“Let’s wander over to the Waterfront and take a look round the shops.”

It was January 7th 2005, the sun was shining down gloriously on Cape Town and so far the New Year was proving to be a belter. I choked on my croissant and spluttered inelegantly as my still hungover brain tried to dissect the facts:

  1. Yes – looks like my husband of 25 years
  2. Yes – the tea’s strong with little milk, just as he likes it
  3. Yes – it’s the same guy I woke up beside this morning
  4. No – he can’t have suggested we go shopping. Not in a trillion years

This was the prelude to a surprise shopping trip. This is my story of Why Tanzania?


If you expected facts and figures as an answer then I have let you down but these are easily obtained with a little research. Here is one fact that shocks and saddens me, but it is NOT my answer to Why Tanzania?


            Back to the primary answer!


            After nearly choking me on my croissant, Den proceeded to make good on the strange and somewhat Stepford Husband-like comment re shopping and we set off to The Waterfront.  I gallantly walked alongside him pondering possible ulterior motives; I noticed we were passing the clothes shops etc. rather quickly.  I made a hesitant enquiry re this.

“Oh no.” He announced calmly, his step never faltering. “Not that sort of shopping.”

OK now we have it, I knew there would be a catch. Seething and anticipating some obscure cricket related purchase, I stopped at the foot of an escalator and demanded to know exactly what sort of shopping we were doing? Den didn’t stop and was a third of the way up when he turned and casually announced.

“Diamond shopping of course. We’re in Cape Town, what else would we be shopping for?”

During the course of our 32 year marriage I was the surprise maker, I organised the birthday trip to Amsterdam, the surprise 50th (what a night that was)! Surprises were not Den’s forte. However, when he did decide to surprise me, boy did he ever surprise me! He’d arranged a tour of a diamond centre.

The solitaire from my much loved engagement ring had been lost on a busy Mother’s Day many years before when I had been the G in a business enterprise called G and B Flowers. At the end of a very long but successful day I had noticed the loss of the stone and despite many bags of flower stems and other assorted rubbish being tipped out and sifted, there was no sign of it.

The tour was interesting and the sales pitch slick, I was immediately distracted and entranced by the look of and story behind the beautiful deep blue stone called Tanzanite. Tanzanite is described as a rare and precious gemstone with a single known source in Tanzania. It was only discovered in 1967.  There are many tales and legends surrounding this beautiful stones’ discovery but they all talk of magic fire and lightening. My recent research has spawned some great story ideas so this topic will appear again I am sure!


Back to my answer to: Why Tanzania?

When I lost Den I knew I needed a focus in my life and the idea of voluntary work quickly took hold. My friends and family were immediately supportive and for this I will be forever grateful. I knew I wanted to go to Africa but there are so many African countries where volunteers such as I can go and help. How to select a country?

A chance meeting with someone who currently works extensively in Africa and has done so in many of the various countries, directed me to what he described as being “soft options”. IE: being in a stable and peaceful environment.  He recommended three or four countries but I didn’t take notice of any of them after I heard the name Tanzania. That was it, decision made.

Until next time my friends. Xxx


9 thoughts on “Why Tanzania?

    1. Pure sentimentality because of my husband having bought me a tanzanite engagement ring!!!! It sounds a great country and lovely people i can’t wait, you are tight I do feel privileged to be able to do this.


  1. Thanks for sharing Gill, what a lovely memory to hold on to. Don’t go looking for any Tanzanian Devil’s while you are out there. Take care, good luck and enjoy yourself. I will be waiting for your updates. xx


    1. Bless you as always Adele for your support. Found my travel journal over the weekend so can continue my usual habit of recording my thoughts, events etc daily. It was the journal gave me a lot of the detail for this post!!


  2. How wonderful Gill, and GREAT reason to pick Tanzania as your voluntary choice. I will be thinking of you! Kepp updating us all, please 🙂 xx


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