Friday, June 01, 2007


I have been jolted into action by speaking to an old friend, who lives in the closest large town to here, Nampula (only 450km away, that’s close by Mozambican standards) who tells me she reads my blog. I am always surprised to hear that someone is reading my blog as I tend to assume that my readership is limited to about half a dozen friends and relations. So for all of you out there who read in total anonymity, hello! Good to have you on board.

It seems that almost nothing has been going on since I last posted, but as my life is hardly a whirlwind of excitement and action adventure at any time, there’s surely enough to ramble on about for a bit. (Doing quite well so far, after all.)

In no particular order:

I went to Ibo. I tried out the eco-loo. It is a dual-vaulted dry-composting latrine. Google that and you’ll get all the info you need (and more). I’m glad to report that it seems to work perfectly, especially the tricky urine-diverting pedestal which I had my doubts about. (Google it, I tell you, if you really want to understand.) Underwhelming as this may sound to most of you, it’s actually quite exciting for me as a) it is the first of its kind in the Park and b) if it really works it could be an excellent solution to a serious public health problem on Ibo and elsewhere and c) I found out about it and I had it made. If you want to experience it for yourself, you must request Marta’s house in the Ibo homestay programme.

Joaquim drew a picture of a crocodile. It was actually recognisable. This is noteworthy because his drawings have not been representative until now. Except for one excellent self portrait: we are talking a circle, legs of sort, some kind of features and tufts of hair over his ears which we had pointed out to him after he went to have his hair cut but refused to let the barber clip around his ears (he HATES having his hair cut, shivers and cries, poor thing, but then recovers immediately).

Continuing the theme, I cut Sebastian’s fringe because it was getting into his eyes. He fidgeted, I snipped carefully but decisively, we got an entirely deliberate (ahem) trendy asymmetrical look. Fortunately at this age it doesn’t matter as he is absolutely gorgeous anyway, but I have made a mental note not to cut his hair beyond his second birthday if I don’t want him to hate me for life.

Paulo has started exercising regularly. This shames me (I can’t, I won’t, if I don’t have time to sleep when am I supposed to go running?!), so I tease him that it’s a knock-on from his 38th birthday. None the less it’s entirely admirable. Joaquim likes to copy some of the exercises. Which is entirely hilarious.

Our house grows. Door and window frames going in, roof beams being raised, walls soon to be plastered. Still a huge way to go, though. I am travelling to Nampula to buy pipes, bathroom fittings, light switches, tiles and the kitchen sink (those paying attention will now know how far you need to go to buy decent construction material in Pemba) this evening. I am flying down and driving back up tomorrow. I am not taking Sebastian as it will be much easier to do all this without him. This momentous decision may have several unfortunate consequences. If he has a bad night and does not find a ready boob to comfort him, Paulo will have a truly horrendous time of it. I foresee wailing and screaming and possibly waking up Joaquim. I may suffer from distressingly engorged breasts, from missing a night-time and a morning feed. It may sound funny but anyone who has ever breastfed will be able to tell you how painful it is. And not a Savoy cabbage in sight. And then I may suffer from guilt, for having made Sebastian wail and scream and for having made Paulo spend half the night trying to soothe him and for having disturbed Joaquim’s sleep and for, what else? Guilt is an intrinsic part of parenthood, and as I do quite well in smothering it most of the time this is a perfect opportunity for it to get its own back.

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At 3:19 pm, Blogger swisslil said...

1. Joaquim, a representative crocodile? The bar is raised.
2. "a urine-diverting pedestal" - is that a euphemism?


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