About Me

That I am a third generation Celt in Africa, means I am a Memsahib, like it or not. I’d rather be mama or dada (sister) or – especially – simply addressed by name. None would bear bloodycolonial connotation. But no, third generation and white, African logic (or quiet humour) dictates I am memsahib.

Reluctant because – like my grandmother and my mother before me – I do not believe one’s staff should be trussed up in uniform, I balk at their waiting at table and I never lock up the sugar. No, I’d far rather everybody wear what they want, motley and colourful as it may be, I’d hate anybody to wait on me, but especially somebody who mightn’t have had their own supper and everybody’s happier when their tea’s sweet enough.

I live here – in Tanzania – with my husband and our children, and – over the years – an assortment of dogs, cats, geese, ducks, chickens, cows, a couple of pigs (been and gone), an orphaned dik dik, numerous hamsters (eaten by assorted cats) and a hornbill that looked like a French tart.

Until a few months ago I lived on a farm within easy striking distance of one of the country’s busiest cities: easy striking meant day school, regular appointments with my hairdresser, lunches with friends and a perpetual battle with headlice which rendered me persona non grata in the school park.

But I now live in an Outpost of significant note, a place once famous as brief home to Dr Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley, a place remembered for its war time German architecture and prolific mango trees: testimony of the caravans of early slavers. My older children have had to be bundled off to boarding school a 12 hour drive away. No more lunches with the girls (instead I conduct expensive and lengthy telephone conversations which aren’t the same at all), my highlights need doing, my toenails aren’t nearly as pretty as they once were.  And if my children have nits, I’m too far away to know.

I write, I walk, I teach my youngest at home in lieu of a school run and I try not to mind being memsahib.


93 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Eileen Says:

    Hi anthea, love your blog, will get back to you soon on email, its all sooooo real reading it, brings it all back to grim reality!! Hope all well, will send you our news soon xxxx

  2. Tash Says:

    Well Helloooo!

    Just discovered your blog – hope you have it all copyrighted… surely eventually all this can be bound as one big best-seller… have only started at the beginning and making my way slowly through it… If I had the time I think I’d fancy doing one, but worry about plagiarism… don’t you?

    Keep note of the Froggie address and let us know if you’re coming over…

    French kisses!!!! Tash and Dave

  3. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    You flatter me. But thank you. Do begin a blog. I wish I’d started years ago. Such a brilliant way to record life’s trivia and such an inspiring way to try to record the mundane with a modicum of humour or colour if nothing else: keeping a conventional diary is all very well but the next generation aren’t going to learn much from my entries: ‘worked’; ‘pitched bloody editors’ and ‘had a walk’.

  4. Glen Says:

    dearest anthea i did not know about this site of yours! (is it a site? and what is a blog? i am new to these trendy terms). i love this – have you had the site copyrited? in case some bugger comes and publishes it all? and have you thought about buying the domain name for reluctantmemsahib (just checked still availbale as a dot com). costs about $8 a year to register. this blog thing of yours is wonderful. i will earmark it. much love glen

  5. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Hi Glen, Is it a site? I’m not sure. I’m very new to this. But a blog is a weB Log, sort of a diary online. wish I’d begun mine years ago . A couple of editors in recent months have suggested I begin a blog. They politely suggested it’d help improve my profile as a journalist but I suspect they were hoping it’d give me another channel for writing so that I’d give them a break and stop pitching endless stories. Well, now I have. And I love it: means that I get to write about Africa (the Africa all the eds said won’t sell) and because I’m aware that – if I’m lucky – others might read me, I try to be mindful to write as well as I can, and to entertain. Something I don’t do in conventional diary, ‘had lasanga for supper’ is hardly entertaining reading. Thanks for reading me x

  6. Fran More Says:

    Hiya Anthea : I was told about your blog by a friend in Kenya and she told me to get onto the site as it would make me giggle, and that I probably knew the person running it as it was from Tanzania. I thought it might be you, and so altho I have never been to a blog site before, I tried my luck, and here I am. I still didn’t know who it was, but saw “about me” and sure enough it was you. Such a great idea and now I can keep up with what is going on in Tz. I hope you will reply to me. I am still in England and have been here nearly 12 years. I would love to hear from you, but will keep on looking at your blog to keep my spirits up. What fun. Love : Fran

  7. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Hello Fran! Thank you for posting. How funny that you should have heard about my blog from somebody in Kenya; I wonder who. And how they heard about it … We’re all well. Been an eventful year but we’re coming out the other side almost intact! Please keep reading. And I’ll write. x

  8. cream Says:

    Great to know a little bit about you.
    I admire your principles!

  9. Fran More Says:

    Hiya Anthea : Just reading round your site. You do make me laugh. I was giggling hard at the description of you and the kids visiting the dentist down some dingy corridor and the posters!!!
    Where are you going to visit Anthony at his outpost? Dying to know. I was very sad about the trees on the farm. Where is the farm, and what happened. I tried to go back and read about it but I don’t think I can go back far enough. What a shame, but it does smack of Tanzania. We also had a nightmare. I would love to come back and have a look. Apparently I would hardly recognise it for the number of expats there, and the shops etc.
    Please write. Would love to hear from you, and do keep on blogging. Its SO funny. I intend to write a book if I ever get time, mostly about my time in Sudan, but other things as well. I know about being able to do “quiet” and have lived in some pretty amazingly quiet places where I shopped for 45 people once a year!!! and veg shopping and meat shopping was done on my verandah once a week.
    Keep your chin up. Am sure the outpost will be fine. Not sure about your big kids. Where are they going to board? They will love it, promise!! Speak soon. Fran x

  10. Fran More Says:

    The friend who told me about your blog site without knowing who you were is Jane Craig from Lewa Downs. She also found it great, and recommended it to me. Well done. I love it. Perhaps I should blog about being a Housekeeper to the Rich and Spoilt in the Home Counties and in the West Country in England. I could write a book on it!!!
    Fran xx

  11. April Says:

    Dear Anthea,

    We’d love you to list your expat blog on our new website, to help us build a great resource for all women living overseas.

    Please take a look at our site at: http://www.ExpatWomen.com.



  12. Tash Says:

    Just to let you know I am happy to take full credit for telling Jane Craig about your blog Anthea, and even before she’d seen it, she said oh I must tell Fran…. what a way to all link up… lovely to see Fran’s messages here too… Have now introduced Dad to your wondrous words!
    xx Tash

  13. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Dear April – I’d love to. But I’m too technically challenged to manage to submit, can I get some help here? sorry!

  14. Don/Mary Rooken-Smith Says:

    Anthea – we got your blog address from Heather recently. We are so sorry that your remaining time on the farm is being such a ‘pain’, but we enjoy your writing. Congrats. and ‘keep your chin up’ – things will get better.
    Salaams to you and the children and also to AP.

  15. Paula Says:

    Hi Anthea,

    I stumbled onto your blog by accident, and now I’m wondering who you are and where is this “outpost” you live in. I myself live in what sounds like a very similar situation in Tanzania and would love to correspond with you. I have just read your blog where your hubby tells you about the place, and it becomes clear that even running a house is a challenge. Yes, we also fly to do our grocery shopping, though thankfully reasonable wine is at hand in our local club! Please write as I would love a soulmate to chat to.

  16. louann Says:

    Thank goodness for Momblogs – I found yours! I spent 2 summers in Tanzania when my Aunt was working in Dar es Salaam with the UN-FAO. I have good memories of Tanzania.

  17. Hayden Says:

    Dear Anthea,
    I lost touch with Anthony last year and have failed to find a new contact for a while, until now!. Hope he and you all are well. Please ask him to send his new address.
    I have recently returned from Uk where Ashley turned 22 (remember that georgeous little 5 year old in Kunduchi all those years ago?) and graduated from Uni with BA with Honours in Design Engineering!! Sue came over from Canada as well so we had a bid family reunion which was fantastic for Ashley before she heads off into the ‘big wide world’.
    I have just read a few of your articles and will bookmark it for regular visits. I had no idea how talented you are or that you were / are a Journalist, Well done and keep it up!!
    Love to you all, Hayden

  18. motherlandinanotherland Says:

    Hi Anthea

    From one struggling writer to another … I love your blog! Hopeless at commenting as babies etc taking up my time but I am adding it to my new blogroll (finally got myself sorted and have a blog check it out – http://www.motherland1.blogspot.com (? can’t work out how to put a link in!)

    Good luck with your latest article! Which paper is it in?


  19. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thanks very much Georgie; that’s very kind. Good luck with the blog – and the babies!

  20. iota Says:


    Do you have an email address? I’m wanting to ask your advice about something, and not clog up the comments with it all. Mine is on the “my complete profile” page of my blog. Could you email me?



  21. tcb Says:

    Hi Anthea

    My Reluctant Writer, found at last in beautiful downtown Dodoma. With a swimming pool and satellite comms yet! Hope life is treating you Ant and the toto’s well – met your sister at the new Ocean Sports last week. New in that it has had an incredible make-over – loads of wow-factor. Food was excellent the beers cold – even a wide screen to watch the world cup. Could have done without that, East Africa’s coast is good enough without wide screen. She, your sister that is, told me all about your move, your blog (which I’ve briefly read and enjoyed) what’s with the kids etc.etc. and the three yet to be published books. We want oyu back, our readers want you back – oh come on Anthea – please!!! Send me e-mail address same…..xx Tony

  22. napatel Says:

    hi there loved yr blog. since long i am searching job in tan want tomove to tanzania

  23. Kristie Says:

    I so love this blog. I already bookmarked you and will be visiting back regularly!

  24. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thanks very much Kristie, that’s kind.

  25. John Bendel Says:

    We loved reading your blog especially about the recent trip – we are a family with 2 tweenie (11 & 13 year olds) who were in Tanzania and Zanzibar in January and fell deeply in love with the place. I guess this is boringly common now but it marked a real watershed in our lives. We have sinced organised 3 activities here to raise money to send to the Loliondo district through a Foundation. Anyway, we would love to make it back there and so I am asking for some inspiration – is it better to go out with an organisation, do a house swap or just get there and sort something out. Thanks for any help and keep on writing – you have a great talent. John

  26. reedeth Says:

    We are planning to live in tanzania for 6 months, but we are afraid of malaria for our 1 1/2 year old daughter and the side effects of malaria tablets on her…can you give more realistic advice on this? we want to explore the ocuntry but are afraid of the diseases, our child is still so young..

  27. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Reedeth: thanks for reading. You are right to be afraid of malaria: it’s a killer and a swift one: it takes the lives of thousands of African children every day. We do not take oral prophylaxis and never have because we live here and it is not recommended that they are taken long term. However we sleep under nets, and smother ourselves with mosquito repellent at night. Trying ot get your daughter into bed, under a net, before too late would be wise. Regarding drugs, however, I would speak to the center for disease control in the states or the hospital of tropical disease in london to get the latest advice on drug administration. Larium is known to have neurological side effects in anybody who has suffered from depression or similar and some can cause upset tummies or mouths sores until a tolerance is developed. Imperative to remember, though, that no oral prophylaxic is fool proof: as one doctor said to me, the only way to avoid malaria, is to avoid being bitten so nets, repellent and long pajamas. You can buy nets here which contact sachets of insecticide so that you can extend protection. know the symptoms of early malaria which are broad and can vary: any malaise ought to be treated with suspicion here and a blood test taken. good luck and enjoy your adventure.

  28. Anne-Marie Says:

    Hi Anthea,

    Loooooooove your blogs…. agree with the others…. should be copyrighted – makes a brilliant novel!

    Anyway, I am a 48 yr old (now single) mom, 2 grown up kids, lived in remote Sengerema for 2 months mid 2006, and returning to tanzania Feb 5th for 4 wks with a nurse colleague.

    Would love to meet you! – a break from your ‘routine’ perhaps? Can we set up email c’tion?

    This ‘reply’ window will not let me paste a photo of me in Tanzania.


  29. Alice C Says:

    Hi, I came to your blog via Carrie at Three Times A Charm? I spent time in Swaziland as a child and your description of the colonial way of life brought the memories flooding back. I look forward to reading your archive.

  30. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thanks for reading Alice C. How interesting that you lived in Swaziland as a child. have you read Richard E Grant’s book … didn’t he grow up there?

  31. bundublog Says:

    Great Blog, i really enjoy Tanzania, the people are great and mt. kili is a sight. I would really like to give more african’s a voice and blogging is a great tool for that – bundublog.com

  32. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Hi bundu, thanks. I agree: blogging a great voice and there are some fabulous African bloggers out there, especially those who lend voice to Kenya’s crisis in the midst of stifled media.

  33. Laksh Says:

    Nice to meet you. Its like a peek into a world familiar yet distant. Thanks!

  34. Anna Bruce-Lockhart Says:

    Just to let you know that, sadly, due to corporate reshuffling the Guardian Abroad website has been closed down. The blogs listings are no longer live, which means that if you had a ‘Review my blog on Guardian Abroad’ button or any links, these are now directed to the Guardian Weekly website.
    We’re very sorry for any inconvenience caused and would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your creative and much appreciated contribution to Guardian Abroad. Please come and have a look at the new site, and feel free to submit any ideas you have, either about the site or to do with ideas for articles.

    Thanks and best wishes,
    Anna Bruce-Lockhart
    Site editor

  35. julia bengough Says:

    Dear Anthea

    Flip Millbank suggested I should get in touch. Is this the right way?

    I am an old bird from England doing an impossible job with no training. I have been here for just over a year. Am about an hour out of Dodoma at a secondary school running the sponsorship programme there.

    Is there any chance I could come to visit you and beg a bed and sanctuary for a few days at Easter?

    Not at all sure how public this method is. Is there another email address for you?

    Hope you do not mind me being in touch direct.

    If all hopeless. Happy Easter.


  36. janelle Says:

    ANthea!!! LOVE your site…have spent the entire rainy sunday perusing reading laughing and crying….! so. when can i come and spend some time with you in Tabs? will bring guitar to play with Hats. Did George from the church band pan out? AM BEING SERIOUS! lots love x janelle

  37. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    darling Janelle, you are too too kind. anytime, come anytime. i am going to england in a few days, i think i mentioned? my mum is unwell. I shall collect my copy of shoot the damn dog whilst i am there; we spoke about it. but am in ars mid may. can i buy you lunch? thank you for reading. george was a dead loss. dear hat wept, ”my fingers are sore and all we ever do is learn the same song over and over”. she has been listening to dust angels this week; she was intrigued by you. xx

  38. janelle Says:

    mid may then!! YES! pole sana about your mum Anthea,..Travel safely and efficiently…like lets not read on your Blog went to england via dar kia zanzibar entebbe london and arrived 6 days later….we should not joke. This is not too far from a reality. did you hear the one about the man on Zambia Airways…? Its short so am going to fire away here.
    man checking in: I would like this bag to go to hong kong, this one to go to new york, this one to go to london, this one to go to paris and THIS one to go to Marakesh.
    check in person: um (pause pause) hmmmm…(awkardly) we can;t do that sir..
    man checking in: well why not? you did it last time.

    oh. anyway. i find that so funny everytime i hear it. not when it happens though…


    until may.

    safari njema
    lots love
    janelle (PS pole SANA too about george….aaargh, but bet Hat knows a song now! HAH! and thanks about the album…what a wonderful thing to know that i inspire someone like Hat! Honestly! THANKS! X)

  39. Deirdre Doyle Says:

    Hi Anthea,

    Am thoroughly enjoying your blog. It sparks many memories. I am a complete novice on computers having always been a total technophobe but Janelle [very patiently] gave me an initial lesson at New Year and now I am finding it very time-consuming. Sorry to hear that Lala ia unwell. Give her my love.

    Love – Deirdre

  40. Victoria Says:

    Hi Anthea

    I have just discovered your blog and I love it. You give such a vivid description of life in Tanzania in your outpost. I really clicked with your descriptions of meeting old friends, and finding you have so little in common any more. You meet as you said for the memory of what you had together but that is all. There are the rare exceptions who are the real friends, with whom you will always have something to talk about and feel comfortable. I suppose it’s the difference between friends and acquaintance. I’ll be a frequent visitor now that I’ve discovered you!


  41. storming Says:

    Hi Memsahib,
    really liked the blog! its down to earth! enjoyed it more as am a tanzanian but now working in qatar- really miss my bongo and came across yours by chamce as was searching for tanzanian blogs!
    am curious, why do u call yourself a failed domestic goddess?
    have a nice day, will you?

  42. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    hiya storming! thanks for dropping by. and i am glad you are enjoying my stuff, especailly that you are a tanzanian, hope it delivers a little bit of home to your screen. what are you doing in quatar? failed dg? I hate cooking and consequently do it all too quickly with scant referenc to the recipe book. my family are very long suffering. you too: have a good day.

  43. longlostfriend Says:

    Memsahib! Can’t believe I found you after all these years! I’ve read just about everything and its been great catching up. Agree with all those comments about you being great and am sure I’ll be reading a bestselling novel very very soon!

  44. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    longlostfriend; extraordinary. i was thinking about you last night – something you once said. and i am thrilled and delighted that you found this blog (how did you?) and got in touch. now i’ve got your address, i shall write and catch up properly xx

  45. cybersass Says:

    hi there! it seems my middle name happens to be your first name – a name which till the last few years, i only came across once. turns out it’s not quite so unusual. just english. 🙂
    i just wanted to say that i love your writing. yours is probably the first blog i blogrolled when i started blogging earlier this year and got sucked into the undertow which is the blogosphere. i love the glimpses into your life that you give us here.
    thank you.

  46. Mike Says:

    Hello Anthea!
    I’ve been reading your blog for some time and I love it.
    Since I started visiting your blog I couldn’t stop coming here 2, 3 times a week reading your brilliant stories. It’s better than a lot of books I read. Please don’t stop sharing it with us.
    Thank You

  47. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thanks very much Mike, that’s very kind. and thank you for reading.

  48. KatduGers Says:

    Hi, I came across your blog this evening, and have read the most recent posts – will have to catch up on the rest over the next few days.

    I love it so far!! I grew up in Malawi, albeit in a town, so I can kind of relate to some of the things you say! Am in France now, but I’d rather be where you are! Maybe we could house swap!!

  49. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Kat – thank you for dropping by and for reading. and for being so kind. oh. i think the grass is always greener, non? (except in Outpost, of course, where it is frequently jaundiced and balding!). There’s many days I’d happily swop with you. Where are you in the Gers? I was there in September and was utterly seduced.

  50. Trish Says:

    I live in Dar. Is there something I can send you for Christmas??

  51. LBB Says:

    Hi Anthea – absolutely love your blog =)

    I’m doing some work at the moment with mums who blog – would be great if you could drop me a line so we could have a chat?


    Kerry @MLBB x

  52. Bhavana Says:

    I grew up in India with lots of people working for us and they would call my mom memsahib and would sometimes call me baby-sahib. Then we moved to US and things changed. Now whenever I go back I feel very much the same as you do and don’t like people hovering in the background to take my plate as soon as I am done. I would rather take my own plate to the sink.

    great blog – I am glad I ran into it.

  53. Cheryl Says:

    Anthea… is that your name? How lovely. I happened on your site (blog) from somewhere, probably from The Times of Miranda via Letters from Usedom via somewhere else. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to write our thoughts, feelings, observations in this format? I think it is so much more rewarding than trying to keep a journal … I couldn’t keep up with that, but the Blog is quite another story.
    I enjoy your writing and your thoughts. Thank you.

  54. Chris Peters Says:

    Dear Memsahib,

    I am a conservation educator at Rotterdam Zoo. At the moment we are making a life size model of an African Baobab tree, as a monument of our African area in the zoo. This tree of life we use as flagship issue to tell the visitors about the wonders of the African wildlife.
    To create nice education I am looking for excellent pictures of the leaves, flowers and fruit of the baobab trees. On your site I found a very nice picture of a baobab flower. My question to you is:

    Do you allowed us to use this picture for educational purpose in our zoo?

    Hopefully you will say YES.

    Warm regards,

    Chris Peters;
    Rotterdam Zoo.

  55. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    I am very flattered, Chris. Please do use the image. all best and good luck, memsahib.

  56. Chris Peters Says:

    Dear Memsahib,

    It is an honour for me to use your pictures. Be sure I do this to benefit Africa, the continent I love so deeply.

    All the best and luck for you,

    Warm regards,

    Chris Peters.

  57. Chris Peters Says:

    Dear Memsahib,

    To make the education about our baobab compleet I also need some nice close-ups of the baobab leaves. Do you such kind of pictures?

    Thanks in advance.

    Warm regards,

    Chris Peters.

  58. Chris Peters Says:

    Dear Memsahib,

    To make the education about our baobab compleet I also need some nice close-ups of the baobab leaves. Do you have such kind of pictures?

    Thanks in advance.

    Warm regards,

    Chris Peters.

  59. Helen Romeo Says:

    Dear Memsahib, I love your blog. I love your writing. I like your title: ‘reluctantmemsahib’ – I clicked because it conjured up so many images, and because my blog’s called ‘The reluctantly frustrated stay-at-home mum!’
    I had a best friend, white from Kenya, when I was at school, who used to come back from ‘home’ after holidays with stories like yours. My mother, too, had travelled extensively in Africa (in the ‘old days’!) and her black and white photos had been a place to pore over as a child, fascinated with distant lands and stark vistas stretching for miles…I could imagine the shimmering heat and the smells, sounds of the wildlife…

    My friend, similarly to you, always wore a jangle of bronze and silver bracelets/bangles… took me back. And made me think, too, of my mother-in-law, who’s indian, whose appearance is always heralded by a sweet jingle…

    Anyway, do check out my blog too, if you wish, although I would never entertain you as you entertain me, given the raw material you have – (still. An exchange is always a good thing, karma-wise, so they say!)
    I will, tommorow, read on. Thanks for the beautiful photos and beautiful words, an occasion to share your life and experience.
    Helen (www.frustratedstay-at-homemum.blogspot.com)

  60. Will Orr-Ewing Says:

    Hi there Memsahib,

    I’m a teacher in Fulham, London and stumbled across the site after getting back from a tour from Windhoek to Zanzibar last summer.

    In the evenings and weekends, I run a website called dysTalk (www.dystalk.com) that I hoped would be of interest.

    The site provides information to parents and teachers on learning and learning difficulties. It’s got loads of short 10-min talks from various professionals and experts on dyslexia, dyspraxia, the impact of video games, help with homework and many more. It’s also brimming with articles and an active forum for parents.

    I’d love to hear any thoughts you had about the site; if you thought it was useful, I wondered if it might be possible to add a link on your site? I’d be happy to reciprocate.

    Do let me know,

    Warm regards,


  61. Carol Says:

    Wonderful Blog. I do so like to read blogs form all over the world and to try to understand different lifestyles. I am from Ontario, Canada. I live in Georgetown, about an hour out by car from Toronto, but where I am is farm land, bush and small towns. I am “out in the country” as the saying goes. I “cottage” about a 3 hour drive from home, north in the Haliburton Highlands. I would love you to drop by my blog and say hello! I cannot seem to find away to follow your blog. Not the same as blogger. Is there a trick I am missing?

  62. Jo Says:

    As you know, I’ve been reading your fabulous blog for a while now, but I’d never read about you.
    What an interesting life you lead living in Africa. Over the years, I’ve had many friends who have grown up there and yearn to go back. I would love to visit one day.
    Looking forward to the next post, be it poetry or prose.
    x jo

  63. Lyn Says:

    Love your post. Is there a reason you don’t have the “Follow” option? I will bookmark but I would love to follow. You have a story worth sharing. Keep it up!

  64. Ania Says:

    Love the blog, just randomly ran into it. Live in Mwanza myself for almost 3 years and in Kenya 2 years before that. You put into words so well so many things I feel and think. Can’t wait to read more, and maybe this was the push to start blogging myself as friends/family keep on bugging me to do it so they could understand why I continue to stay. Haha, I should probably redirect them to yours 😉
    Thanks for sharing your gift of writing.

  65. Jane van Velsen Says:

    Hello there
    I’d like to talk to you about living out there as I’m on way with hubby and two kids!!!! Have lived in S Africa for years and now in UK again but prefer Africa. We’d be in Arusha – any tips? Please mail me at jane.vanvelsen@gmail.com
    My hubby is due out there next weekend to meet the team at Asilia -they’re a leisure and tourism group. Any tips and hints on where to live, how you cope etc etc would be very welcome.

  66. Debbie Says:

    Hi RM, happy new year.
    I was born in Rhodesia to Scottish parents so find much resonance in your writing and experiences, especially re a confused sense of ‘home’ and, intriguingly, depression. My mom also suffered from depression (though not discussed) and I have been caught out by it occasionally but badly. I say intriguingly, however, because I am struck by the prevalence of depression amongst expats I know or have read (in particular, Alexandra Fuller, Lauren St John, Wendy Kann and Peter Godwin) It may be just coincidental but it is a common theme and I am fascinated by *why*. My life in Africa was idyllic and my mother would have said the same, so ‘why you no happy?’ My best friend at junior school (now in South Africa) has lived on the edge of depression (her mother escaped it only through suicide and her sister medicates it) and we have discussed it at length but with no conclusion. Will enjoy following your blog to explore the issue further but mean time keep fighting the fight 🙂
    Best wishes, Debbie

  67. Linda Says:

    where are you ? first time commenter on your site but I am concerned, what is going on???????

  68. Azita Says:

    You are very creative my friend. I loved your website! And oh by the way I am an animal lover and in the top of all the existing fauna I cats are my number one!!!

    That bad Moshi!!! the problem is the more evil they are the funnier they look.

    All the best

    Azita from Toronto

  69. Francesco Says:


    greetings from Germany.

    I am a Grafikdesigner from Hamburg and i would like to use one of your pictures. That one with the Chameleon (https://reluctantmemsahib.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/chameleon-2.jpg). I will try to fit the Chameleon into an imaginary Soldier Uniform. My Question is if i could use it under the General Public License.
    Thank you for all your good work, i like your blog.

    Kind regards,


  70. Rob Baker Says:

    Love the blog – everyone should have one (especially in AFRICA!)

    I’ve been blogging for 5 years now, starting in Benin/Togo and now in Mali.

    There’s always something to blog about on this fascinating continent, eh?

    Keep up the good work!

    (www.robbaker.org )

  71. Zoe @ Playing by the book Says:

    Hi Anthea,
    Just stumbled across your blog! I’d like to invite you and your kids to take part in an International Postcard Swap for Families I’m hosting on my blog, Playing by the book (where I write about kids’ books and play). Full details are here:
    We’ve only a few families from Africa (and all from the north) so it would be great to have some Tanzanian involvement 🙂

  72. Marianne Says:

    I love your blog and what an interesting and unusual life you have. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  73. karin cocker (in zambia bush) Says:

    oh gosh! what an amazing site roger freshman told me to look up! you are writing and describing the life we farmers in the bloody bush live! you are painting it with wonderful words! what a talent, keep going! i just paint all day, great big paintings. we are helping our son on his newly leased zambian farm. you know the ex zim farmer story……….its start all over again. wish we had gone to australia. greenland or anywhere but farming in the bush again! bye karin

  74. John Howe Says:

    Many thoughts beautifully put, and words judiciously chosen. Gravitas and a lightness of step that makes wonderful reading.

    Very best wishes,


  75. karin cocker (in zambia bush) Says:

    keep going , huge entertainment for all of us in the bush! plus townies all over the world!

  76. Mia Berry Says:

    Dear Anthea,

    I don’t have an email address to contact you so I hope that you will find my message this way. Blogger Milisuthando Bongela (Miss Milli B) wrote an article for us about female bloggers in which you are mentioned. We would love to use a nice photo of you on the page. Any nice pic will do but if you have a photo of yourself in front of your computer or personal/meaningful space it would be even better.

    Thank you so much and hope to hear from you soon.
    Kind Regards,

    Mia Berry
    Picture Editor | O The Oprah Magazine
    Direct: +27 21 464 6286
    Email: mia@assocmags.co.za

  77. Pig in the Kitchen Says:

    hi Reluctant M,

    Would you mind emailing me? Wanted to ask you something. Thank-you!


    Pig x

  78. Zina Dale Says:

    Hi there

    I have read your blogs and enjoyed all of them. Would you allow us to link your bog to our website http://www.mytanzaniainfo.com? If so please could you email us a short description of yourself and your blogspot. We really look forward to hearing back from you. My number +255 754 683263 or email zina@mytanzaniainfo.com

    Best regards

    PS Do you know Janelle’s email address?

  79. reddirtlattes Says:

    I’ve just found you! Oh where were you when I was living in Uganda to help me in the craziness of “staff.” I, too, would never insist in clothes and please, as much sugar as you like, and what year are we living in anyway. It’s all about decency. I will be following your blog and sharing, It’s just wonderful.

  80. Cheryl Says:

    I don’t know why, but this is the first time I’ve read your “About Me”. It is beautiful and so well written. Your life is so different from mine and yet I gravitate to your blog, Val’s blog at “Border Town Notes, and Miranda’s blog “The Times of Miranda”. I am in awe of your lives. I follow Carlos da Silva on FaceBook with his eco-tourism and his wonderful ranch. One day I would like to visit Tanzania.

    Having grown up in the southern state of Georgia in the U. S. I can totally identify with your feelings about being waited on. Now I live in Texas & have been here for 36 years, my housekeeper is Hispanic, and she & I work together when she comes every 3 weeks or so to clean. I cannot think of Blacks or Hispanics as being second-class citizens. They, in various economic situations, are my friends.

  81. Akhila Says:

    I liked your blog. I live in Mumbai India and we are so used to being called sahib and memsahib that we do not give it a thought.
    Labor is cheap and all most everyone including the lower middle class get househelp. Its more economic than racist.
    Last week I actually let my bai ( house maid) sit on the chair…… a mental block. I remember as child when my Dad made a sick servant sit on my bed I was livid. It’s quite different from racism, its more about dignity of labor.
    Liked what you wrote about keeping depression at bay, I understand completely. Great writing. Keep it up.


  82. kathy eldon Says:

    Wonderfully written, beautifully observed- can’t wait to hear more-

  83. Margaret Gallerani Says:

    I just discovered your writing today in “Psychology Today” while waiting in a doctor’s office. You have a wonderful way with words and your photographs are incredible. You write about a life and a world I can only imagine through your imagery. I am a mother as well, but one who lives in the incredibly lush area of Boston, MA, USA. thank you for sharing your journey. I look forward to reading backwards and forwards!

  84. Jaspreet Says:

    Just read your article in Travel News – The Best and the Worst of Tanzania.. I Love the way you write – it was such an enjoyable read, you really transported me to all those places … I just had to check out your blog and I’m looking forward to reading more… 🙂

  85. Parker Says:

    I am relocating to Dar in March and love reading your blog. Any helpful hints about how to find employment before arrival? I’m hoping to teach at an international school.

  86. Don Stoll Says:

    Dear Anthea,

    I’ve just discovered your blog—too late in the day, I admit—and added it to my blogroll. My own blog, “A whole village,” started in 2010, is based on the development work that my small NGO has done since 2008 in one remote village in northern Tanzania, Dareda Kati. Living full-time in Tanzania, as you do, lies far in the future for my wife and myself. But I can continue to use my blog to give the detailed descriptions of the lives of the villagers that they deserve.

    http://dstoll49.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/children/, from March, is a sample of my writing that may interest you, although yesterday I posted the latest entry from the diary of my June 24-July 14 trip to the village at http://dstoll49.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/tanzania-diary-july-4-2/.

    If my posts do interest you, please add “A whole village” to your blogroll.

    Thank you,

    Don Stoll

  87. Joyce Says:

    Dear reluctantmemsahib,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Tanzania, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

  88. laughtersthebestmedicine Says:

    Dear Anthea,

    I today came across your blog whilst looking for advice on how to remove mango fly larvae from my cat. I have been in Tanzania for three years now and really appreciate your honest, descriptive account of life here. You’ve made me both smile and cry. Thank you for reassuringly British view and the mango fly advice! I will continue to make my way through your life, if you don’t mind!
    Rachel in Moshi (ex- Nottingham)

  89. By anom Says:

    Hi ive enjoyed reading a random assortment of your recent posts. Saw your article on Vogue? Anyways it was good. I live in lockdown in a truly remote area of the U.K. and have felt small waves of loneliness.

    I’ve got a not too serious history of depression which only made me suicidal starting last year. Coupled with family money has made me spend most my life working on projects I hoped would bring in my own money (they didn’t! Alas).

    Not required to work. Friends moved away. Low maintenance. My partner is great though! We have a great time together.

    I’m rambling. I don’t know why.

    I’ve felt a lot of happiness reading into the minutiae of strangers lives. I imagine there is at least one person out there for whom I project a similar sensation.

    Anyways. Take care out there! Enjoy that Mac! I’ve many of my own (all old don’t worry. Newest is from 2017, oldest from 2004. I have an online friend with a large tech shop and gives me old unopened items for sometimes just the postage). Bye now!

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