Monday, September 17, 2012

Boys and their Wheels

We never had to encourage Townes to obsessively play with cars. When he was 6 months, an easy way to entertain him at the park was to turn his stroller over and spin the small wheels. And for the last month, Townes has been waking up and asking to go outside and bike.

This picture was taken by Marc-Gregor and I love how it captures the seriousness that Townes brings to his biking!

We had to return the balance bike to its owner when she returned from a few months abroad. It was a terribly sad day. Townes is now trying to master the bike with pedals which is no easy feat considering the terrain. He's had a number of spills and often needs a push when the training wheels get stuck. The other day, he fell on the way to school and was so upset that he was refusing to go any further. A man who was walking past came over and said in Swahili, 'Get up and ride that bike' and then he made a move to put Townes on his bike. Townes quickly hopped up and pedalled off!

Here he is with his biker gang (and yes, he is also really attached to that shirt, or any shirt with numbers because that means they're fast)

Understandably, Gus has been eager to get moving himself. Yesterday he stood up on his own for the first time and I imagine that wobbly steps are soon to be taken. We had a local carpenter make a walker for him that looks like the front part of a scooter. Gus can push himself around the yard which is helpful considering the number of times I have to give Townes a hand.

Yep, the Buckley Boys are on the move!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Family Photos

We attempted to have a family photo shoot this weekend....everything was in place:

professional French photographer- check
cool setting- check
good sunlight- check
happy children who don't have a fever- nope

I had imagined Marc-Gregor being able to get some fantastic shots of Townes just enjoying one of his favorite places to explore in Moshi- the old train station. But it just wasn't meant to be. Townes is feeling better now but Marc-Gregor flew out a few days after the picture.

Oh well, here are some highlights:

Townes rallied when Coy asked him to make his best bad guy face:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Adventure #2- Safari!

It's hard to believe it but my folks have already come and gone. Who knew a month could go so quickly? I'd already begun writing this post so I'll just carry on reporting the highlights. Chances are I can find a few photos to share in the 1400 that mom took!

So after another low-key week with Moshi outings and plenty of playtime, we decided to head to Arusha National Park to see what animals we could spot. We stayed the night at River Trees, a beautiful small hotel tucked into a forest. My mom has still not recovered from the excitement of our family being upgraded to the the River House where Prince Charles and Lady Camilla had stayed last fall.

Most people leave for safari as close to dawn as they can muster but there was no way we wanted to hurry out of that place!

We took our own car but hired a wonderful guide to come along. He wouldn't admit it but we saw these giraffes so closely to the gate that I think they must be planted there to thrill everyone at an early sighting!

The baboon troop was not far past them and did not seem to mind our presence at all.

The amazing trees were another highlight of the safari. Now that I've written that, I think it may just be a positive way of saying that we didn't spot lions or elephants! But we were quite happy to see zebras, impalas, buffuloes, warthogs, and a number of cool birds. Besides, we know what wild thing was the real draw for my parents:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lake Chala- a view from above

By now, Babu and Bibi have been here for 3.5 weeks. Their visit has gone quickly- an enjoyable mix of exciting road trips and low-key time at home playing with the boys. On each adventure, I've wanted to blog about it afterwards but now I have 2 witnesses to testify to the trouble of coordinating the free time to write with the availability of power and internet connection. At least now they know that we've not been avoiding them! One of my goals for their time here was to catch up on Viva Pierre while the boys were happily entertained so I'll just start now at the beginning of their trip

We spent the first week introducing my parents to Moshi and didn't leave town until that Saturday. Then we drove out to Lake Chala where friends of ours are building up a campsite there. For now you can rent tents and order food/drinks but the work is underway for an impressive dining hall and lodges. We enjoyed a barbeque lunch from the grill while Townes played with Tristan and then we hiked to the river beds. The climb down to the lake was a bit more than we wanted to tackle so we'll have to go back soon.

As an expert rock-thrower, Townes was eager to splash stones in the "Fanta colored" water!

Baboons surprised us later by playing near the campsite. And the picture below is of the elephant poo we saw on our hike. Just your typical outing in Tanzania!

Here's Dad relaxing with a Safari beer...he had threatened to arrive here wearing a true safari outfit with lots of pockets and my grandfather's pith helmet from his tour in India during WWII. This shirt is as close as he got to looking like an extra in Tarzan!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Kacey's Kitchen

Instructions for Mango-Avacado Salad

1.Pick some mangoes from the tree in your yard. You can probably gather enough from ground. Grab a lemon or two as well while you're outside.

2. Cut mangoes and avocadoes into nice chunks. Cut tomatoes a bit smaller and dice some red onions

3. Mix everything together. Squirt on your lemon juice and sprinkle some salt.

4. Attempt to serve as a salsa-style condiment but resign yourself to your husband eating it straight out of the bowl.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Snake Handling and Croc Wrassling

The Meserani Snake Park in Arusha (the big city about an hour's drive from Moshi) is a dream destination for a 3-year old. We went awhile back and Townes talked about it for weeks. He had big plans for holding a baby crocodile himself but that little guy thrashed about furiously when the guard was picking him up so Townes lost his nerve.

He was feeling a bit braver when the next opportunity to hold a reptile presented itself. This should be good practice for any upcoming church revivals in town.

Gus wanted in on the fun too!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Circle of Life

We just couldn't resist the Lion King shot from our balcony overlooking the Kenyan savannah last weekend.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Newest Buckley

Townes is in love.

Barney came to live with us last weekend when his family moved back to Germany. He is a cross between a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Boxer- he's huge! I have dreamed of having a big, old dog for years. I just liked the idea of skipping the hyper puppy stage and going straight to the lay around stage when a dog just wants you to scratch his head and refill his bowl.

Yesterday I overheard Townes say, "Barney, I love you so much. Now open your mouth so I can see all of your teeth." Yeah, it's probably a good thing that our starter pet is so agreeable. Now if only we could find a saddle so Gus could learn to ride.

Monday, April 16, 2012


So can we just pretend that there has not another big break in our blogging? Internet/electricity issues aside, I do have good intentions about staying connected to folks with ol' Viva Pierre- patience please! The following entry was written offline awhile back and I suppose it is also a reflection of how electrical issues direct our free time!

This picture is not as staged as it looks! I was reading it while Gus was falling asleep and then couldn't resist taking the photo. The book has been one of many that I've enjoyed over the past year with a setting in Africa. For a lady with a silly nickname and an even more outrageous perm, she is a stirring writer who has had some remarkable adventures. At several points when reading about her encounters with wildlife or interactions with elusive tribal people, I have thought, 'Wow, I want to go to Africa one day.'

Here's a list of others I've read this year-

Fiction listed in increasing order of gravity:
Baking Cakes in Kigali
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
Poisonwood Bible
Purple Hibiscus gets an honorable mention b/c I actually read it years ago and would highly recommend it

Charming memoirs:
Twenty Chickens for a Saddle
Esther's Story
Let's Not Go to the Dogs Tonight (also read years ago as a choice of my Memphis DAM bookclub, terrific)

Heartbreaking memoirs:
What is the What
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Non-fiction (Gosh, Coy's right...I probably need to read more non-fiction!):
King Leopold's Ghost
In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz

Any recommendations? My choices are primarily based on what I can snag from other people's bookshelves!

Friday, February 24, 2012

B-day Party

Using Pidgen Swahili with our gardener Gasto, I learned a few weeks ago that his 2 children had back-to-back birthdays coming up. (My dad's birthday is the day after mine and I've always felt that makes our b-days even more special.) When I told Gasto that I would like to make a cake for Veronica and Albert, I wasn't expecting much more than giving them a couple of presents and watching the kids play in the yard. However when people started arriving mid-morning and Mama Albert began cooking over the fire, I realized we had a bona fide party kicking off!
Need more proof?

Party hats!

Stroller Rides for all. Our double wide fits way more kids than a pony.

A cow made an unexpected appearance. When farm animals come crashing, you know your party is hopping.

The cake didn't hold up too well while we enjoyed a delicious meal of goat, roasted bananas, fried rice, bananas and Fanta. Note to self: butter cream icing may not be the best choice in Africa.

I was worried that I hadn't made enough until it came time to eat. Then Mama Flora cut the slices into bite-size pieces and the birthday duo fed each guest a bite. This was followed by each guest being given their own spoonful of ice cream! Do you know, it was surprisingly satisfying.

Gus didn't get any cake but he made a new friend!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mama Josephine's

We have so much to be thankful for about the community we have returned to here in Moshi. Within walking distance
from our home, I can stroll with the boys to a small grocery store (It has 4 aisles and I swear almost 2 of them are
taken up by really bad cereal knock-offs.), the international school and its wonderful playground, and Townes's
preschool. Mama Josephine is from Kenya and she opened this preschool in the fall. It is a delightful place for 2 1/2 to 4
year olds with an emphasis on play. Townes has been going 2 mornings a week and returning one afternoon for football club
and another for his Swahili lesson.

I've been impressed with the things that Townes has come home talking about and it is obvious that he enjoys his school and
classmates. For the next 6-8 weeks, Gus and I will have the chance to see a lot more of what goes on there. Mama Josephine is
traveling out of TZ to attend to some unexpected family situations and she has asked me to come in a few times a week to teach
so that other mothers will feel more at ease with her absence. Frankly, her helpers are completely capable of teaching but I've
agreed just to help maintain the positive atmosphere that she has built up.

This week's focus- oceans and the letter 'Z' which is being pronounced the British way, 'Zed' As if my dad's eyes hadn't already
rolled when he read football instead of soccer! Gus seems pretty content to go anywhere:

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Road Trip!

This weekend we decided to get out of town for the first time since Christmas for two reasons: to show our friend more of Tanzania
and to get some relief from the heat! Rakesh has made it into the Buckley record book as our first visitor and we have greatly enjoyed his company. Hopefully ten days of close proximity to the emotional roller coaster of a 3-year old has not completely turned him against the idea of fatherhood. Or at least it has been balanced out by Gus's continued sweetness.

Marangu was our destination without much in mind other than relaxing, swimming a bit, and enjoying a good meal under the stars. Marangu is known for being the base town for Kilimanjaro climbers and the Marangu Hotel was originally a coffee farm that was started in 1907. By late afternoon on Saturday, it was beginning to cool and we played some bocce ball on the lawn while hoping that the clouds would clear for a view of Kili. The next morning I pushed for a family photo and this was about as good as we could manage!

After breakfast, we hiked to one of the seven waterfalls in Marangu which now has a 'Chagga Musuem' with sculptures and stories from the biggest tribal group of northern Tanzania. Townes impressed us all by hiking on his own for about an hour and a half but no one was surprised when he wanted to spend the same amount of time throwing rocks into the water. Not everything changes when you move halfway around the world!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Karibu...have we met?

After four weeks, we are feeling much more settled into our new home and routines. There is so much to be thankful for. Coy is already quite busy at work but communication and vision are much clearer now that he is not an ocean away from the office and reliant on Skype. Townes had some health issues in our first week (namely, giarrdia and 2nd degree burns on his hand from our hip-level stove) but we are now all doing well and adjusting to the heat. Our house has come with a short list of things that need to be fixed but it is comfortable and ideally located for walking places with the boys. And our mangoes and papayas have just begun to ripen!

It has been wonderful to catch up with friends that we made from our time here a year ago. I have had a few awkward moments of staring and smiling at someone who is obviously trying to remember my name as well. I would have chalked this up to shared memory gaps if I had not overheard two of the ladies we knew quite well saying to one another, "Wait, was that Baba Townes? No.." I then pressed Anna and Christina to explain why they hadn't known it was Coy who had just greeted them and they confessed that it was hard to recognize us because we had grown so fat in America! Now I will admit that I consumed more ice cream and Chik-Fil-A than a gal should be allowed to under the guise of pregnancy cravings but I didn't think that I had been rendered unrecognizable! Later Coy told me that he has read that Africans rely on facial features like cheekbones and jawlines as their primary means of distinguishing/recognizing people.

(That being explained, a highlight in my first days here was walking down the dirt road near our home and hearing someone exclaim, 'Mama Townes!!' and finding Kembwa running over to meet Gus who was dozing in the B'Jorn.)

As I type this, the electricity has just blinked out so I won't be able to go online and post this until the morning. But that reminds me that we have also been quite fortunate to have had consistant water and electricity since we arrived- we'll see what 2012 has in store for teaching us about how not to take things for granted. I hope that the rhythm of writing on the blog will return to us. There are stories to share and we enjoy the thought that, by writing, we are keeping in touch with our beloved friends and family. We hope that your new year is off to a good start. Think of us and our chubby cheeks next time you flick on the lights!