A good nightlight

We've been searching for a good nightlight for the boys' bedroom for a few weeks now. It's pretty dark here at night; although there are streetlights , the level of ambient light is much lower than in Boise.

On my birthday, Juana took me out to a great dinner and we noticed a really beautiful lamp. Juana found a local shop that sells similar, but smaller, lamps and they also had low-wattage bulbs. Eureka! The boys now have a beautiful glowing cheetah to protect them from the dark.



Today I got my birthday present, a fabulous countertop water filter/dispenser. Now I won't need to lug 5-liter jugs of filtered water home from school each day! (We prefer the filtered water, although our tap water is also quite drinkable.) Juana also gave me a small box of universal adhesive (along with a nice pair of round-tooits :-).

We had a small party with our staff and their families: Elizabeth, our housekeeper and nanny, her daughter Patience, and her grandchildren (Patience's children) Takudzwa and Tanai; Itai, our gardener, and MoreBlessing, his wife. The cake was pretty sugary (the kids loved it) and the ice cream was delicious.

It was a wonderful day!


Blooming views

Plants are starting to bloom, responding to the slowly warming days (here below the equator, the cool dry season is beginning to end). All around our property, beautiful blossoms and flowers are appearing...


Zesa (electric)

Electricity here in Harare often goes by the name of the company that provides it, Zesa. As in "oh, blast, Zesa is out again," or "Papi, do we have Zesa?"

It's not unknown to have Zesa for an entire day, but it's rare. More often, electricity will be off for some portion of the day. Entire days without Zesa are also rare, fortunately.

We do have a generator for when Zesa is out. It's a big diesel beast, quite noisy, but invaluable when we loose power just before dinner, for example.

To run it, we just turn the key, just like starting a car. The there's a switch in our breaker box that toggles between Zesa and the generator. (In the middle, labeled Z/Off/G. There's also a switch that activates a buzzer, so we know when the power is back on and can shut off the noisy beast (lower right in the picture).

We're getting pretty used to this routine; even William isn't much phased when the power drops any more.

On Friday, Michael had a sleepover at a friend 's house, so Juana and I had a nice dinner out. William figured out how to make a fairly stable hat out of his bread, which I didn't even know was possible. The other couple in the restaurant were quite amused.


Walking around

Walking around our area of Harare is interesting.  Almost everything below 2-3 feet is colored rust/orange, due to the dust.  Sidewalks are very rare, but there are walking paths along almost every side of every road.  Cars have no speed limit (so some go by pretty swiftly) but they seem (so far, at least) to be pretty considerate of pedestrians, and vice-versa.

My favorite part of the walk to school is the path just outside the school gates.  There is a double-line of tall firs on either side of the gate, so the final bit before school feels like the Forbidden Forest from the Harry Potter stories.  Fun! :-)


Fun day with new staff

Today the school took the new staff members to a local historical park called Dombashava. It's set around a giant rock outcropping in which historic cave paintings were discovered and are preserved. We hiked around, on and over, admired the cave and paintings, then headed back for lunch.

For lunch, we were taken to a restaurant on a small game preserve. After a fantastic meal, we walked out to see kudu, impala, zebra and I don't know what all. Up close (at least, as close as the animals felt comfortable with, which was plenty close).

A quickie tour of our house

Here's a quick visual tour of our new digs: