels that came from that corn that Demi planted last year, and that I sat on the stoop and removed from the cobs, to the local mill. The result was about 15 kilos of corn meal suitable for making ugali. Not bad for a scattering of maize around the yard.

The tiler Ali is now in the small house. He's laying the tiles diagonally because he determined that the building was so far off square that laying them parallel to one wall would leave ugly tapered rows with difficult tile cuts on all the others. From what he's done so far it looks pretty good.

We have decided that a fair rent for the place when it is finished will be three lakhs a month (300,000TS - about $240), with three months up front and a months refundable deposit. This will include water, electricity, and security, so I think it is a very fair deal. But there's a way to go yet before it will be ready, and I don't think this months money will get us there.

So that's it, all the news that's fit to print.



Sigi experimenting with walking.
20/3/2009 - First Steps.

The puppy Sigi is now making serious attempts to walk. He can get up onto four legs, but the actual walking thing is still a bit difficult. He will fall over after a few steps. Also, since he's fairly heavy, sometimes the legs slip in all four directions so he ends up on his belly.

He had his first bath today. We took the dogs out of their kennels, and sprayed the kennels and them with what is essentially sheep dip to try to keep the ticks at bay. They are a real problem, particularly when they get into their ears. Then we shampooed the baby with a pyrethrum shampoo. He was not too sure about that process - didn't like the shampooing bit but seemed to rather like being rinsed in warm water.

In the afternoons now I move him up to the shade to the east of the house. Gretel comes to visit periodically to feed him. I don't think this is going to last for long though, as with just the one puppy, I don't think she's getting enough stimulation. It's possible we may have to bottle feed him. It won't be for long though, they way he's growing he'll be drinking out of a bowl soon.

Oh, I forgot. I owe you a decision. Adia reached an agreement with the Masai - both will stay. Moses is now threatening to bring one of his sisters as a house girl.
I have done my periodical pass over the state of the D programming language. Sadly while it has developed a number of new language features, there is still no IDE that is devoted to it, and there are still no decent features for dynamic loading of libraries or modules. The project I had started to work on can still make no real progress without dynamic loading. I'm still impressed by the language, but I have a feeling that the development effort is not sufficiently focussed on a viable end product.

For any programmers out there who may read BEV, here's a snippet that might give you a feel for the language:

// Other D modules can be imported
import std.stdio;

// A delegate is a combination of a function pointer
// and a pointer to a context. It can represent a pointer
// to a class member function, or a closure.
alias int delegate(int) idi;

// This function returns a delegate whose context is
// the stack frame of the function at the point where
// the address of the nested function was taken.
// This is a closure.
idi foo(const int n)
{
   int ci = n*n;
   int _df(int di)
   {
      return ci - di;
   }
   return &_df;
}

// D is object oriented. It supports interfaces like java
// rather than multiple inheritance as in C++
class Glob
{
   // This member is a delegate as defined above
   idi dg;

   // The constructor for a class in D is called this.
   this(idi d) { dg = d; }

   // D supports operator overloading.
   int opCall(int n) { return dg(n); }

   // In D all classes are derived from Object which has
   // a toString() method that can be overriden
   string toString() { return "Glob"; }
}

void main()
{
   // Get a delegate from foo with context set by 7
   idi dg = foo(7);

   // Create a Glob object using the delegate as initializer
   Glob g = new Glob(dg);

   // Use g like a function call via opCall
   int n = g(12);

   // D standard library has a simple output style that
   // looks rather like C. However D supports templates
   // and writefln is actually a template function
   writefln("The returned value was %s", n);

   // In case you're wondering, the return value is 37
   // 7*7 - 12
}
19/3/2009 - So What To Do.

Adia interrogated Moses today about the current state of things back home. Apparently the family is reduced to living on a limited diet of ugali - that's roughly like Italian polenta - and milk. Ugali is made from coarse maize flour, and is the cheapest of the starch sources available. Presumably the milk comes from such cows as remain, and will be in declining supply.

It also transpires that the temporary Masai who replaced Moses while he was away, has a wife and children who are being looked after by Moses' family, and therefore paid for by Moses.

Later in the day, Moses approached Adia with a proposal. He and the other Masai would both live here for about twice what he is getting now, and in return they would undertake to do all the work associated with general upkeep and services for the compound - daytime gate duty, lifting and carrying, cleaning it up, garbage disposal, gardening, etc. - as well as the night guard duty. This is quite a bit more that the implicit agreement we had with Moses. Strictly speaking, the Masai is supposed to be a night guard, and gets the day to sleep and relax. It has to be said though that Moses was doing more than just that voluntarily.

My common sense says yes to this proposal. Even though my effective income is decreasing as the pound looses value, the Masai are an essential pert of our security system, and in that respect, we'll be better off. There's a better chance that one of them will be awake and alert at two thirty in the morning. An unhappy Masai is also more liable to bribery by the criminal factions. Above that, I just can't see the wives and children starve.

I have to balance this against the progress we can make on the small house and the guest rooms. There's no point in me paying for the Masai families if it is not sustainable. If I snuff it, and there's no income, then everyone will starve. Some income has to be established, and the only direction I have for that at the moment is to spend money on the property.

I think Adia wants to do it, even though in many ways she's more 'careful' about money than I am. I will let you know the conclusion tomorrow.


A daily view.
18/3/2009 - Global Warming Up Close.

As you'll see from the picture of my daily view, we still have clouds here. It rained today a bit closer to the mountain, so we'll get the water later.

We're lucky. Our main Masai Moses returned from his vacation today. He'd taken some time off to visit his wife, children, and other family. Now that's a life in itself - you spend most of it living away from home so as to have a little money to send back to the family. He came back with a tale to tell.

His neighbour once had 300 cows, but in his region, the rains have failed, and so now there is no grass. The 300 cows are down to 60, and they are too weak to walk anywhere, and there's still no grass. Before he came back, Moses asked for a few days extension. His neighbour had committed suicide - drank insecticide - because he could see no way forward.

I now fully realize the significance of the little money he sends home to his family: the difference between life and death.
To add insult to injury, the world recession is biting here too, just as it's biting me through the decline of the pound. Everybody is feeling it in little ways. Tonight, Adia asked me to get bread when I went to Tondi's. Usually it's three loaves. We eat bread, the dogs have bread with their morning milk, and the Masai gets a loaf. But money is tight, Adia said two. We have to get the small house converted, to get the rent, to fight the depreciation of the pound. So everyone will get a little less. But we are still watering our new grass every day - makes you think.

16/3/2009 - Consuming Time.

I've spent the day working on 1970 of the retrospective. It was a light news year, but an interesting year for me. Light news years are hard work. I can't just say nothing, but to have anything to say you have to do a lot of Googling, and a fair amount of reading between the lines. The whole thing is very time consuming. Try it yourself. Think of a time when you were conscious, but as long ago as you can manage. Try and think what things happened to you, and what happened in the news for some particular year, and in what order, and if you are sure about the year. It's a challenge.

It seems, unfortunately that the web site I have been using in the retrospective to stream popular tunes of the time, may have gone belly-up. The address lookup still works, but then my browser just sits waiting for a response until it eventually times out. If that is the case, I will have a fair amount of work to do to find alternative sources and edit my links to match.

So far this week, it's a light news week. I sympathize though with President Obama in his frustration about bonuses to be paid to AIG executives. You'd think that common sense might prevail under the circumstances. After all, what is your perception about bonuses? Surely they are something you get if the company does well, or if you do well for the company. AIG should be thinking carefully about what happens next time they run out of money and have to go cap-in-hand to the government. It might be a good idea for them to break their contracts, and take their chances in front of a jury - they often have common sense. Perhaps we also need a law that makes this assumption explicit regardless of any contractual obligations. Otherwise, they're not bonuses, just part of remuneration, in which case the government, which by now should control AIG, ought to just sack the executives before the bonuses are due!

The British pound has crept up again slightly after its most recent plunge, but it will need more than that before we can make much progress out of a month's pension. The decorator has apparently arrived today, so now we have to find money to buy his materials and pay him a daily rate.

Tonight, I'm in a house full of Muslim women - all quite presentable. You know you're getting old when you're in a house full of women, and you're sitting at the computer writing about nothing in particular. Such is life!

For puppy lovers I should report that Sigi is still doing well. He's getting quite large, opening his eyes quite a lot, and showing every sign that he'll be walking soon if he can support his own weight - he's one fat puppy.


Sigi at eleven days old.
14/3/2009 - Puppy Progress Report.

I cut the end of my right thumb on a corned beef can a couple of days ago, and now discover that it is then difficult to take pictures of a very wriggly puppy while you are holding it in one hand and trying to get the picture with a mobile phone in the other. However I got something.

He's 12 days old now, and the eyes should open during the next couple of days. So far he shows no signs that I can see of problems that might have resulted from his dodgy parenthood. In fact, he appears to be in rude health. He's large for his age, and strong, and very active, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

The block and concrete work in the small house is finished, and the 4JX1 engine is gone, so I have been able to move the sink drain for the new kitchen area. Now we are waiting for a decorator to come and attempt to sort out the pigs ear that was made of the ceilings, and refinish the walls where cracks have been fixed. He's supposed to turn up on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, I'm plodding though 1970 in the retrospective years, and getting myself up to date on the D programming language.



The view east from the veranda.
12/3/2009 - A Wet Thursday.

It started raining intermittently this morning as soon as it got light. Adia got up at about 6:30 and went off to see Sudi in hospital. They seem to be back to being buddies again now. So I'm left here to my own devices.

Sorry about the gap. I've been trying to make some progress with the retrospective, and you'll see that I have now posted 1968 - quite a year in history - and 1969.

Gretel's puppy does indeed seem to be a male, so its official name is Siegfried. However Adia finds this a bit of a mouthful, so in practice it will be Sigi, which she thinks is cute. He appears to be thriving, and certainly enjoys his privileged position as a singleton. I watched him yesterday sucking on one of Gretel's tits, and positively wriggling with delight.

Gretel is getting quite relaxed about us handling him, so between showers this morning I'll try and get a better portrait.
My next job is some new plumbing into the small house, but at the moment I can't get at the relevant area of wall. There's the old 4JX1 engine parked under the the blue tarpaulin thing you can see in the picture under the window, and it is in the way. Adia has agreed with the guy we bought Potter from that they will take the engine at their workshop place, and attempt to sell it for spares for a percentage. But we have to get it there, and so far Adia has not arranged any transport.


More gratuitous produce.


My saw horses have many uses.

8/3/2009 - Another Functional Bathroom.

As I'd planned, working at a Sunday pace, I got the second bathroom into working order today, except for the shower, and the shower curtain. I stole the kitchen sink tap from the small house, and put that over the shower tray, so someone could at least get a jug shower. That's not bad by most peoples standards here - a large proportion of Africans would consider it luxury. The rod is there for the shower curtain, so I'll pick that up next time I'm in town, along with a towel rail and toilet paper holder. I've got the shower head, so next time we can get Juma's attention I'll have him make the pipe and replace the bare tap with that.

It's going to be quite a nice little bathroom when it's finished. It's small, just 1.6m by 2.2m, but it will have everything you need - wash basin, toilet, sprayer, and a shower.

We have another gratuitous plant in our kitchen garden. It's growing among the plants that were also gratuitous which produce one of our greens, and the new one is producing cherry tomatoes. The plants that grow like that always seem to do better than the ones I planted. I think that's just an illusion though. The Swiss Chard has done very well, and there's more of it than we can eat, which I guess is the acid test. Adia gives quantities of it away to friends and neighbours. And despite the strange shaped fruit, the Zucchini have actually met all our need for such squashes for some time now, though they are more or less past it now.

I made a number of saw horses for general carpentry, and some particularly to assist in making the roof trusses. I think they have been the most heavily used woodworking artifacts I have ever made, apart perhaps from our bed - I suppose that wins. In this case they turned out to be a convenient height for toenail cutting out on the patio!



The second bathroom approaching functionality.

7/3/2009 - Some Progress.

Some days go well, some don't. Today seemed OK - undoubtedly I'll regret my euphoria later. I drilled holes in the walls for most of the pictures that we had hung in the apartment in Bangalore. After the tiler's efforts, most of the walls need another coat of paint, but with pictures, the position is the important thing, not the background. We had our differences, but in this case, Adia and I did not have too much trouble in agreeing dispositions. Even with walls splattered with tile adhesive (actually just neat cement), the pictures make the place look more like a home. In the big room, maybe they make it look more like an art gallery, but I can live with that.

Then I started on the second bathroom, the piece of the house that will be the baby's bedroom if we succeed in having one. Until then, it's the guest bedroom. That went quite well also. I left it in a state where there was some silicone sealant that needed time to set, and it should be functional except for the shower tomorrow. I'm still thinking about the shower problems.
Mushi has finished his work on splitting the large room in the small house into a kitchen area and a living room. My design dimensions were frankly a guess, but now I see the walls and concrete surfaces, I'm happy. The kitchen area doesn't look minute, and the living room area looks decent.

Now we have to work out exactly what should be done next. The ceilings need attention, and since Mushi has also stitched up some wall cracks, and added some walls, some finish plastering is required. We need to agree the order of things with whoever is going to do the work.



Gretel's puppy.

7/3/2009 - Another Week Slips By.

It's Saturday again before you know it. Gretel's puppy seems to by thriving, although somehow yesterday it got a cut on one of its paws. I've put some gentomycin ointment on it, but the chances are that Gretel would have licked it off immediately. We'll have to watch it as it could get infected.

It is certainly a rather fat puppy, since it gets Gretel's undivided attention. It's making attempts towards crawling, but it will be a while before it can support its own weight. From a quick look I got the other day while Gretel allowed Adia to show me the cut foot, I think it's a boy, but neither of us is sure yet. If it is then it will probably get called Siegfried.

Today I have to hang some pictures, and will attempt to make further progress on the next bathroom. Mushi and his helper are finishing off the walls and slabs that will define the kitchen in the small house. Once that's done I shall have to turn my attention to the plumbing there.

6/3/2009 - Out Of Control?

There has been some complacency for a while after the US and various European governments announced what seemed like enormous bail-out programs for their economies. OK, we thought, the best minds available have thought about this, and acted, and now all will be well.

Unfortunately, it seems, judging by recent events, that the best minds available have never seen the current phenomenon before - a bad glitch in a system that has now become truly global. So they have little Idea how to deal with it. We have been told that things will get worse before they get better, but nobody has yet suggested that in fact, relative to the seriousness of the situation, things have only just started to get bad. We ain't seen nothing yet!

I remember what happened to the power supply system in the north east of the USA just a few years ago. A combination of a few unforseen circumstances caused maybe a quarter of the population of the USA to be without electricity for about three days. The responsiveness of the US grid system is not fast, but it is like lightning compared to the international financial system. If that went down, you'd probably be talking about years rather than days.

I have a bad feeling that this is the case. The electricity grid system is theoretically well understood. The world financial system is a matter of debate. It would not surprise me if we see it go into complete collapse because there is nobody that really understands it. If that happened, everything else would just automatically shut down. Bank doors would be locked, there would be no salaries, no ATMs where you could withdraw your precious little savings, no transport system, food would rot in the fields, and at some point international communications would fail, so we wouldn't even know what was going on. And of course, these days none of us are self sufficient. Sorry to burden you with it, but it's a scary thought.



Cheapo shower head interior view 1.


Cheapo shower head interior view 2.


Cheapo shower head interior view 3.
6/3/2009 - If In Doubt - Take It to Pieces.

We know an electrician, and on discussion of the shower head problem he said he could fix it, and when he arrived this morning he proceeded to take the thing to pieces. I was quite shocked by what I saw. Foolishly, I had assumed that the heating elements would be insulated from the water that passed through the shower - well wrong! The heating elements are simple nichrome coils immersed in the water that falls on your head.

So what price safety. Well, as I've said, clean water is a pretty bad conductor, and the designer of the device (they all appear to derive from a common design) depends on that for safety. The earth wire simply dips into the chamber above the holes that form the water spray. Since it is nearer to the naked heating element than you, it gets any electric current heading in your direction instead of you. It's insulated as it passes down to that chamber, except for a small section of wire that passes in front of the hole where water comes into the shower. That is intended to hoover up any current passing toward the supply pipe, which may well be a steel pipe with which the user might come into contact. It's simple, ingenious, and scary.

The fix is even more scary. The electrician removed the earth wire that did the hoovering up of stray current, simple using a very short length of it to plug the hole where it had entered the casing. He then connected the earth wire of the supply to the steel pipe that I am using as a temporary measure. With the first shower head, this was a miserable failure, and the thing still tripped the breaker.

So we did the same modification to another of my collection, and in this case, it worked. Looking at the first one again, we noticed that the flow restrictor in the inlet pipe was absent in the first one. The one that 'worked' had its flow restrictor in place. So basically, the things are not compatible with earth leakage breakers, since they are designed to explicitly draw some current between the element and the earth wire. OK, maybe not much, but it's all down to geometry, and my guess is that even if you had a variant where the geometry was right, you'd only get away with one or maybe two in the house. Any more in use at the same time would trip the breaker.

The difference between the two we messed with was the flow restrictor. That had a small orifice that restricted the cross section of the water path from the element to the steel pipe - smaller cross section, less leakage current.

But the fix provides none of the original protection from current flowing down the actual shower water stream. What you're dependent on there is the orifice in the separator shown in view 3. It seems that in practice, this orifice provides sufficient resistance that a person standing on a wet tile floor over concrete, over mother earth doesn't feel a thing. If the shower head is connected to plastic pipe, the trick is to remove the earthing wire internally, and leave a bit of placebo earth wire emerging from the outer casing to the supply connection to make the user feel happy, or simply not to connect it to earth.

When your average electrician tells you he knows the trick to fix the problem, you have to assume that a large proportion of the inline shower heads in the city are wired up this way. It's a wonderful world. Since the electrician had fixed it Adia was quite happy to take a hot shower.



One of the offending shower heads.
4/3/2009 - A Change Of Pace.

I have to adjust my working now to allow for the fact that all future work has to be funded from whatever monthly income we have. This month, the flurry of odd bits of expenditure associated with getting into the house, and what we will have to pay the fundi for the modifications to the small house, mean that I must now sit on my hands for a couple of weeks.

I have also reached an impasse on the in-line water heaters for the shower. I have three of these things now, and all of them trip the main earth leakage breaker of the house if you connect them and turn on the water. I don't think that they are intrinsically dangerous. If I disconnect the earth lead from the shower to the supply cable. There's no hint of trouble. They heat the water fine, and there's no hint of escaping AC power. They are, after all, sealed plastic units, and clean water is a pretty bad conductor. But the fact is that internally they do have some leakage to the earth wire. If you measure the resistance when the water is turned off, the resistance between the live and neutral conductors, and earth, is satisfactorily high. But when you turn the water on, an internal pressure switch connects the power cables to the heating element, and then the resistance from either power lead to earth is only about 10kΩ.
So if they are connected to the power supply, and then the water is turned on, you have 230 volts across a leakage resistance of 10kΩ, which means there's will be about about 23mA of leakage current on a 230V supply. Now the ELB nominally trips at 30mA, but the usual regulations allow them to trip anywhere between 50% of their rated trip current, and 100% of it. So my ELB could be within spec, and still trip with these water heaters.

If I had three heaters, and one was 10kΩ, and the other two were 20 or 30, then I'd say I had one bad apple, and it would have to go back to the shop. But they are pretty consistent, so I'm not confident that getting a replacement for one of them would achieve anything. At the same time if I buy another ELB, I'm simply playing Russian Roulette in hoping to get one with a somewhat higher actual trip current. Perhaps I should put the shower heads in the microwave/grill and give them a good drying out in the oven.

At the same time, the Tanzanian regulations require you to have the ELB between the incoming supply and the consumer unit/switch box, so a dodgy shower head will take out your entire domestic supply. I am at a loss as to what to do - any electricians out there with an opinion? So the pace has been suitably slow.

Gretel and puppy seem to be doing fine. I'll postpone naming it until we've had a better look.

Adia is off visiting Sudi in Mt Meru Hospital. They've nominally fallen out, but last night he got stabbed in the guts by some guys at his daughter's mother's house. From the little I've heard I think he was pretty lucky to get away with his life. The woman is now in clink, and Sudi is apparently back in the land of the living. I don't know about the assailants.



The house at March 1.


The small house makeover.
3/3/2009 - Move Completed, and a Surprise Arrival.

We surfaced on the second of March to the news from Moses that Gretel had produced a puppy, he having just a couple of days before expressed the view that she was pregnant.

Adia and I had just thought she was eating too much, and getting a bit portly, but there's a history to this. When the puppies were about seven months old last September, and before she had chance to go into heat for the first time, we'd taken Gretel for a puppy contraceptive shot. The vet said it was best to let her reach a year old before getting her tubes tied. The shot was supposed to last until February, but when we got back from Kagera in January it was obvious that there was a shortfall. Gretel was coming into heat, and Hansel was very interested. However, Moses didn't think they had actually mated at that point. Gretel was whisked off and re-injected. But, evidently, Moses was wrong. The deed had been done.

The contraceptive has evidently limited the litter. Gretel produced another puppy later in the day, but she soon came to us showing signs of distress, being unable to get any response from it. Adia took her for a walk round the house while I removed the stillborn puppy and got Masai to take it up to the plot next door and bury it. This seemed to be OK by Gretel, as there was no fuss when she came back to the kennel.

The first puppy is pretty lively, and of a decent size. I'll get a picture as soon as I can get it in a decent light. Of course it is at risk of genetic defects as the result of the brother sister mating. But the vet says we should let it have it's chance, and let Gretel nurse it and see what happens. Time will tell.

We got the rest of our stuff moved on Sunday, and the house is now more or less functional. I have just put up a shelf in the store room next to the kitchen. The view through its window is line-of-sight to Themi Hill, where our believe our Internet radio transmitter is situated. The wireless modem is now pointed at it from the shelf, through the window, and the wireless access point for the house is on the same shelf at near-ceiling level. I have an 'excellent' signal at the other end of the big room. Haven't tried the bedroom yet.
Yesterday I put more shelves in the kitchen, and had another fiddle with the in-line shower heater in the bathroom. It was still tripping the RCD last night - I must have got some water into the electrical part - but this morning it appeared to have dried out and was OK. However Adia just tried to use it, and it tripped again.

Our jobbing mason - Mushi is hacking away at the small house as I sit here. Yesterday he banged a hole through from the little vestibule leading to the bedroom and bathroom into the living room. Today he has just removed the door and frame that was the entrance to the living room. Those of you who have been following BEV for a while will remember that was originally to be my workshop. The door hole will be bricked up.

When he has readjusted the access, he's going to make a rather more organized kitchenette at one end of the living room. My job for the day is to try to get the shower heating properly, and to put up some pictures in the bedroom.

I think the house is to be "Providence House". We had originally thought of "The Good Earth", as per the apartment block in Bangalore, but for a start there's a tour company of that name here in Arusha, and also it's a bit derivative. This is a new start. I use Providence in the sense of how it came to be. With apologies to the Eagles, probably my Last Resort:

We came to Providence, home in Arusha.
Where the third world shadows cling, never far away.
Packed up our hopes and dreams, like refugees,
Then like we'd done before, flew across the seas.
We called it Providence - that's how it grew,
From money that I'd put aside and hardly even knew.


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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.