Posts Tagged With: Tanzania

Going Home: Mwanza to Dar es Salaam

I was just kidding about never seeing Agatha again because sure enough, I saw her the very next day.  Let me explain:

After my (un)happy Mother’s Day, mom and I set off for the Mwanza airport with my namesake Tito, the taxi driver.  We packed all this stuff into the car:

That's a lot of stuff!

That’s a lot of stuff!

and then I said goodbye to our Maasai warrior guard.

Goodbye Akwi

Goodbye Akwi

When we got to the airport, mom put me in my cage (which I totally hate, it’s so demeaning) because all the Tanzanians were afraid of me.  We went through security and got to the check-in counter with more than enough time to spare.  But, unsurprisingly, no one knew quite what to do with me.  They said it was impossible for me to fly even though mom had already made arrangements for me with the manager.

So I waited patiently (or not so patiently, I’ll admit I cried a bit) while mom fought for my right to board the airplane.

Waiting...

Waiting…

Everyone ignored her because they just didn’t want to deal with a situation that made them think outside the box.  Eventually, it got too late and the plane simply left without us so we were forced (well, mom was forced, I was happy) to go back to our house for the night.

I was ecstatic when we got home and did leaps of joy around the house.

You know what was the icing on the cake?  When I woke up the next morning, Agatha was there!  Hooray!  Unfortunately, we really needed to leave on Monday since our flight to Amsterdam was leaving that evening from Dar es Salaam.  So, around noon, I said my goodbyes to everyone again.

Saying goodbye to Agatha (again) and Eddie (our gardener)

Saying goodbye to Agatha (again) and Eddie (our gardener)

Once more, we arrived at the Mwanza airport and into my cage I went.

I hate that dumb thing

I hate that dumb thing

This time, the people at the airport were prepared for me and things went much more smoothly.  Mom handed me off to the Tanzanian baggage handlers to be loaded into the luggage part of the plane.  I was not super excited about this, but since I was in my cage there really wasn’t much to be done about the situation.

Eyeing me with skepticism

Eyeing me with skepticism

I was driven out to the airplane on a tractor (without my mom) and loaded onto the little ATR airplane, since all of Precision Air’s Boeings are not working.

I'm in there somewhere!

I’m in there somewhere!

You know where they put me?  In the baggage section like I was nothing special.  Below me there was a bucket of dead fish that I had to smell for the entire flight and above me was one of mom’s massive bags.  I’m lucky that I even survived!

Piled in with all the luggage (if you can even call a bucket of dead fish luggage)

Piled in with all the luggage (if you can even call a bucket of dead fish luggage)

Finally, after an agonizing two hours, we arrived in Dar and reunited with mom’s taxi driver friend Sham.  Since no hotels would allow us to enter, Sham took us to a place called Coco Beach to pass the time until our next flight.

Enjoying the ocean breeze with Sham

Enjoying the ocean breeze with Sham

Here’s where I spent my very last hours in Tanzania, not too shabby if you ask me!

Coco Beach

Coco Beach

But, as I’ve learned in my short life, all good things much come to an end.  So, after the sun had set, mom and I headed back to the airport to continue our marathon journey back to America.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Goodbye Agatha

Moving sucks.  There, I said it.  I hate moving.  Especially because I have to say goodbye to people that I love.

One of the most important people in my life is Agatha.  She comes every day to my house to clean up all mom’s messes and to hang out with me so that I’m not alone all day when mom is at work.  Like I’ve mentioned several times in the past, most Tanzanians are scared of me for some reason, but not Agatha!  She is so happy to see me and picks me up and cuddles me.  She also comes to live with me when mom goes away so she’s basically like my second mom.

Agatha came with her son today to say goodbye to me.  I ran around and played with Joshua, just like old times.

Joshua-Tito playtime!

Joshua-Tito playtime!

But then something weird started happening.  Men came into my house and started taking our stuff!  First they took our couches (bonus for me because I found a whole bunch of toys that I forgot I even had under there).  Then they took our bed.  These guys were literally turning my life upside-down.

My couches, my mattress...

My couches, my mattress…

Apparently this wasn’t just a play-date, but a trick to take all our stuff!  But mom appeared to be ok with it, so I returned to playing with Joshua.  I try to let mom do the worrying because I’m better at the comforting part anyway.

Joshua, busting a move

Joshua, busting a move

After a lot of our household was removed, mom started getting sad, I can tell because water starts coming out of her eyes and she acts really weird.  And strangely enough, Agatha starts crying too.  What is going on here, people?  And that’s when I realize it, Agatha is not moving with us.  This is when I have to say goodbye to my second mom, forever.  Luckily, we all held it together for a group shot:

That's me protesting because I don't want to move

That’s me protesting because I don’t want to say goodbye

Mom gave Agatha some photos so she could remember me and promised to see Agatha when she returns in the summer (without me, I’m being abandoned back in the US for the summer).  But for me, this is the last time I’ll see Agatha for the rest of my life and that makes me really, really sad.  If any of you all have tips on how to make saying goodbye easier, then send them my way.

So, I did what I do best, and I gave Agatha and Joshua kisses as they were about to leave.

Goodbye Kisses

Goodbye Kisses

And then, Agatha closed the gate and left.  And I’ll never see her again, ever.  I’m going to go curl up in my bed and have a moment to myself now.

Goodbye Agatha, my second mom

Goodbye Agatha, my second mom

I hate goodbyes, but I love Agatha.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Mom Went to Boston And…

most importantly, she is safe!  Thank goodness she is ok because I honestly don’t know how I’d survive without her.

Boston

Boston

She also decided that it is time for me to start trying to lose some weight since we’re headed back to America in less than 2 weeks.  Mom says that it’s not fashionable to be fat in America like it is in Tanzania so I’ll have to try to slim down if I want people to think I’m cute.  Therefore, it’s diet dog food for me:

Weight Watchers for dogs

Weight Watchers for dogs

Can you tell how embarrassed I am?

Luckily, as a consolation for the diet dog food, she let me eat some Dutch cheese and cuddle with her.

Cuddle-time!

Cuddle-time!

Cheese from Amsterdam

Cheese from Amsterdam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t win ’em all, I suppose…

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Birds of Tanzania

The other day I found a feather in the yard and it got me thinking about all the different types of birds that live in Tanzania.

Finding a Feather

Finding a Feather

One of my main duties at our house in Mwanza is policing the yard and protecting it from all the birds.  This is quite the task since there’s so many darn birds everywhere all the time.  When I was younger mom used to be afraid that the hawks would scoop down and get me (she even contemplated making me wear armor outside, which never happened, thank God.  Besides she’s already put me in enough embarrassing outfits for a lifetime).

I'm just glad this wasn't me

I’m just glad this wasn’t me

Dog armor

Dog armor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you all know, I’ve put on weight and those birds could never lift me now, so I can police in full-body freedom-of-movement!

Protecting the yard from the big bird above

Protecting the yard from the big bird above

This is what the big guy looked like close up.  These are also the most common birds that I see.  Being a dog, I don’t know the proper name for it, but you don’t need those kind of specifics when you’re protecting the yard.

Trespasser!

Trespasser!

Recently, mom showed me some photos of other birds that live in Tanzania, but which aren’t found in the ecological niche that is my yard.  It made me very grateful that I’m ONLY dealing with the big hawk bird and not all those other scary winged-creatures.

Why is it a bird if it can't fly?

Why is it a bird if it can’t fly?

I wouldn't want to meet this guy in a dark alley at night

I wouldn’t want to meet this guy in a dark alley at night

And with those feathered monsters in mind, I think I’ll run off with my yard-father and play!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Doxie-Pin in Northwestern Tanzania: Quantitative and Qualitative Results

My mom has been hogging the computer for over a week now working on a poster for the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston.  Her title is, “Cryptosporidium spp. infection in breastfeeding mothers and their HIV-exposed or unexposed infants in a peri-urban community in northwestern Tanzania”.  BOOOORING!!

I decided to show mom how it’s done and make my own poster for EB.  Guess how long it took me?  30 minutes!  Boo-ya!

 

Slide1

And that’s how you make a scientific poster.  Wham, bam, thank you ma’am!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Love Letter to My Brother-from-Another-Mother

Dear Twiga,

Where do I start?  You are my brother, my best friend, and my partner in crime and now you are gone.  Mom tells me that I’ll see you in just 2 months time, but that is ages in our animal lives.

You came to me in August on Nane Nane Day in Tanzania.  I will forever remember you as my Nane Nane Twiga (and it’s also extra special since eight is mom’s favorite number, clearly we were meant to be).  When you arrived, I was the first to find you and boy were you ugly!  But I loved you anyway.

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

I’ve had your back since the very first day and you’ve had mine as well, that’s why we make such a good team.

And you've got mine

And you’ve got mine

I've got your back

I’ve got your back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We do everything together, and you’ve taught me how to share.  We’ve shared food:

Sharing is caring

Sharing is caring

Are you going to eat that?

Are you going to eat that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve shared a bed:

But, then I really liked it

But, then I really liked it

At first I was skeptical...

At first I was skeptical…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we’ve shared clothes too:

Rockin' out

Rockin’ out

You were there for me on my First Birthday when mom wasn’t even there.

My Birthday Party

My Birthday Party

You’ve kept me entertained

Adventure Kitty

Adventure Kitty

Climbing kitty

Climbing kitty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And best of all, you taught me how to love someone other than mom.

 

Bath time

Bath time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cuddle time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone here already misses you, including Agatha, Eddie, and the Maasai.  The Maasai is super excited to keep this photo of you two since he misses you so much.

You and Akwi, our Maasai friend

You and Akwi, our Maasai friend

 

Oh, and here’s a warning: America is really, really cold.  You can’t even imagine how cold it is, even more cold than when it rains here in Mwanza.  A tip to beat the cold, hide in the oven, but make sure that servant Colin knows you’re in there!

 

The oven is warm

The oven is warm

I miss you Twiga, more than I can put into words (or into barks or meows either).  I’ll be there just as soon as I can and then we’ll conquer America just like we did Tanzania.

Love,

Your Brother-From-Another-Mother Tito

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Guest Blog: Twiga “Coming to America”

"What games do ya'll play in Africa? Chase the monkey?"  Well, actually, yes, we do.

“What games do ya’ll play in Africa? Chase the monkey?” Well, actually, yes, we do.

Hi, I’m Twiga, the Cat (I’m sure you all remember me) and that’s me on the left.  I look like one cool, average American guy, right?  And you know why?  I just came to America – just like Eddie Murphy in “Coming to America“!

Like Eddie, I’m an African prince (all cats are princes, in case you didn’t know) who left my home to see what this America place is all about.  (On the right is my servant Colin, naturally portrayed by Arsenio Hall).

But you’re probably curious how a little ol’ Tanzanian street cat like me made it all the way to the US.  Well, sit right down and let me tell you my tail.  It all started in one of these:

In the cat carrier in my Tanzanian home

In the cat carrier in my Tanzanian home

STILL in the cat carrier at the Mwanza Airport

STILL in the cat carrier at the Mwanza Airport

Yup, you guessed it, still in the cat carrier at the Dar es Salaam Airport

Yup, you guessed it, STILL in the cat carrier at the Dar es Salaam Airport

My temporary home from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam.  As you can see, I tried to make the best of it:

Cat Nap!

Cat Nap!

The best part was no one made me go through security, so I could have smuggled out all the catnip and street mice I wanted.  If only I’d known!

I was kind of enjoying myself, but in Dar I had to say goodbye to my Sarah (who calls herself my mom now).  She made kind of a big deal about it, but I was pretty cool, because I’m one cool cat, remember?

On my next flight, I had my servant Colin stow me under his seat.

Stowed

Stowed (in a tiny black bag)

By the time we got to the Ethiopian airport, I really needed to get out, so servant Colin let me wander around this phone booth for a few minutes.  I wanted to call and let my dogs in America know I was coming, but servant Colin was having none of it (Plus, he said that the charges from Addis Ababa to America would be exorbitant even though I’m a prince).

Chillin' Addis Ababa Phone Booth Style

Chillin’ Addis Ababa Phone Booth Style

Next we had this really, really, really, long flight to Washington, D.C.  Every 5 hours or so, servant Colin took me to the airplane bathroom so I could keep trying to get in the airplane toilet.  I just don’t see why this is such a bad idea.  I needed a bath, plain and simple.

But finally, after 17 hours on the same plane (that’s 119 cat hours, mind you), we arrived in Washington, D.C.  Servant Colin was a little nervous about Customs, but they didn’t even look at my papers.  The joke’s on them!  There’s no telling what I brought with me!  You’ll be reading about it in the papers soon enough, just you wait and see.  I’m looking good now, because I clean up well, but just months ago, I wasn’t looking nearly so fly.

After

After

Before

Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just like that, I became an American citizen and a hero too – like George Washington or Shaquille O’Neal or the American flag!

My first impression of the US was this place called Starbucks.  It must be a new thing because I’ve never heard of it.

Still in that darn tiny black carrier

Still in that darn tiny black carrier

My first experience walking around the US was this family airport bathroom.  Naturally, I tried to climb in the toilet again (one wants to be clean to make a good first impression), but servant Colin advised me not to.  Not cool, servant boy.  Not cool.

Stare-down with servant Colin

Stare-down with servant Colin

And after one more short flight, I arrived at my new temporary home – Charlotte, North Carolina.  Though maybe now, it’s a bit more North Catolina!

Now that I’m an American, I’m going to take up some new hobbies.  First of all – I want to call this Miss Cleo lady – she seems really smart.  I need to start eating a lot more fast food and I’ll have to ramp up my gun collection pretty fast.

Of course, some things never change:

Charlotte

Charlotte

Mwanza

Mwanza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, I’m sure someone will be interested in this Kenyan birth certificate I have for some guy named Obama.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 6.20.14 PM

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my emigration tail.  Now I must begin my endless pursuit of the American dream – starting right here:

IMG_0864

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Mom Went on Safari (Again) And…

She says I am the wildest animal she has seen in the past 3 days.

I'm a wild man

I’m a wild man

See for yourself on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AurGHVtjNiM

But then again, mom showed me some of her photos and a video of all the animals she saw (BTW, what kind of mother goes on safari and doesn’t bring her favorite son?) and I’m seriously wondering if she’s the crazy one.  I mean, look at these creatures:

Simba

Simba

Chui

Chui

Tembo

Tembo

Nyati

Nyati

Ngiri

Ngiri

Pundamilia

Pundamilia

Twiga (like my kitty cat!)

Twiga (like my kitty cat!)

And a video to boot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23H-A1hIjWc

So who’s REALLY the wild one?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Security Update

Following on mom’s harrowing mugging experience, we’ve continued to take security at our house even more seriously.  Mom lives in constant fear, which is really hard for me to watch since I love her so much.  It’s funny, here in Tanzania, people are more afraid of me than they are of her.  I mean, I suppose I do have big teeth and four feet with claws, but COME ON people.  Mom weighs like 54kg and I weigh like 8kg.  But, whatever works when it comes to security, right?

So, my friend Colin came to visit last week and he brought us some signs to put on the gate.  I’m pretty proud of these signs because they officially make me a guard of the house!  Look and see what I mean:

English

English

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Swahili

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve got them in English and Swahili and there’s also a picture of me looking really mean just in case the burglar can’t read (Side Note: only about 60% of people in Mwanza can read so this was really smart of Colin to include a picture).

It was a team effort making this Security Improvement.  Colin and the Maasai guard worked together to complete the task:

Colin hanging the Swahili sign

Colin hanging the Swahili sign

The Maasai hanging the English sign

The Maasai hanging the English sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I practiced showing my teeth while the humans hung my signs.  I look really scary, huh?

TEETH (and tongue)

TEETH (and tongue)

So to all you loiterers, thieves, burglars, and other bad guys take a second, look at our signs, and STAY AWAY!

Bad Guys Beware

Bad Guys Beware

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Mama-Q

So what the heck’s a Mama-Q, you ask?  It’s a Tanzanian BBQ with only girls (I was the token boy, but I’m actually more of eunuch so I didn’t ruin the “Mama” vibe).

Mom’s got some awesome new Canadian friends and I’ll admit I’m crushing hard!  Look at this group of girls, they’re pretty great, no?

That's a fun looking group of Canadian girls (plus mom)

That’s a fun looking group of Canadian girls (plus mom)

The Canadian girls decided that they would test out their barbecue and invite a gaggle of women to enjoy the feast.  Mom made a giant salad, while Kate, Susan, and Shannon made burgers and hot dogs, along with plenty of freely flowing Shantinis!

We started off the afternoon with some cocktails and I even got to sit right at the table with the girls.  I wore my best BBQ tank top after all!

Mom and I enjoying our drinks

Mom and I enjoying our drinks

Later, I had to help mom and Kate start the barbecue since these are manly things.  Here I am supervising the cooking of the meat.  What would they do without me?

I love me some meat

I love me some meat

And finally it was time to eat.  Of course, being the token man, I feel I did the bulk of the work, therefore I deserve the bulk of the meat, right??  Apparently, women don’t use this same logic so I had to rely on my charming looks in order to procure a tasty morsel of meat.

Gimme, gimme!

Gimme, gimme!

And you know what?  That meat was yummy!  Bravo Kate!  I approve.  Please invite me to your next Mama-Q, I promise, you won’t regret it!

Yummy in my tummy

Yummy in my tummy

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.