Faithful Followers

I have been where I am now before. Not long ago. Twice.

Packing up
The smell of boxes is familiar and the sound of the hiss and strip of tape as those boxes are sealed is a noise that conjures recent memory. This is the third time in 13 months. Third time lucky. That’s what I say. We have covered thousands of miles in huge trans Africa moves. Now comes another.


We flew north. Collected the car. And drove south. Five days we zigzagged across Tanzania and into Zambia and we battled our way through the knotted mess that is Tunduma border, a flybitten, dustblown place where the trucks tail back five miles. A week it takes us, they told me, to pass through. It took us, with nothing on board but ourselves and our sandwiches, an hour and a half and two fixers.

Packing up2
Tomorrow, or the next day, we’ll turn around and head north again. Back through the flybitten, dustblown, heat sapped Hades that is the border, this time there’ll be more on board. And we’ll go further. Into Kenya, with the dogs, the cat. They are anxious and hunker nervously near me. The scent of boxes, the hiss and strip of tape, it all unsettles them. Do they remember what comes next I wonder. So often over the past year and through these moves, it has just been me and them. And so they follow me from room to room. Waiting patiently whilst I bath, watching whilst I swim, sleeping at my feet as I work and retiring to the bedroom when I do, arranging themselves in habitual patterns: Pili on the rug beside my bed, Scal curled a few feet away, the cat spooned into whichever warm crevice she can find around my sleeping body.

Patiently Waiting Pili
And so they will follow me north. And that’s a nice thought.


6 Responses to “Faithful Followers”

  1. Jackie Says:

    Coming home!! Has to be good! Safari Njema, and if you need a stopover, karibuni wote! Jx

  2. Was Living Down Under Says:

    Hello. I stumbled across your blog from Iota and Nappy Valley’s blogs. I have spent the last couple of days reading – like a good book that you can’t put down, I have stolen moments away from the children and the drudgery of housework to read.

    Your posts on living in the outpost were so fascinating. It’s a part of Tanzania that I have yet to see. I grew up as an expat in the middle east in the 1970s and 80s. It was only as an adult when I moved my own family to an expat life in Australia that I could appreciate the loneliness that my mum must have felt. Though really my situation would have not nearly been as lonely as hers, or yours.

    But it was your posts on home and what that means and the questions of “where are you from” that really resonated with me. I am 4rd generation east african as well. My great-grandfather came over on a boat from India and set up his shambas in Pemba and Zanzibar. Both my parents were born there and lived there until the revolution. Mums family left for Pakistan but the culture shock was too much and she returned a few years later and settled in Dar. We have since immigrated to Canada. Where am I from? Not an easily answered question!

    Best wishes on your new move. I look forward to reading all about it.

  3. Jana Says:

    Look in the eyes of that beautiful dog! All the love and trust in the world starring back at you. Good luck on the journey, all will be good!

  4. Addy Says:

    Good luck with the move (and unpacking all those boxes)!

  5. Mama D Says:

    Hi Anthea, longtime lurker and admirer wishing you well with your latest move and some well-needed peace and quiet when you are done with it! By the way, I just nominated you for a Liebster Award…for all your spare time of course. 🙂

    Mama D

  6. nuttycow (@nuttycow) Says:

    Oh blimey – moving is always so tiring and stressful, for everyone. I hope the move went/is going well and that you’re all soon settled down into your new home.

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