Saturday, March 7, 2009
We met five months ago or so in Bagamoyo, a beach town on the Indian Ocean in Tanzania. They were on a short holiday from their positions as principal/teacher and teacher/maintenance director of a school in Dodoma, the small central "capital" of Tanzania. The Hookings had something that other couples we have met did not...KIDS...Emma, age nine, Matthew, age six and Jonathan, age three. Alistair and Vicki are the parents. In October, we exchanged contacts and said we would try to get together when they went "home" to Auckland.
Our initial plans were to meet at St. Hellier's Beach, one they had frequented when they used to live here. The weather interfered, as it has so often here in NZ. The decision was then made to go to their house in the late afternoon. Good move, weather, because it is so nice to see people in their own place. As far as I am concerned, meeting in some one's home makes me feel relaxed. We took the train out of the CBD of Auckland and Alistair picked us up at the Panmure train station. Upon arrival, the girls reacquainted as did we. Conversations ranged from our travels, past, present and future to their holiday here in Auckland. Jonathan, the youngest, practiced his bow and arrow skills on Alistair and Vicki's bellies. Having six year old and three year old boys in our presence reminded both lisa and I of the attention needed when Av and Si were younger. Av and Si still require attention, but no where near what we experienced.
Our conversations drifted to the school and Dodoma and how different their lives are there. They will be gone from friends and family for another two or three years. Vicki and I talked in the kitchen about the different foods and how cooking was much different. They had a bottled gas stove because the electricity could be out for days at a time. She also talked of the "progress" of the city: A pizza parlor, olive oil now available, and the like. They are leading the adventurous life. We all shared a meal of lasagna, vegetable casserole and salad, all delicious. The treat was just sitting down to a good meal, sharing conversation and enjoying ourselves. Vicki had to speak that evening about the school so our evening came to a close. It was nice.
Thanks to the Hookings for a very nice time.