Friday, 21 December 2018

Bagamoyo, Tanzania

I am sure you have read so much about Zanzibar when it comes to travelling to Tanzania...I have spent the year here and have found different parts that deserve a lot of attention. This country is beautiful and there is infrastructure for tourism to thrive. When people ask me about travelling to Nigeria and West Africa, I tell them that there is a lot to do but we have some catching up to do compared to East African countries. West Africa is more about the culture and the people.

My latest discovery was a town called Bagamoyo. It is on the coast and is about 63km from Dar es Salaam.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Mtwara, Tanzania

I visited Mtwara this week and was pleased to discover this part of Tanzania.
Mtwara is in the South of Tanzania and it is far more developed than I imagined it would be.

If you have followed news on Tanzania recently, you may have seen that cashew nuts was in the news a lot. The nuts are mostly produced between Mtwara and Lindi. As we drove here, there were cashew trees all over. There are big cashew farms. Surprisingly, all the Tanzanians I was travelling with had never eaten cashew, only the nuts. Tanzania is one of the biggest producers of cashew nuts in Africa and it adds a percentage to their foreign exchange.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Perception, Expectation and Reality

I recently had a conversation with a friend about perception, expectation and reality. It seems like people tend to be influenced strongly by other people's perception of them and this leads them to behave in certain ways.
The fact that sometimes people perceives you in a certain way does not mean that you are necessarily that way. On the other hand, one person's perception of you could influence other people's perception of you even before they have the chance to ever know you or meet you.
I am an advocate for creating impressions for yourself. A person's feelings or experiences do not have to be mine so I prefer to form that for myself.


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Dijon, France

When most people think about visiting France, the first thought is usually Paris. Why not?
Beyond Paris, it's worth noting that there are many other places to see in France.

I visited Dijon for the first time and found it to be a charming place. La porte Guillaume is a historic monument leading to into old Dijon/the city centre. The arc has a significance of freedom for the city and it is from as far back as the 18th century.
 Once you walk past the arc, this is the view.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Strasbourg, France

I visited Strasbourg in 2014 and was excited to go back this year. The last time I visited, I hardly documented my trip. We were so excited and all over the place. We woke up tired each day but kept moving. This time, I knew to take it easy as I was not going to have time to rest on my return.
I arrived on my birthday and my friend (Vivian) and her husband being the amazing people that they are, had their friends over to make my day.
13.10.2018
Vivian knew my arrival time so she, her husband and their baby were at the train station to collect me. When her husband swooped me into a big hug saying happy birthday, I knew I was going to have a great day. She was so excited that her husband beat her to wishing me a happy birthday.
As we got home, seeing my photos on the door and the effort they had put into welcoming me warmed my heart.

As we walked in, the smell of food was everywhere, she was cooking up a storm while he gladly ran all the errands.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Not all Nigerians fit the stereotype

I visited the Nigerian High Commission in Dar es Salaam today to get a letter of introduction for the Tanzanian authorities for work. Going by stories I had heard of how bad Nigerian Embassy/HC staff could be, I went there with no expectations. 


At the front desk someone was chatting so loudly across with a guard in Swahili, so they were both obviously Tanzanian. When a Nigerian staff came to attend to me in the waiting area which was in the same room/hall, I could barely hear him as these people were yelling. I looked up in shock wondering whether I was in a market place or an office. I told him I could not hear him and looked towards the front desk as if to say, ask him to keep his voice down but he made light of the situation by saying he is like a Nigerian now. I know we could be loud but in an office, this was not acceptable. And for someone who was sent from Nigeria to represent his country in another country to accept this, it shocked me a bit. I wondered if that was what he was taught from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

My first Safari in Kenya

Sometime in 2013, I went to Kenya for the first time. It was an exciting trip. The plan was to go on Safaris then end up on the coast.
I watched a film called 'The Ghost and the Darkness' recently and a flash of the Tsavo eaters story came back. I remembered that this was mentioned by Amani, our tour guide, at one of the parks but I don't know if I paid much attention to that story. This was a reminder that I hadn't written about my 2013 Kenya trip.

On the day we were to fly out of Abuja, we were sitting at the airport waiting for our flight when we saw the news of the West gate mall attack break. As frightening as it was, we were not going to change plans.

When we got to Nairobi, I stayed with my uncle and his family for 2 days in before leaving on Safaris.
It's been 5 years, my cousins are all grown up now

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Beaches and snorkeling in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Please read my previous post on how the trip started 😊

While I was looking for a hotel, one of the things that caught my attention was the fact that the owner has a private boat and the reviews I saw talked of how much it was a delight to have a private boat which would provide the flexibility the guests needed.
I mentioned this to the other ladies and everyone was happy with it + there was a variety of options of things to do. Snorkeling was top on the list, then an evening boat ride to watch the sun set.

This watch tower was in between our hotel and the turtle aquarium

Our amazing guides

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Finding spices, tortoises and doors in Zanzibar, Tanzania

There has been so much hype about Zanzibar, but at the same time, a few people weren't particularly thrilled. 
Being in the country, I knew I had to visit so I planned a trip with my sisters and three friends.
I seem to have written more on Tanzania than I have on any other country, here are some of the links. This was my first post then I did a bit in Kigoma. The next one will give you my general impressions and of course I went on a safari. Do check all the posts out when you have a chance.

We spent two days in Dar es Salaam catching up and me showing them the few places I know. Some of the places we went to were Cape town fish market, we all loved the food.

Cape town fish market overlooks the ocean

We watched the sun set, look at that sky line

Thursday, 13 September 2018

My 'what just happened?' moment

When last did you have one of those 'what just happened?' moments? The type that leaves you feeling cheated! That was exactly how I felt a week ago! I'll tell you all about it...

Each year, I try to make friends from different ages, different places and different walks of life. Older, younger, my age. We could easily lose touch with the way different generations think and feel like our way is the only way. So I keep friends from different ages, this helps me understand trends, new language, get wisdom, be crazy etc... This year I have not done very well with that.

Well, a young man followed me on instagram and started to send me messages asking to meet me. I didn't think anything was out of place. I looked through his profile and saw that he was indeed young. One of the days I had time for him, we had a brief chat...it was like I made a mistake. From then on, he wouldn't let me be. He was asking to meet as he wanted to be friends. Our lives are out there on social media anyway, and just about anybody can reach out to us. I told him I would let him know when next I would be in Dar es Salaam. I was in Dar a few times but my time there was always busy so I didn't have time to meet him.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

What would you like to be remembered for?

A friend and I were talking about how there is so much stress and toxiciy in different work environments. Also about how many people do not know how to set limits to when work should be done. It almost seems like long hours = productivity. I do not agree with this as I do not take for granted the role that rest and self care play in the human body. My approach is, if people are paid to work for a certain number of hours, they should pack in as much as they possibly can within those hours instead of spending unnecessarily long hours struggling.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Where is my ogbono soup?

If you live outside your home country, you would know the craving of food from home that comes every now and then.
I had one of those cravings over the weekend and cooked up a storm. I made different sauces, what we call soups in Nigeria. I made ogbono (irvingia) and egusi (melon) soups. With satisfaction I packed it all in bowls, each bowl enough for two servings, and put them away in the freezer. It has been four months since I had any of these delicacies.

My mother, bless her, by now is used to her children moving away from home every now and then. She is always ready to pack some Nigerian food stuff for us to move with. When she was doing her job, I kept telling her how the food she was packing was too much. She packed it anyway and packed my suitcase for me :-) On days when I have the craving for any of these food items, I am thankful for her wisdom. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Alone with your thoughts...

On days when doubt and uncertainty drown your thoughts, search those thoughts and choose to remember the areas of your strength.

When hope seems far and all you can do is wait, that is the time to draw on all the will power you can muster to keep going.

For every time you remember your shortcomings and want to dwell on them, cast your mind back to all your successes and cheer yourself on.

At the time when life's answers elude you, never forget that nobody has the manual on how to navigate this puzzle called life.

If loneliness creeps in, become your own best friend. Having to rely on others for your emotional well being may not be sustainable as each person has his/her own burden to carry.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Loving a child

How would you react if you were told that your child did not have very long to live?

I had a conversation with a 12 year old boy who doesn't have very long to live, he is suffering from a terminal illness. He was such a lively and intelligent boy. I can't put how I was feeling into words, it was hard. Looking at this child who knew he was ill but was a joy to be around nonetheless, left me with so many thoughts.I don't know how I would feel or how I would react if he were my child. 
From speaking to parents, I hear all the time how children give them a whole new meaning of what love is and I know that is true. I have held peoples babies in my arms and fallen in love with them, I'm trying to imagine my own.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Pasta in tomato and cream sauce

I needed a quick fix for lunch so I made pasta with tomato and cream sauce. Here is how I made it.

Total cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
5 tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
4 onions
1 clove of garlic
Fresh parsley
500ml fresh cream
Pasta
2 table spoons of butter
Olive oil
Sausages

Seasoning:
Oregano
Italian herbs
Salt
Black pepper

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Safari in Ngorongoro Conservation Area

There was a public holiday to mark the Eid Al Fitr celebration so we left Kibondo 😊

We went to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. There was a volcano that erupted then collapsed on itself leaving the crater behind. It is vast, beautiful land. The conservation area has a free range part where animals roam freely, to get to the crater, there is a descent which the safari trucks do.



The crater is beautiful, isn't it?


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Zip lining in Kenya

When was the last time you did something you'd been hoping to do?
I did recently and it was so much fun.

I had seen a few posts of outdoor activities in Kenya so I did some research. I knew I had a trip to Kenya and wanted to take advantage of the weekend I would be there.
Most of the places I saw did not have what I was looking for at the time I would be there. I found The Forest and there was a wide range of activities.

I checked with a colleague in Nairobi for transportation but she was worried. It was far out of Nairobi and she said clearly that she would worry about my safety if I were to take a random taxi.The place is far and she would hate to hear that the car broke down by any chance. I asked her to check if I could get a trustworthy driver to hire for the day. She did and came back with good news. She was super helpful with planning things for me.
I asked her to call and make some enquiries for me, we found out that some activities were planned in a way that people would be grouped. For the day I wanted to go, I was put in a group and I made the payment.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Life in Tanzania


It has been five months since I moved to Tanzania for work. Discovering this country has been interesting, it is beautiful, it is a haven for nature lovers, the landscape is captivating. 
 
Before coming to East Africa, I was told that I would enjoy the hospitality in the region but I was also warned that I might find people to be slow out here.

Some of the economies in this region thrive on tourism and I have to say that they are good at it. There is everything needed here; picturesque scenes, beaches, safaris, the volcanic crater etc. They have done well to preserve these things.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Visit Spain and France, two amazing European countries by TheNorthernBoy


Guest post alert 😊 A post of mine is up on his website so I am doing likewise. Enjoy...

Visiting Spain or France for vacation? I have been visited both Spain and France a few times. So, I wanted to write a friendly post to share my thoughts on these two amazing European destinations.
lets look at their qualities;
Spain

Prices
  • The prices in Spain can be hit and miss dependant on location. For example, Barcelona is expensive and various other Spanish locations can be a world apart regarding price. It also, depends on the type of holiday you are going for.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

A Delighful Few Days in Kigali


I went back to Rwanda for a few days, but this time I only stayed in the capital as I went for a meeting. It was a quick trip but I was sure to make the best of it.

I went by road from Kibondo in Western Tanzania and it was an 8 hour drive. There are hardly any tarred roads in Kibondo so I was on bumpy roads for about 4 hours then close to the border, the road was tarred but had a lot of potholes so it wasn’t different. From the border to Kigali takes 3 hours and a half and the roads are good. There are parts that are rough but the road is good in general. The scenery for me was the best part. Rwanda is beautiful indeed. 

Monday, 23 April 2018

Circumcision and its relevance today

Three of us went on a morning walk a week ago. I won't forget this particular one for a while as it was a rather eventful morning.
We climbed Nango hill

Monday, 16 April 2018

Zaria Nigeria

Growing up, Zaria was peaceful and the ideal place to be. It had people from all parts of Nigeria and other parts of the world, especially in the prestigious university, Ahmadu Bello University. It is one of the oldest Federal universities in Nigeria. I won't go into the history...google is your best friend! *bite me!* This place is one I know like the back of my hand. I spent a good part of my childhood in this town.

Growing up on campus, this university was full of life! There were times I could not wait to be an adult like the students. They dressed up, had parties, shows, rags day and so many other exciting events. It all looked like good fun to my small mind at the time.


Friday, 13 April 2018

Grief

It plays on the mind.

When given room, it takes over and leaves you paranoid.

Amidst the hurt and the pain, people constantly ask the bereaved to be strong.

Bereaved people can easily fall apart especially when they are not allowed to grieve in their own way.

The feeling is horrible; a heavy head, a lump in the chest, bouts of weeping, inexplicable emotions constantly running through the mind. 

Self evaluation and even self-deprecation with the question of what else could have been done constantly haunt the bereaved.

Time they say will make it easier...

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Finding beauty all around Burundi

I went on a trip to Burundi in mid March and I just couldn't stop taking photos. The country has a beautiful landscape.
Hello Bujumbura
Like Rwanda, it is a country of hills. It was green and scenic, it's the rainy season so everything looked lush and nice.

People who remain in the capital might not get the chance to see the beautiful scenery in different parts of the country.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Exploring Kigoma, Tanzania

I was in Kigoma for four days and discovered that there was a museum. I had some time on my hands so the explorer in me got busy...
I called a taxi and set off to find it.I hear it is also straight forward going there by bus also. It was a fifteen to twenty minute drive from the Hilltop hotel where I was staying.

Kigoma is in North West Tanzania and is the capital of Kigoma region.

I read reviews while I was doing my research, there were good and bad reviews. I didn't have high expectations but I went anyway. 



Tuesday, 20 February 2018

An Exciting Trip to Portugal

My sister and I visited Portugal between the end of October and early November 2017.
Before we made the choice, I had three options - Hungary, Austria and Portugal. She chose Portugal and we were more than pleased that we went with that choice.
Around October, winter starts to say hello but Portugal was bright and sunny. My sister who lived in England at the time was so excited about the sun. Coming from Nigeria, I was pleased that the sun was not as hot!
We arrived Lisbon from London and were picked up by our super amazing host. We used CouchSurfing while we were in Lisbon. From our research on Lisbon, we saw that there was a lot to do. Having a local guide is always helpful and that’s one of the advantages of CS when I’m going to a city where I do not know anyone. From the minute he picked us up, we knew we made the right choice. He was warm, chatty and even took us around to see a bit of the city before driving home.

Friday, 9 February 2018

I broke a tooth...

I was chewing rice and bit on a stone, I felt my tooth break and next thing, I had a piece of my tooth on my palm. I didn't realise that rice here needed thorough washing as there are stones in them. I had only been here for a week when this happened. Oh, I learnt the hard way!
There is no dentist in Kibondo. Thankfully, there was no pain. I was due to go to Dar es Salaam a week from when my tooth broke so I would see a dentist then.

After looking in my mouth and doing some examination, the dentist told me the tooth was infected. It broke in a way that it could only be saved with a root canal filling. I had one of those years ago and it didn't end well. That tooth broke again and had to be extracted. She assured me that it would not be the case, as I would need to put a crown on the tooth to protect it.

Friday, 2 February 2018

The Ugliness of Domestic Abuse

I was going to write this as fiction which would have had additions and I would have had to make some parts not so bad, but what's the point?

I have a friend who was a victim of domestic abuse. For way too long, if I might add. When it started at first, she was shy to say so. Then it progressed, she was trapped in a cycle that she could not seem to get out of. I remember her reaching out to me one evening because she simply wanted to talk. One of the things she said that made my heart stop for her was "I don't like the person I have become and I can't seem to help it because I love him".

There is the danger of a single story but in this case, I unfortunately cannot reach the other party and have no intention to try. I am writing this with my friend's consent. Please note that there is so much that has been omitted for privacy reasons but this is the nicest of all the ugliness of that relationship. So here are some of the incidents she told me about as I remember:

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Unpleasant Travel Experiences




I was asked recently if I have had any bad travel experiences! I laughed at this question as I would be lying if I said all my trips always go smoothly. 


I will give two instances of some of my travel woes.

     In April 2015, my friend and I went to Thailand. I wrote about it here and here. We travelled with Turkish Airlines and the trip going was fine, but I can’t say the same about the return leg.

We sat in front of the noisiest set of passengers who seemed to be having a conversation with the whole plane. It made the 11 hour flight uncomfortable. At some point, they gathered around and I had a guy standing over me and adjusting and doing God knows what with his belt and zipper, Ugh! We asked them if they could keep their voices down at some point, but they quickly resumed their noisy chat. We hardly got any sleep.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Banana oatmeal cookies

I had a few bananas in my kitchen that I knew would not keep till the next day. I had to come up with something to do with them.
Most of the ideas that popped into my head were smoothies but I wanted to try something new so I looked online and here is what I found!

I didn't have all the ingredients, so I made do with what was available in my kitchen.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

My Jacob's Cream Crackers

These crackers are the truth! They have been my companion for years.

For the kind of work I do, I prefer eating something dry, devoid of any form of spices when I am out working on the field. I work in sometimes difficult terrains to navigate where bumpiness is normal as there might be only dirt roads.
I live on these crackers and apples (when they are available) on the field. I could find these easily anywhere in Nigeria. However, the last time I worked in another country, the 2 packs I took with me from Nigeria finished quite quickly as I was on the field much more than I was in the office.