Solbit Complains, “But I don’t Want to Go To Crete; Let’s Stay in Tanzania.”

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

I’ve changed my mind about Tanzania.  As Nona says, “You just have to give it time and get used to it.”  Well, I did give it some time — not like I had a choice.  Now that I want to stay here, Nona and Papa are starting to pack for some island called Crete.  Who wants to go to Crete?  Not me.

Look at the great things I’ve gotten to do here in Tanzania.  Our friend Jo had been pointing out a board game at shops in Dar and Zanzibar.  It’s called Mankala, fun counting game.  She said she’d teach me to play. Then, one day on our walking safari, we came to this big stone in the ground.


It’s an ancient Mankala board with the stone pieces!  Right there and then, Jo started teaching me how to play Mankala!  You don’t get to do that every day back home, right?

Then, on another day walking, we came to a really big ant hill.  It was so big compared to me that I almost bumped into it.


The ants asked me if I could help them work. Nona and Papa said that was OK for a few minutes.  So, I made friends with the ants and helped them build their ant pile.  Those ants worked hard, but I was having fun.  I guess work can be fun, if you like what you’re doing.

Because Nona and Papa are such penny pinchers and always “on a budget,” they sure surprised me when we stopped overnight at a tented lodge, Maramboi Tented Camp Lodge, by Lake Manyara.


Wow, we had it nice.  We could look out the screened window of our tent to see wildebeest and warthogs grazing nearby.  Our tent even had a name, Mbuni. I think that means “coffee berry” in Swahili.  Well there’s another thing:  I saw coffee berries for the first time here in Tanzania. The berry can be green or red and is round like a cherry.  I just thought it would always be a coffee color, wouldn’t you?

Speaking of coffee, Papa and I had “quality time” together many times over a cup of coffee.


I got to rest on the rim of his cup, and he got to sip freshly made coffee over a campfire.

We’d just talk about our day.  He’d say, “Well, Solbit, how are you feeling about our time in Tanzania now?” Early on our trip, I’d say how nervous it made me feel.  Then I started talking about things we did that made me happy. Like playing Mankala on that big stone board with Jo.  Now, I tell  him that I feel like I don’t want to go to Crete.  Why can’t we just settle down and live here in Tanzania where it’s nice?

Papa said, “Solbit, you’ve had a real change of heart about Tanzania, haven’t you?” I said yes, and then he asked me, “What made you change?”  I said that, by staying here long enough with friends like Chagamba and Mika, I discovered what the park sign said.

“What was that? I don’t remember a park sign,” Papa replied. Then Nona said, “Solbit, I think I know just the one.  I even took a photo of it.  Look here on my computer.  I’ll find it for you.”  “Yeah, that was the sign,” I said.


I discovered that Tanzania gave me “Nourishment for the soul. Consolation for the heart. (and) Inspiration for the mind.”  So, I feel sad to leave.  Now we have to go to some place called Crete.

I’m your friend.



June 2014

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

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