Tag Archives: Africa

Elephants need our children’s voices to survive


Tata&Squack’s second adventure is a story about wild elephants, the largest mammals that walk the surface of the earth. While making this book we realised just how threatened elephants are and that chances are small they will be part of our children’s future. With this book we would like to create awareness of the wild elephants in a child friendly way and help these magnificent animals. To survive elephants need our voice and especially our children’s voices. In the book Tata&Squack learn from Noor, the grandmother of their elephant friend Harry, that his mother was killed by poachers when he was just a baby. “One dawn, after a night of heavy rain, Harry and his mother disappeared. I feared the worst, because the savannah has become a hunting ground for poachers. In the end Harry was found by researchers. He was standing alone on the sodden plain next to his mother’s tusk-less body, his ear bleeding. He was waiting for her to wake up from her long sleep.” Find out how Harry was rescued. More information about the book Tata&Squack Mission Elephant on our website.

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The rain has come in Samburu


It was great to be in the Samburu National Reserve again, where we researched Tata&Squack Mission Elephant in 2012. Back then it was the end of the dry season. The park was dry and the elephants came down to the river every day to drink and to refresh themselves. The change of scenery is amazing. The rains are slowly turning the landscape into a green meadow. The elephants enjoy the lush vegetation and the wet texture of the soil. The little ones seem to have the time of their lives. No cares, no worries, just like little kids playing in the mud. Soon the elephant will celebrate their feast of plenty on the river. The families will socialize. Must Bulls will move in to mate with receptive ladies. Elephant calves will be born in the safe haven of Samburu National Reserve, where they are protected and researched.

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De olifant als brenger van geluk

Screen shot 2015-03-29 at 9.35.55 PMIn mijn eerste Afrikaanse nacht in Samburu wachtte een olifant mij op bij mijn tent. Een onvergetelijk ontmoeting. Nadat ik van de schrik bekomen was, heb ik vanaf de veranda naar dit ongelofelijk grote en indrukwekkende beest zitten kijken in de donkere nacht. De wereld werd even heel erg klein en stil op het geluid van het eten en lostrekken van stengels en bladeren na. Krachtig, zorgzaam, lang levend als de stropers ze laten leven, brengers van geluk. In de Oosterse wereld staat de olifant symbool voor kracht, onsterfelijkheid en het overwinnen van de dood. Er bestaat ook een legende waarin de moeder van Boeddha, tien maanden voor zijn geboorte, droomde van een witte olifant. Dit zou een voorteken zijn geweest voor zijn komst en sinds die tijd worden in India de witte olifanten als heilig gezien. Ook in China geldt de olifant, sinds oudsher, als symbool van kracht en wijsheid. Als je wel eens over een olifant droomt wijst het er op dat je bezig bent met de aanleg van een goede basis voor rijkdom en succes. Droom je over ‘meerdere olifanten’ dan hangt voorspoed in de lucht; zoals rijkdom, kracht en succes op allerlei vlakken. Zowel mensen uit India als China geloven dus dat de olifant geluk brengt. Vaak zie je dat zij een afbeelding van een olifant plaatsen op een plank of vlak bij de deuropening. Dit zou geluk brengen als het hoofd naar de voordeur is geplaatst. Ook het aanraken van de slurf, zeker voor je op reis gaat of zaken moet doen, brengt geluk.  Mijn ontmoeting met de olifant is een herinnering om nooit te vergeten er is een mooie boek uit voort gekomen met als doel een bijdrage te leveren aan hun voortbestaan.

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Tata&Squack and the funny parade of baboons

Baboon-HillAfter a lazy afternoon, Tata&Squack are allowed to ride on the back of Noor, the matriarch of the royal family. They are impressed by her skills. She guides the elephants carefully over the plains in search of water and food. Near the hills baboons of all sizes suddenly appear. The males are large and impressive, most of the females have babies clinging to their bellies or sitting on their backs. “Where are they heading, Noor?” Tata asks. “Do you see the rocks, high on the hill?” says Noor. “The baboons spend the night up there. At the end of the day it is a warm sunny place to sit and not many predators are able to attack them up there.” They see a string of baboons, big and small, zigzagging up the hill. What a funny parade.

More information about Tata&Squack Mission Elephant on our website.

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Reisebericht vom Besuch an die Momella Schulen


Der Momella Förderverein unterstützt Schulen in Tanzania. Zu Begin des neuen Schuljahres im Februar, bereist Frau Frosch, die Gründerin des Vereins, die Region und besucht die Schulen. Ein kleiner Reisebericht: “Ich habe in diesem Jahr noch einmal an 2 Schulen mit twikga Büchern gearbeitet. An einer Schule (Maji Ya Chai Primary School) habe ich versucht, die Lehrer in die Arbeit mit dem Buch ein zu führen. Mir kommt es dabei vor Allem darauf an, dass man versucht, über bekannte Themen eine Sprechsituation in der Fremdsprache zu finden, die es den Sprechenden leicht macht, sich in der Fremdsprache zu äußern, weil sie über etwas sprechen können, das sie bereits kennen. An einer anderen Schule (Tuvaila Primary School) hatte ich eine kleine Gruppe von Schülern und eine kleine Gruppe von Lehrern zur Verfügung, wo ich das gleiche Problem üben wollte. In dieser Gruppe fiel mir besonders auf, dass nicht nur die Schüler, sondern vor Allem auch die Lehrer sehr interessiert zuhörten und mit arbeiteten. Dies ist möglicherweise eine ganz neue Form für die Arbeit an den Schulen, einmal dem „Drill“ des Übens in der Fremdsprache zu entfliehen und zu versuchen, sich frei in der Fremdsprache zu äußern.”

Tanja Dekker hat Frau Frosch auf einer ihrer Reisen in Tansania kennengelernt. Der twikga Verlag ist Fördermitglied des Vereins. Mehr Information über den Momella Förderverein e.V gibt es auf der Webseite.


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A magic coffee moment with a “Bush Latte”


Those of you who like their daily cup(s) of the dark brew know about the coffee moment. Even on safari I would not want to miss it. Being out the whole day to get the perfect shot can be tiring. So a coffee stop now and then is more than welcome. At home we are quite picky about the coffee we drink. Freshly roasted beans are ground and brewed into a perfect espresso by a serious espresso machine. Topped with freshly foamed milk it is turned into the perfect latte for our coffee break(s). On safari the ritual and the ingredients are somewhat different. At first you have to find the perfect spot: scenic, shady and not too windy. Then you hope that all the necessary items have made it into the picnic bag at four o’clock in the morning. Mostly the choice of coffee is: from the thermos, instant, plunger or espresso cooker. Milk can be powdered or fresh, sometimes even frothed. Whatever you choose, it tastes great. The coffee moment is magic, because you are in the middle of a wide open plain, having a bush latte, accompanied by freshly baked cookies (or dutch stroopwafels). We are looking forward to our next safari!

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Tata&Squack are having a siesta

TS-Siesta-blogAfter a muddy time chilling out by the river, Tata&Squack look forward to having a siesta under the lush trees on the riverbank, together with their friend Harry’s and his family. They hope that Harry’s big ears can cool them down. Then Squack rummages around in Tata’s bag and miraculously he pulls out a ‘pretty wild’ parasol. “Safi, Squack.” It is a peaceful, sleepy time of day. With the sound of insects humming and the sun at its peak, they stretch themselves out on the grass under the parasol. Wet elephant ears flap gently, as they fan a cooling breeze across their mud-plastered bodies.

More information about Tata&Squack Mission Elephant on our website.

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The crossing of the bewildered beest

crossingThe Great Wildebeest Migration, is one of the most impressive events in the natural world, whereas more than two million animals migrate back and forth from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in order to find fresh grass to eat. On their trek their path is cut several times by rivers. Watching the frantic herds crossing can be very spectacular; there are often scenes of great panic and confusion. The wildebeest fear the water and the creatures that may hide in or near it. Sometimes tens of thousands gather and wait to cross and for no apparent reason, they turn and wander away from the water’s edge. Other times herds may cross back and forth, because they see others of their kind either in the process of crossing the river or grazing on the lush grass on the far side. Hence a lot of people call them “bewildered beest”.

In the twikga books Tata&Squack – The Big Journey and Phanhabs Savanna, the crossings of the wildebeest have been portrayed in an adventurous, yet child friendly way. 

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Royal mud bath with Tata&Squack


After a refreshing dip into the river Tata&Squack join their new elephant-friend Harry and his family for a mud bath on the riverbank. “Afraid to get dirty, Tata? A mud bath is so much fun and it protects your skin from the sun and stops the bugs from biting you.” “I know that in the wild your skin needs protection, Harry. It looks funny, but this muddy stuff is not my thing.” “I love this wild life,” she hears Squack say with a mischievous grin. “Don’t you dare…,” she starts, but Squack already has his muddy monkey hands around her face…

Curious? Flip through the book on our Flip Pages. More information about Tata&Squack Mission Elephant on our website.

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Green savanna – resembling a golf course

Green-Meadow-BlogHome again from a two week trip to the Mara, Kenya. The rains have turned the planes into a green meadow, resembling a golf course. Although the big migration has moved on to the Serengeti, there was plenty of game left to see. We had some great sightings. A cheetah with four cubs, amazing lions, beautiful sunsets and massive thunderstorms. One afternoon we saw The Big Five within 30 minutes after leaving the camp. And the good thing was that we did not have to share what we saw with lots of other cars. The advantage of being in the Mara off-season. We took some great pictures, some of which we will post on the Wild Picha Facebook page and on our website in the coming weeks.

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