Friday, 24 February 2012

At Home: Amarula Camp, Mnenia, Tanzania

The climate here (central  Tanzania) agrees with me. I like being warm and it has been hot and humid.  Early morning and late evening it is very pleasant.  At mid-day laundry dries in 40 minutes. The sun rises early and about the same time everyday.
 We do what needs doing till about 11 then take a break, as the heat can be oppressive.  The solar collector fills the battery by 10:30 most mornings (we've had some misty overcast ones) and along with everyone's cell phones we're able to keep our laptops charged.
Getting online has been at times challenging, our stick works only in specific locations, (must be bouncing off the knob of rock to the north behind us.) It is painfully slow and doesn't like it if more than one page is open. I'm learning to prepare, then upload, download and do my best to NOT get distracted and start reading and responding while online.
Much of the time we are alone here, we have a security guard Mohamed who spends the night flashing his light/torch around and chasing off any wandering livestock. Daytime security is Saum who does some domestic work, dishes and laundry (also chasing livestock) with an occasional delivery of fruit, vegetables and fresh milk. She leaves at noon and returns briefly in the evenings.
 Our man 'Friday' though is Daniel, a hard working, creatively talented, positive force in getting stuff done and translating to and from Kiswahili. I believe we would be struggling here without him. At least until we're more fluent.
I have been reading, writing and researching, planting trees and making compost.
Often quietly enjoying the view from the hammock.  The clouds roll around the mountain, called Mnenia mountain on this side, Kolo mountain on that side and Pahi mountain down below to the east.
There seems to be a breeze most evenings off the mountains to the west down onto the plain, during the day it mostly blows the other way. We've had no rain to speak of for weeks now, even though  it is supposed to be rainy season. Beside the road to Kolo the corn looks parched. Women in colourful kangas hoe between the rows. I've seen them walking up the road early in the morning their hoes suspended on their heads the blade hanging over the back of their necks.
 Getting my hands dirty; planting Baobab, Sausage and Sandpaper trees, putting in a garden and collecting local plants to "landscape" the place has been wonderful and if you'll pardon the pun, very grounding. Permaculture principles and convenience support planting food plants/trees around our kitchen/living area and to that end we planted our first bananas. There are more varieties coming,  we'll need to prepare each spot appropriately. Papayas seem to grow easily here so along with as many mangoes as I can find, in a few years it might look a little like the village down below.
Minus the corn: GMO, terminator varieties covered in pink pesticide anti fungal dust? No thanks. I'm hoping to obtain some dryland corn like the hopi varieties. People here are totally dependent on what they can grow, so they grow what survives. I've got lots to learn here, for our survival we'll need to be working with the villagers.

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