Reflections and Refractions from Tanzania

  • DungBeetles


Christmas and 2012

We went camping to Mikumi National Park for Christmas. This is our family tradition. Tradition is a word which means – we did it last year.

At Mikumi we saw lions, giraffes, lots of birds and hippos. However, my favourite animals at Mikumi were two dung beetles. One was pushing a big ball of dung across the road. The other one was clinging on to the ball. We sat and watched them for a long time. I took pictures of them.

I have recently discovered that animals can have ‘cultures’ as well as people. This means that dung beetles have culture. I think their culture will have a lot to do with working hard.

Human cultures can also include a lot of work. In the school holidays I have been working hard on my reading and, especially, my writing. In Tanzania it is okay to stare. Sometimes this upsets me. At other times it means I can watch people and situations closely. It is also okay to pick your nose! However, Mummy and Daddy have forbidden me to adopt this custom.

Two days ago Daddy scolded me for rolling up a piece of bread before eating it. “That it is not the way we eat bread!”

“It is how we eat bread in Sam culture.”

This appeal to culture, in this case, did not go down well.

Happy Christmas

In Dodoma you can get decorations which say, “Harry Chrismass”. Daddy and I wanted to buy one. Mummy said it would be a waste of money.

We do hope you get the message right in this season!

Happy Christmas everyone!

Early Christians

I am an early Christian. I get up at 6am or before 6am every day. However, there is another type of early Christian. Early Christians were those who lived in the olden days. Things could be difficult for early Christians (tell me about it) in the olden days.

For example, Roman soldiers could come to your house and ask you if you followed Caesar (he was like the king of the Roman Empire) or if you followed Jesus. If you said you worshipped Caesar things would be fine. If you said you worshipped only Jesus things would NOT be fine.

Daddy and me have been talking about this. I would have a plan if this question was asked to me. If the soldiers came to my house, I would pretend. I would tell them I worshipped Caesar. Then when they left I would worship only Jesus.

May you have a great Christmas and great answers for difficult questions. 


Cathedral Carol Service 2011

Cathedral Carol Service 2011


I am sorry that it has been a while since I blogged. Things have been busy in Dodoma.

School makes it busy. Homework makes it busy. Music lessons make it busy. Swimming lessons (Mummy is the swim coach for my class in school!) make it busy. Friends make it busy.

In Dodoma we have our long vacation in December and January. I have, therefore, two more weeks of school before the Christmas break. I am looking forward to it very much. I have written to Father Christmas and asked him to deliver a Wii or a new football. I will have to wait and see what happens.

I’m hoping that because life is busy that the time will past fast.


I am back from my holidays. I went on holiday with Mummy, Daddy, Nana and Papa. We were in the car for many hours but I enjoyed every minute! On this trip I saw my first cheetah. It was a long way away but I could see it quite well through my binoculars.

The familiar sights as well as the unfamiliar brought me joy on holiday. After travelling to new places in the North we returned to Dar es Salaam so that Nana and Papa could fly back home.

I love Dar. It is a big dirty city. But, unlike Dodoma, it is a real city. It has traffic lights, shops, and playgrounds.

Whether your surroundings are familiar or unfamiliar I hope you continue to find joy.


I am sorry I have been off the radar for a little while. This will change I hope.

Things have been busy. Now, however, I am on holiday. I love holidays. I enjoy hanging around the house all morning in my PJs – which I also call my “diggies” (for reasons known to myself only). I enjoy playing in the yard with friends. I even enjoy the homework that I do with mum when I am on holiday. 

An unplanned joy for this holiday is the advent of a wobbly tooth. This means that it will fall out soon. One must not, however, wiggle it about with one’s finger. Patience is the order of the day.

It’s hard to be patient when I so excited.

The other thing encroaching on my patience is the news that Nana and Papa are coming after the wikiendi (that’s what we call it in Dodoma). They will be here on Monday.

A wobbly tooth and grandparents. This is looking like a good holiday.


I have had a good week. My best friend in Dodoma, who has been away in the UK for six months, came back to school on Friday.

On Friday, school awarded me with a certificate for good work in Maths! Maths means counting and subtracting. I did ask mummy about ‘four’ and I have talked about it with my teacher but I haven’t had a good answer yet. My question is, ‘where is four?’ Mummy, you might remember, told me that four was four apples, four pens or four boys. But this is not ‘four’ this is just four things. ‘Where is “FOUR”?’  I’ve asked Daddy too. He said he could give me a platonic answer but that might not be very satisfying. I shall not be giving my certificate to anyone around me any time soon.


My friend John now has an iPad. I am going to ignore Dad’s jealousy in this post and focus on something amazing about the iPad. It is called Star Walk.

John came to our house for dinner. After dinner we went outside to use Star Walk. Just before we went outside the power went off. This was great timing. Because there were no lights we could see the sky even better than usual.

We live in Tanzania. This means that a lot of star constellations that I saw in England are upside down in Tanzania. Despite this, John was able to hold his iPad up to the stars. Star Walk identifies the constellations and joins all the stars together so that you can see Orion, Pegasus, Leo Major (and minor!), and the Big Dipper/Plough. Also, there is a big constellation which makes a ship. Well, according to Star Walk it makes a big ship. Personally, I can’t see it.

John and Daddy are talking about getting a telescope.
I do trust you have time this week to look at the stars.

I’m Back!

I am back in Dodoma. With Mummy and Daddy I flew (on airplanes) from Belfast to London and then from London to Dar es Salaam.

I enjoy travelling and enjoyed the journey.

Now I am back in Dodoma I have “mixed emotions”. This is a new term I have learned this week. As it happens, it is a term which can be utilized in many sentences. “I have mixed emotions about going to school.” “I have mixed emotions about getting into that cold water.” “I have mixed emotions about going back to Dodoma.” “I have mixed emotions about being obedient.” “I have mixed emotions about carrots.” “I have mixed emotions about barking dogs.”

I have mixed emotions.

Interestingly, so do Daddy and Mummy.

Have a good week.


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