About us!

We are Amisadai and Louisa Monger (aged 15 and 13). In 2010, we moved to Tanzania in Africa - look at the map below to see if you can find it! We hope you will enjoy reading about our adventures and looking at our photos! Please don't forget to send us a message too!

Sunday 4 August 2019

The Sound of Music in Austria

About a month ago I (Louisa) went on an amazing trip to Austria as a member of Isamilo International School Choir. We went to compete at the Anton Bruckner International Choir Competition in Linz! We were the first choir from Tanzania to ever compete! Here I will tell you a bit about it ...
Postlingberg Church in Linz

There were nineteen of us in the choir from years 3 – 9. We flew with Emirates to Vienna (through Dar es Salaam and Dubai) and stayed there for 2 days. In Vienna, we were able to do and see a lot! We toured all the best sights of Vienna on a ring tram. We visited Schonbrunn Palace and enjoyed watching the Peter Pan ballet at the Vienna Volkspoer … accompanied by an amazing orchestra! We also visited the government healthcare building as one of the choir was diagnosed with mumps so we went for many to get vaccinations!. As a reward we then all went to the ice cream parlour. We had fun shopping and loved having subway for dinner! (A treat we don’t have here in Tanzania).
At Schonbrunn Palace
After two days enjoying Vienna, we travelled to Linz by train, which was good fun because we don’t travel by train here in Mwanza. It was a beautiful ride, crossing fields of green grass and wheat and we saw an old castle which we visited later on in the week. The next morning, we went to register at the Choir Competition venue, ‘The Bruckner House’ and we met other choirs and made some new friends. Then we went to explore Linz! We rode on the oldest tram in Linz up to a castle. There we found a fairyland grotto (Grottenbuhn) and we went on the Dragon Express through an imaginary world. 
On the train from Vienna to Linz

On the Dragon Express
After lunch we went for our first rehearsals testing out the building's acoustics. In the evening we attended the Opening Ceremony in Linz Cathedral. It was amazing to listen to songs from some of the other choirs, coming from all over the world, for example, Sweden, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.
After a good night’s sleep we woke up early in our hostel to leave for Bruckner House. After rehearsing for a few hours, it was time to compete!  We performed on stage for four judges. We sang very well! We sang about eight songs for the competition and I fully enjoyed it! For one of them I had a solo, and I was very nervous! I was actually shaking! 
Our morning rehearsal

Competition Singing
Afterwards we went into Linz for lunch and after our yummy pizza, we sang for the restaurant staff and customers in return for free ice creams for all! That made us all very happy! (It was quite fun singing in random places during our trip, like restaurants, clinics and airports… and we did get more free ice cream!)
Later that day, we took the bus to St Florian Monastery with three of the other choirs to perform there. It was awesome to sing in such a beautiful building with amazing acoustics in the large space. My voice came out so loud when I started my solo in the quiet space! After the concert, we went and watched fireworks on the Danube River, something some of my classmates had never seen in their lives before.  It was a wonderful day and evening!
Performing at St Florians Monastery

The next day we got the wonderful news that that we were in the top four out of the eleven countries represented! So we had to practice more because for the closing ceremony the finalists have to perform again! The closing ceremony started at 6:00pm and five other choirs performed (Sweden, Russia, South Africa and Copenhagen girls’ choir) and then we were last to go on stage. I sang my solo again! Then we had a short intermission for the judges to decide. And then the results were announced! We got a gold certificate for winning the “traditional music” category! Also the judges created an award just for us for showing the joy of singing! Overall, Sweden won the prize of 2000 euros and at the end all the choirs got on stage and we all danced and celebrated!
When we returned back to Vienna we went shopping again and went to theme park. We rode on the Prater which is a Ferris wheel and had great fun on bumper cars and go-karts. It was my first time to go on a roller coaster which was really scary for me and we also went on a water roller coaster.

On our last day in Austria we went to the Vienna Chocolate Museum. I learned how chocolate is made and sadly that white chocolate is not healthy but dark is! While we were there we also decorated our own chocolate …on mine I used coconut, white chips, dark chips and mini marshmallows. 
It was such a wonderful trip! I loved hearing all the choral music which is very different to the traditional African music we were singing! I particularly liked the Copenhagen Girls Choir! They had amazing voices and were also really friendly! It was interesting having Austrian breakfasts, which are more like a lunch with ham and cheese and different types of bread (which were really good). We tried some Linzer tart on our last morning in Linz which was yummy. I also found all the very historic buildings in Vienna very interesting (especially the clinic buildling). And finally, I loved the opportunity to sing on stage, especially in the Monastery! Although it was scary, I was very glad I was able to sing a solo and I have learned to project my voice! I am very thankful that it was possible for me to have this amazing experience!

Sunday 10 March 2019

Robin Hood Takes a Rose at the Fashion Show

On Friday evening our school put on a Fashion Show. Each year group had designers whose role was to design the costumes and then a girl and a boy to model their costumes. Amisadai and I both entered as models.

Amisadai striking her pose
My designer was my friend, Jamila. Together with my model partner, we decided to base our costumes on a Robin Hood theme. After Jamila had designed the outfits, we all went to town to choose the fabric and take it to a tailor to have them sewn up. We left it a bit late and only had one week to get the outfits made! The rehearsals were on Wednesday and Thursday and I had to learn how to catwalk and how to pose and get all the timings right!

With my Robin Hood Partner
The fashion show started at 7:00 pm but all the models and designers had to be the at 6:00 to get ready with costumes and make up. I was extremely nervous about walking in front of 200 people but as soon as I stood on stage, I was really enjoying it and didn't want to leave! We were all competing in our categories; I was with years 8 and 9. After my partner and I were finished, it was fun to watch all the other models walk.

At the end of the evening, the judges announced the winners of each category. My partner and I were really nervous. I was listening very closely because I wanted to win. Then I heard my name and I was thrilled and went with my partner to collect my prize, a beautiful rose. We did a final walk on stage. What a fun evening!

Receiving our price for coming first

All dressed up

Friday 27 April 2018

The Red Cross

Last term I (Louisa) joined the Red Cross club at school. I have really enjoyed working as a team learning together how to help people! Since I was very young I have always wanted to help people by being a doctor. Everybody believes I can do it! My science teacher says I can do it; I believe I can because I had a vision-like dream of me working as a doctor at a hospital in Spain. So now I love learning about Spain and learning Spanish!

On the 24th of February I did Red Cross training with some of my friends and I learned so much on what to do if someone is choking or having a nose bleed or has some other injury.
Red Cross Training

I am really interested to hear the stories of my Nana who was a nurse in World War II. She met my Great Grandpa, who was in the Royal Navy, while nursing soldiers in Hong Kong. 

My Nana, when she started nursing

I have also been interested in finding out more about the Red Cross. Here is the story of how the Red Cross began in America…

Always Put Others First

There was once a girl called Clara Barton who was young and shy. One day when she was 11 years old her older brother, David, was badly injured. He was ill for two years. Clara cared for him the whole time. Through the experience she learned something very valuable about herself. She found out that she came alive when she cared for others.

Soon, Clara began taking care of injured animals. Neighbors began to bring their pets to her and almost always she made them better.

When she was older, she became a nurse in the American Civil War and she helped save hundreds of soldiers.

After the civil war, Clara traveled to Europe to rest. But that rest did not last long; soon she was caring for injured soldiers once again! But around this time she learned about an organization called the Red Cross who worked alongside her on the battle field. Their mission was to help those who need it most.

She decided that the Red Cross was needed badly in America. Over several years, she asked four different presidents to bring the Red Cross to America. They all said no, but thanks to her perseverance, one of the presidents changed his mind! So the American Red Cross was born.

Clara can inspire each one of us to persevere. Clara Barton persevered even in great difficulties.  If you have a dream never give it up, always think of Clara Barton. Clara can inspire us to always put others first. She cared for people and discovered she came alive when she helped ill people. So what makes you come alive? How can you help others?

Tuesday 20 March 2018

A Story Published!

I was so excited to hear that the story I wrote for a competition was judged to be a winning story! I entered the IDEA Magazine short story competition for under 18's. The guidelines asked for a modern day telling of a parable and I chose to write about the Unmerciful Servant. I was excited to hear that the story made it through the first round into the longlist before Christmas. Then I heard it that it had made it into the shortlist! And then I heard it was a winning story! I received some great books as a prize and also had my story published in the magazine!

You can read the story; it is called Mr Mdaiwa's Mercy. The story is set in a familiar place ... Kayenze!

Short story competition: Mr Mdaiwa’s Mercy

The editor of the magazine then emailed me to ask if I would write a book review for the magazine on a book on the theme of hope. I chose to write a review on "Left to Tell" by  Immaculee Ilibagiza. You may remember that I wrote about this book on the blog after our trip to the Genocide Memorial in Rwanda!

You can read my book review here!

Another Competition...

Louisa and I entered The Isamilo International School Talent Show this week! We called ourselves "Aslan's Girls" performing as Susan and Lucy from CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. We sang (and I played violin) "There's a Place for Us" from Voyage of the Dawn Treader. We were really nervous but so glad we did it! We were super excited to get the second place prize! 

Receiving our prize!

Sunday 18 March 2018

The Irish Ambassador

On Sunday, January 14, I rose early to leave at 4am with my schoolmates to make the long drive to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. I went for one week, with the group from my school, to the Model United Nations (MUN). I attended as the Ambassador for Ireland with my resolution selected to present in the technology committee on how to improve maternal healthcare in the rural and remote areas of Lake Victoria through smart phone technology.

Irish Ambassador
I walked through the UN doors for my very first time, my fingers trembling with anticipation as I clutched my folder. I had been feeling rather official, clad in my smart blue spotty dress and business-like jacket, my high heeled shoes, my tights (which were an ongoing, uncomfortable struggle for me, as I do not wear tights very often) my hair and makeup done to perfection and my blue folder resting in my arms, but all of that suddenly faded. I felt very small as I stared around the huge hall. Its high ceiling peered down at me from above. Hundreds of seats (the really cool spinny ones) faced a high table with about 10 chairs. A large podium with black microphones stood tall at the end of the platform.
General Assembly
A sea of chattering, excited young men and women flooded through the doors but all fell silent as a man rose to speak.  “Please can all the delegates take their seats as quickly as possible?” People hurried to the vacant seats. MSMUN 2018 had just begun.

“This assembly will come to order.” The command rang through the air. The general assembly commenced and speeches were made. After rather a long speech, we split up to go to our separate meetings. As the Irish ambassador I attended the technology committee meetings. Before our meeting started, we had 15 minutes to lobby, which means we had to convince people that my resolution was a worthwhile project to pass. We had to talk to many strangers!
Lobbying was a great experience! I actually really don’t like going up to complete strangers and starting a conversation with them. But this experience has really built my confidence, and the phrase which helped me was ‘Be the one who gave the smile, not the one who turned their face away’ (as some of the people in there were quite grumpy and rather rude, whereas others were friendly and amiable.)If you go to talk to someone and they are not interested or ignore you, then just politely back away and laugh awkwardly when you get away from them. That’s my motto!

Resolution after resolution was read, debated, voted and passed, or failed. Boys and girls would walk up to the podium with their head held high – but their insides squirming. They would read with a steady voice, but they were conspicuously hiding their shaking hands. When lunch time finally came round, I was definitely ready, only to find that we only had enough money for a fruit salad. With a stomach that was slightly satisfied, my friend and I trooped back into the main hall.

After our MUN sessions were over, we visited a different mall every single day! We went to a 7D cinema which was awesome, it was 3D, the seats moved and tipped (we had to have seatbelts) and water was sprayed at you when the zombie spat at the screen! It was so much fun. We visited the Giraffe Centre on Monday, the day before the conference started, which was absolutely amazing. They had 12 giraffes, ranging from elderly to babies, all equally beautiful. They had different personalities, some were out-going and friendly, some sullen and withdrawn and some just hungry. We fed them little brown pellets that tasted good, and learnt how to hold them so that the giraffes simply licked them out of your hand. I kissed the giraffe, lips to lips! I put the pellet in my mouth and it came and licked it out. I guess it was a bit disgusting, but it felt nice! Giraffe tongues are really rough and slimy. It licked my whole face! We learnt so much about the history of these giraffes and the centre, and what the centre does.

Each day, our routine was the same, breakfast in the hotel downstairs, leave at 7:00am to get to the United Nations in time for the general assembly (all committees) and then a day of debating resolutions. Then we relaxed with a trip to the mall and then back to the hotel for up to three hours research. Our group was particularly slow, so we didn’t usually get to bed till half past ten.
Outside the UN
I gave my resolution speech on the Friday, the last day of conference. Unfortunately the schedule was running so late, the chair members had to say that no amendments could be made, shorter debate time would be enforced and that you couldn’t extend the debate. Due to this, I was not able to make a vital amendment (an amendment is a slip of paper you hand into to the chair, because you noticed a mistake in your resolution. A person is allowed up to three amendments.) I had not specified some very important figures, and we knew it would be an issue, and due to this that my resolution sadly failed. This was the case with so many people that day. Most of the resolutions on the final day failed.

But making my speech was an amazing experience! Walking up that aisle, I thought it would never end. I was sure I’d stumble in my high heels, or that my trouser leg was tucked into my socks, or my trousers into my underwear, but luckily I was completely fine. My hands were shaking, my legs were shaking and I was completely focused on reaching the podium. Safely. Without falling. All eyes followed as I climbed up the steps, the silence thudding in my ears. I turned the microphone on, placed my papers on the desk and began. At first, it was all I could do just keeping my voice from shaking. Soon I began to relax, empathizing more on what I was saying, looking up and around at all the serious, and listening voices down below me.
Giving my speech
My resolution and following speech soon came to an end, and I yielded the floor to Cuba, someone who had asked to speak for my resolution. Many people wanted to speak for me, as I glanced round at all the raised placards. It was debated and voted for. But unfortunately it failed. I am so glad I did it though. Now I know what to do for next time, what to include and how to read it. I cannot wait to go again.

My MSMUN experience was amazing, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’m so glad I did it. I even got a free pen, bag, name tag, and wristband as well as a really cool glass bottle with the UN symbol on. My favourite things about MUN were speaking in front of everyone, the soup and making tons of new friends. My least favourite thing was that when someone was speaking, the chair members just interrupted them saying ‘Time for this resolution has just expired’ and I found it quite rude. Especially if they welcomed someone up to speak at the podium, and when they are half way up the aisle, or just when they reach the podium, they say it. What is the point of calling someone up if you know there are only 7 seconds left? One of the other awesome things about MUN was the party on Friday night. It was amazing. There were so many people, the music was loud and the DJ was playing all of the best songs, and everyone was dancing and having a good time.
I would encourage all who get the opportunity to go to MUN, to take the amazing opportunity and make the most of it. It is the experience of a life time. It is such a learning experience, it boosts your confidence, it’s a way to make new friends and it looks good on your CV as well!

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Vancouver, Calgary, Albert, Victoria and Toronto

Now I have told you all about my chickens, I can tell you about our goats!

With Vancouver and Albert
Amisadai and I were first given a goat by a friend in the stoves group. The goat was brown with a big white spot, so we named her Vancouver White Spot. We then got a male goat called Calgary. Calgary was a black goat. After 5 months, Vancouver gave birth to a kid and we named him Albert (after Alberta, Canada). 

Milking Vancouver
When Albert was old enough to be weaned off Vancouver, we tried to milk her. It was actually very difficult! Trying to get underneath her when she was so wiggly was not easy! We had to squeeze her udder from the top down to the bottom so the milk would come out. I didn't really like the feel of it! We didn't get so much milk from her! We did try a little bit to drink; it is quite nice and I liked it. It is a different texture to cow's milk and has a bit of a strange aftertaste. 

A glass of goat's milk
Mom took some of Vancouver's milk to the Mamas Group and they made soap with it! They mixed the goat's milk with coconut oil and other oils and made it in pretty moulds. It turned out wonderfully! They were able to sell all of it before Christmas.

Making Goat's milk soap

The finished soaps
In December, when Albert was old enough, he was sent to live in a village called Malya. We gave him to the mamas group there, for them to start a goat project. Mum went to Malya with Julian (beekeeper from England) and John (our new team worker) in the land cruiser. It was a long drive but Albert was quite happy most of the time in a plastic basin in the back! The mamas will buy a female goat with their own group money, to mate with Albert and then they will have kids and milk! They can use their own goats milk to make soap!!

Albert goes in style to Malya

The mamas group in Malya with their new goat

Mum says goodbye to Albert at his new home!
We also now have two Saanen goats! Saanen goats originate from Switzerland and are particularly good for milking. We bought them in June from Ukerewe Island. We named them Victoria and Mr Toronto. We were told that Victoria was pregnant. We realised after five months that she wasn't. Since then we have been wanting to get her pregnant, but Toronto doesn't seem to know what to do and won't do his job. Dad and I have tried to put Toronto on Victoria's back, but he isn't at all interested. I hope she will be pregnant soon!

Big Toronto

Here I am feeding Victoria some peanuts
By the way, the Swahili word for goat is mbuzi!

Sunday 31 December 2017

Christmas Eggs

Happy New Year to you all!

It has been such a very, very long time since we updated the blog! Sorry about that! We both hope to do much better in 2018!

I (Louisa) will start by telling you about my kuku!

Kuku is the Swahili word for chicken!
Project Kuku
In November I started a chicken project. We bought five laying chickens and Dad and I built a chicken house surrounded by a fenced in chicken run. The house has a hinged door to the nest box where I can collect the eggs from. It has a ramp so the chickens can get up and down with a door that we close at night.
The Chicken House

The Five Chickens
Sadly after a short time and only a few eggs, three of the chickens died of illness. After no eggs for a month, finally on December 28th, I started collecting eggs again! The two chickens are named Tangawezi ("Ginger") and Snowflake. They love it when I take them scraps of food ... they especially love watermelon! I am looking forward to buying some more chickens from our friend, Mama Minja very soon!

Yay for EGGS!
I love collecting the eggs! I love eggs and especially making fried egg on toast! I also like poaching them in my little PoachPod!

How do you like your eggs?