Wow I am truly immersed in the culture of Tanzania.

pole pole

It is January 12th before I approach my first blog post of 2015. Slowly slowly does it! Life here lives by the pole pole rule! However, in my defence it has been the craziest, busiest and most rewarding first twelve days of a new year that I can remember. I had jotted notes that form the base of this blog post and way at the top underneath 1st Blog 2015 are scribbled the words where do I begin? Where indeed.

I sat one on my terrace one evening smeared with repellent, defiant of the sunset mossies and biting things that so love my flesh, a cold beer by my side and my annual ritual laid out before me. The transposing of important dates from last years calendar to this years. As I smiled lovingly at the annual gift from a very special friend I wondered if I am the furthest flung follower of Slimmers World recipes? Every year I receive their latest calendar from Sheila and I love them and keep them all! I cannot get all the ingredients asked for but I do use the recipes as inspiration and adapt to Tanzanian ingredients.

This year I sat with the calendar open at January and I was overwhelmed with what those dozen pages represented. Twelve pages for twelve months, each one blank and waiting to be written.

Opportunity. I face 2015 thinking of it as an opportunity and that is a welcome 2015

I carry forward several writing opportunities, two novels, one short story under serious consideration for a UK magazine, one short listed in a very prestigious international competition. I carry forward the hopes and dreams for a brighter future of twenty or so Good Hope kids all of whom would love for us to weave our magic and secure them sponsorship for 2016. I carry forward the hopes and dreams of Mama Oliver to be able to resume her community support project and continue to support the sick and needy in Majengo, providing love and company and maybe the odd bag of rice.

Accepting and embracing that fact allows me to now, and only now, to reflect a little.

This time last year saw me (literally) with two new eyes courtesy of the removal of two cataracts, (don’t put it off it is a life changing and simple procedure). I was still volunteering at the Amani centre and had yet to meet “real life” and community squat toilets shared by at least six families and all the volunteer staff at Good Hope.

G and Me
We had fun – G and I

I was learning to share my home with a house mate or “roomie” as he had informed me as being the modern terminology. This was a big thing for me, I had never shared a home or my life with anyone other than my husband and our son. It was fun and now I am once more alone in the same house, the veteran of three roomies that have come and gone, all new friends and two of whom I am in contact with regularly.

February last year saw me open the first draft of my novel Finding Fadila and read it through from start to finish and recognise what needed to be done. The slashes of the red pen sword cut through whole sections, and the director’s clapboard screamed CUT for whole chapters, but it was good and I was proud to start the mammoth re write.


February this year plays host to the most significant anniversary of the year and will be marked and celebrated with the two words I yearn to write. THE END. I will write those words on February 2nd and my debut novel will be ready for the next stage of it’s inception and three years will have passed since I said goodbye. A significant date marked with a significant deadline, hope and dream.

As I filled in the blank spaces with those significant and important dates in my life I saw new deadlines and challenges being set for myself. I swapped the reflections of the past for the hopes and dreams of the future and each of these is underpinned by those significant anniversaries, each of which represents the tremendous love in my life. This year will see my three wonderful grandchildren grow into their 12th, 10th and 9th year, what exciting times lay ahead for them.

The three biggest and best gifts I have ever received


The month of August offered me reflections of how strange it was to be experiencing winter when all my friends were talking of BBQ’s and beach and sunshine. I didn’t enjoy that and had felt resentful of the cloudy sky and chilly weather. August this year is entirely circled  by green marker pen and is dedicated to those three wonderful gifts in my life. I will be in Norway with my family from the first to the thirty first and more either side.

Maddie and the boys -Skylar and Damien
Maddie and the boys -Skylar and Damien
 My proudest achievement in life My Boy - Paul
My proudest achievement in life My Boy – Paul
My Princess - Stephany Jade
My Princess – Stephany Jade







September through December this year have question marks. The future is not mine to see, but the preceding eight months are jam packed with challenges, hopes, dreams, expectations and excitement.

That’s enough for me to be getting on with and I am grinning like that proverbial Cheshire Cat as I sign off this post.

cheshire cat

Better late than never.





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