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OUR HOUSE IN ARUSHA
on 16 November 2015
This book was first published in 2011, has 287 pages, 14 chapters, 16 B/W photos but no maps. The book is dedicated to author's mother. When a Frenchman, already married 3 times tells SARA TUCKER a tale about Africa, she leaves her job, ends her 18 year marriage, closes her apartment in Manhattan and leaves for Tanzania ! She was warned that the longer she lived in Arusha, the poorer she would get. She was also told that the new man in her life had not paid his taxes and his work permit may have also expired. Sara had moved to a house in SEKEI with PATRICK TEXIER and his son Thomas (12). Patrick had lived in Africa for 35 years and lost all his money, moving from Paris to Sierra Leone and then to Tanzania. On a good day, one could see Mt MERU from their house.
Sara had met Patrick on her 1st working safari, when he narrated his African adventures to her. She eventually saw the mad and chaotic life and traffic of Arusha in Jan 1998. In the next 10 years, Arusha had doubled in size. Sara had travelled between New York and Arusha many times. Her difficult married life in New York had come to and end after 18 years. Back in Arusha, Sara married Patrick (55) on 16.11.1999, at the old German Fort. She said Arusha was a dump but she liked it. After the wedding Sara collapsed with exhaustion and it was not malaria. Like many break-ins in near major African towns, Sara's house was also broken into despite an askari outside (asleep).
Patrick was offered a job in anti-poaching in a National Park in TOGO, 3,000 miles away. That year, the short rains failed, crops and cattle were left to die, the dust on the roads was fine, soft and 6 inches deep. The power and water was intermittent. After rains, the dust turned to mud. Fatal crashes were common in roads. Mean while Thomas was suffering from food allergies and rashes and was taken to doctors in Arusha and Nairobi. Sara and Thomas also when to Togo, staying in an apartment in a hotel. Sara remembers Patrick telling her all his years of wanderings and various jobs in different countries of West Africa. He had also grown apart from his first two children - Valerie and Lionel.
After a stay in Togo, full of hassle, Sara, Patrick and Thomas return to grubby Arusha, to collect their belongings to return to Togo. After the rains, Arusha was in blossom and dusty snow on the blown peak of Mt Meru. Patrick's contract in Togo fell through and their house in Arusha was broken in, they decide to leave Tanzania for America in 2001. Patrick's days in Africa were coming to an end. They lived in Westfield, New Jersey. Thomas had behaviour problems, so they moved to Vermont to live with Sara's mother. Thomas flew to Prague to study. Patrick got a job with an Airline. Thomas met his real mother after many years. Patrick still thinks of Africa everyday.
Some other books of interest are:-
(1)The Roaring veldt, Gretchen Cron 1930
(2) My farm in Lion Country, Joyce Boyd 1933
(3) Momella, Maximilian Rogister 1957
(4) A Fly in Amber, Susan Wood 1965
(5) The Otherside of Kilimanjaro, Erika Johnston 1971
(6) Barefoot Over Serengeti, David Read 1979
(7) A Tale of Maasai Girl, Grace Sicard 1998
(8) Where Lion Still Roars, Joyce Baker 2002
(9) Three Dreams on Mt Meru, Devenne 2007
(10)Between Two Fires, Capstick 2011
Having born in Kenya and passed through Arusha 5 times to Northern Tanzanian National Parks, I found this book interesting.