A Travellerspoint blog

Leaving the Gero (soon)


I have started my day with a binge of cream cheese, chocolates and nutella thanks to another exciting care parcel. Honestly there is not much of the food left already as I picked it up yesterday on an extreme hangover after a night out in Singida with J and his cousin and there is NOTHNG available in Singida that could have been any better for the day than cream cheese and vegemite cheesybite dippers. And later on some licorice bullets and chocolates over some gossip magazines and checking out celebs bikini bodies. OH YEH. The Americans can’t believe how risqué our Cosmo magazines are, the ‘sealed section’ was great to study over a few beers. What’s this? – Brad and Angelina getting married? Seal and Heidi serparated? John Mayer with LONG hair? Having some difficulties concentrating on writing this email with the teachers here in the computer room playing the same song over and over again. Justin Bieber. The one song for about half an hour now and if past experiences are anything to go by, it will be this way for the rest of the afternoon.

Things in Ilongero have been ok. I’ve decided to leave at the end of July, travel for a few weeks then head to Mafia Island in August, once Ramadhan is over and start with an organisation there. I was going to go there travelling anyway so may as well work there a bit since they will fly me there, better than my cargo ship option. And if I stay until December that’s when you can swim with whale sharks so that’s the plan. A few months trial and if I decide to stay on and they decide to keep me then I will see about staying longer. I feel like I am wasting time a bit here and though it is nice to be somewhere I am comfortable and am known now, I am leaving eventually anyway so not like it’s a permanent thing. Skype’s with A in the UK sounds like this year will be the last for the org so if anything it will only be the Tz org carrying on . So knowing I am leaving have kicked into my ‘to do list’ and been on some walks down roads I’ve never needed to go and therefore never passed. A new volunteer came from America a few weeks ago. I had to laugh, she’s pretty shy and one of the teachers tried to speak to her in English and she didn’t respond, just kept smiling and walked off and he asked me if she speaks English haha. Also I like hearing peoples stories of their bus trip from Dar and I asked what music they played on her trip and no surprise – a Celine Dion concert.

We have started tuition for the girls at the hostel by hiring a couple of ‘teachers’ (Form 6 leavers from last year) which took over a month to organise!!!! It has been the most frustrating thing, because people don’t tell you when there is an issue, they will just change their mind and disappear. So we agreed on a salary, then the tuition was meant to start the following week, but they obviously decided that they wanted more money, so a week after tuition was supposed to start I asked the hostel matron how it was going (I had seen her several times that week) and she said the teachers said they wanted more money, so just didn’t teach and no one thought to say anything. Then S and I spent ages trying to do up a schedule to suit everyone, it was agreed on and we gave everyone a copy, then we came the next week to teach our English period as scheduled, and the tuition teachers were there doing their lesson as they decided to add a few extra periods that week, probably because I had told them they are paid per period so if they do not show up, they will not be paid. So I yelled at them and thanked them for volunteering the extra time for that week.

I’ve just checked my email and have an invitation to attend a community sensitisation workshop meeting this Friday held by a foundation working with disease control of Newcastle Disease that I have been in touch with a fair bit since being here about how we could work together with our org's chicken project and Moringa trees. I accepted the invitation thinking I would go along as audience, but he’s just sent me the schedule and I’m in there as a presentation of the work of our org and he’s listed me as a ‘member of the country coordinating committee (ccc) of the phase 2 – regional newcastle disease control project (malawi, mozambique, tanzania and zambia) alongside directors of central veterinary laboratory, director of the world poultry association, and country agriculture officers. Oh my god. I don’t even know what a community sensitisation workshop is! Going to have to get out of this one! What will I say, “ahhhh, our chickens don’t lay eggs and we don’t know why”.

We have arranged a Life Skills Seminar for the Form 4 girls next week in the school holidays and 40 have put their names down for that which is a much better number than expected as many went home for an extended holiday after their mock examinations a couple of weeks ago, not discouraged at all by the teachers who love the chance not to teach (they were in the computer room on Thursday watching Titanic). So luckily a few girls actually stuck around, just hopefully they turn up. Doesn’t hurt that they all receive an allowance for attending, because learning isn’t enough. G is coming too, she hasn’t been here since February I think but she already knows I’m heading off and her email back was very nice. The women’s projects (sewing, chickens) are all on hold and A only wants to focus on the school and the hostel. I went to see how the Moringa trees are growing and they are mostly smaller than when they were planted as the rainy season wasn’t very good. S and I are starting a Fema Club for any students who want to join. Fema is a magazine which focuses on issues like sex and HIV aimed at Secondary school aged people. The groups receive the magazine for free and are meant to go through it together as an opportunity to discuss things that are usually hush hush with the goal of ‘destroying the silence’. They are encouraged to get involved in helping and educating the local community. A fair few have signed up so we have a meeting beginning of the new term and will then see how many actually want to do it, as it will have to be ‘owned’ by themselves. I went to a village about 2 hours away a few weeks ago as I heard they have a school kitchen to provide meals to all students, which A thought about building here, and wanted to see how it is run. The parents there contribute food rather than money and the parents and teachers do all the work for it. Even on Mafia Island the hostel built there was built by members in the community volunteering their time. Will be interested to see a different area and different people. We are also trying to start promoting this way of pasteurising water using your everyday water bottle as you only have to leave it in the sun to heat to 65 degrees, it actually doesn’t need to boil to get rid of the organisms dangerous to humans.

I’m finally healthy again thanks to some very coincidental timing of a weekend away staying at the house of a doctor and nurse, sisters with the Medical Missionaries of Mary who have an HIV counselling clinic in Singida and live in a lovely house right on Lake Singida in the village of Mangua. I had my own room and ensuite which came in handy, a little private verandah overlooking the lake, there was a block of cheese put out with every meal, pepper, bacon, sausages, COLD MEAT, Heinz baked beans, even jelly. Even toast from the toaster! Luckily when I’m sick I don’t lose my appetite, that was the main fear when I started feeling the familiar old feeling as I knew the food I may have to skip. But no, not me. Is it bad to be told “it’s good to see someone with a healthy appetite” at my lack of fussiness as I didn’t say no to anything! I even thought there was a bottle of ladies perfume in my room but when I picked it up and tried to get the lid off it with some difficulty, I realised the fancy bottle was in the shape of Mary and it was holy water. Other than laze around reading and sleeping on a real mattress, washing my hair EACH day unnecessarily just to use the hot water and enjoying SITTING on the loo, I had a nice walk down the lake to the other side where there is a flock of flamingos, and along the way you pass the fishermen and ladies harvesting salt and more boulders. Having never been to the hospital before, I ended up there 3 times over a few days. First to visit J’s girlfriend with their new baby (poor girl had had a C section and had a tiny room full of family as she tried to sleep and no one was trying to keep voices down) I bought a little Adidas tracksuit for when he’s a bit older, later realising its actually AdiBas. Second time was to drop off my…stuff…(which some people hand in in a matchbox!) and finally get sorted for my ‘issues’ and then I was out with a friend for dinner and he got a call saying his friend had crashed his motorbike down the road and was in hospital so I got dragged along to visit him and no one understood why that would be uncomfortable for me AND the patient, having never met each other before and that he probably doesn’t want some strange mzungu there oogling him while he’s having his face stitched so I pretty much did the runner from there and pretended I got lost.

Heard an interesting bit of info about the issue this area is facing this year. So the price of Sunflower oil was pretty high last year so everyone decided to plant it as a cash crop rather than the usual food crop, maize. But because everyone pretty much did that, this year the price of oil has halved so not only does everyone make very little profit, but they haven’t grown their own food so they have no home grown food and not enough money to buy food from the harvest. Only a few people carried on growing their own food as a back up. But people are in pretty good spirits about it and even able to laugh at themselves about it.

Union Day was last month. I thought after no one really celebrating Independence Day because it was only the independence of Tanganyika, not Tanzania, the day Tanganyika joined Zanzibar would be a celebration. Turns out still no, well not in Singida. When I tried to ask people what the day is called in Swahili, I was just told it was Thursday (several times). All that seemed to happen was several hundred prisoners get released in the celebration. Hooray! I have lasted a while but finally told someone to P**s off in Swahili after he grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go until I punched his arm, then he stroked my hair so in front of everyone I let rip. Then I told a bunch of vijana (youths) to SHUT UP as so many people put on a stupid bimbo voice to mock mzungu voice … so I say things in a really deep man voice sometimes to throw people off. So I think its best I get out of this village before I go crazy at someone. Oh and I didn’t know the word was still politically correct, but on your birth certificate here your parents occupation can be ‘peasant’. That was surprising, though maybe not as I see the bus with the big image of Gadafi pass through Ilongero.

Funny how long I manage to get away without ever having to do some things by myself. Like on the tour last year somehow the entire time I managed to not have to learn how to work the cooktop or fold the table away even though every cook group takes it in turns and the final week my tour guide couldn’t believe it when I had to admit I didn’t know how. I made my first garbage fire here a few weeks ago but obviously forgot to take the lid off some type of bottle and I went inside and later heard a massive explosion and ran out to see the fire had spread to my fence – which is just dried thorn bushes anyway – and then had the neighbour run over as it scared her and she joked that people here aren’t used to hearing gunshots. Bit nervous to try another one now. Still nervous about the kerosene cookers too after having one explode and miss my face by about an inch as I had not put one of the ropes back in after cleaning it so it sucked the air in and BOOM. I shat myself! Learning a lot. The toads haven’t been visiting the house for a while, now it is bees everywhere. M had to stay with us for a few days after being attacked in his house and then the man he was recommended apparently wasn’t a specialist and ended up just trying a bunch of different things, from tearing the ceiling down to destroy the hive, to covering the entire house in kerosene and finally coming back with a broom and trying to kill them one by one. Here, the work you pay for is LITERALLY all that gets done. When you pay someone to get rid of bees, if they tear your house apart doing their job then that is all extra expenses. When you pay someone to cut your tree (which I made sure to say “a little bit, just so my washing can dry’ – but he murdered the whole tree) they don’t clean up the mess, and when you get someone to trim the thorn tree fence as your hair gets tangled in it each time you try to dodge it to leave the front yard, they don’t pick up the thorn trimmings which is why I have been living with a thorn in my heel for a week now. I thought my feet would be rough enough now that nothing could get in!

My favourite bar in Singida sells Smirnoff Ice now! At TSH4,000 (about $2.50) I feel like I need to drink them just to make the most of the bargain, but at TSH4,000 it is also 6 times the price of my drink of choice, ‘Super Alcoholic Banana Beer’ (with a picture of an athlete running on the front so it MUST be good for you). S and I managed to ‘bake’ a banana cake on the weekend but putting the pot inside another pot, with a bigger pot over the top of both of them and a wet towel on top to keep the heat in. It was delicious but only lasted a day and a half. Delicious.

Last week a man asked me for money to buy a book, I said no and walked off and as he passed an older lady she yelled out HE WONT USE IT FOR BOOKS HES A LIAR A TROUBLEMAKER and started hitting him. It was so funny. Another common question I am asked is “why do you have a mans name?” as it is so similar to Nicholas and Nicole is not common here.

A Peace Corp volunteer in town had a birthday party at the school she works at a couple of weeks ago so that was fun, she provided the food and drinks and one of the teachers DJ’d a good mix of Tanzanian/American music so there were a few dance offs where something like “I’m too sexy for my shirt” would come on so we would bust out some moves to that, including a catwalk moment, then some bongo flava song came on and all the Tanzanian teachers would take over. I of course managed to attract the most drunk, most annoying person in the room to sit next to me while we were eating and didn’t notice until the next time I went to wear that shirt that there is food all over the arm that was closest to him as he would try get my attention while he had a handful of food, in between trying to talk with his mouth full and spraying it everywhere. Then when he tried to lean over as I shuffled my chair further and further away, he would lean and his whole plate would lean also and all his food would splatter around my feet. Lucky for him he was about 80 so not much I could do there, I draw the line just after pushing oldies out the way to get on the bus.

Hmm some other things that have happened this month….a lady stopped me while we were in the middle of crossing a very busy road to try to sell some onions as big semi-trailers approached. Have been asked how much I’ll sell my hair for. Been locked inside a room because of the locks here and had to call someone to come unlock it from the outside. Caught myself saying “this morning while I was sweeping the poo in the hallway I was thinking….” And not realising there is something wrong with the normality of it until someone points it out. Had someone try to pass me on a bike and as he had no bell he instead said “Ring ring bicycle bicycle”. Found myself laughing as the teachers run after students with a stick instead of being mortified like 6 months ago. Told Mum and Dad I heard about some severe wind over there and then realised it was from the news of a 2 year old 2day fm podcast. Been reminded how difficult simple situations are made when we had firewood delivered to the hostel which was bad quality and although me, M, the Matron, the cook, 2 teachers and another cook had all agreed yes it was bad quality, still had to stand around and discuss the bad quality, look at it a little longer, then decide who else we should get to come and see it. Realised the environment is no real issue here as I take my material bags to the market and reuse plastic bags but when I tell a shopkeeper I brought my own bag so don’t worry about another, they tell me “no, its ok” and give me another one to be nice. Still feel uncomfortable around ‘house girls’. Still feel uncomfortable when petrol is put in the car while it is still on…and the driver is about 14. Enjoying not feeling rude for letting out a roaring burp mid conversation. Wish people would keep their religion quieter, especially at 5 and 6am. If people really want to pray, surely they can set their alarms and don’t need bells or a megaphone. Stopped returning calls when someone ‘beeps’ you – that way they don’t have to spend money to call you. Seen the convenience of the M-Pesa system - You can transfer money straight to someones phone rather than use a bank, then they just have to go to an M-Pesa stand and collect the money by showing the message on the phone. Waiting for my new clothes to be made by a tailor in town using my kitenge and kangas. Very exciting. Lost a bit more compassion which has been overtaken by annoyance especially on Fridays in Singida as it is the Holy day so the beggars are out in force and I found myself dodging a group of old ladies up ahead by crossing to the opposite side of the road as they did then hiding in a shop. Watched a Tanzanian TV show which is Bold and the Beautiful meets vampires. Picked my nose in public for the first time and didn't feel embarrassed.

On that note I’m off to download some new music and get some more viruses on my broken laptop. Apparently I got ‘the blue screen of death’ the other day. Actually think I’m going to watch the Titanic.

Posted by neerg_08 03:38 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania singida ilongero mangua Comments (0)

Easter Food Safari

Eating my way through Dodoma, Arusha and Moshi

Hope the Easter Bunny was generous. I managed to get a block of chocolate and finish it off for the usual Easter morning sickly feeling. Has been pretty exciting here in Tanzania…a little travel, a lot of food, another assault, Bacon Boy and plenty of drama and gossip.

I went away over the Easter break which came at the perfect time, really needed to get out of here for a bit. I arrived in Singida town on Saturday with M & we met J and his gf to take us just out of town to this huge weekly market I didn’t know about, but wish I had sooner. It is located overlooking the Rift Valley, lovely views but even better through the haze of endless meat and beer, courtesy of J. Within 15 minutes of arriving, while lining up for first drinks, J had slapped some guy on the mouth for saying something rude about wazungu (white people) and as he said, the bad words came from his mouth so that is where he had to slap him. Nice to know he had our back. So there are rows and rows of tables with any part of the animal you can imagine sprawled out, one table will have the stomach laid out, another the intestines, and you can choose which part you want and they wack it straight on the barbie for you. Tempting as it was, I went for a steak and it was so good! No crushed bones or anything! Tried a piece of cow heart but that was difficult to get down and keep down. The day turned into night and we again ended up on the dancefloor at the usual Karima bar with J carrying my handbag. E came with her boyfriend as she had just arrived back from over west and she has had to return to the UK. I think my visa is now sorted after being an illegal alien for about a week. Nothing like efficiency. (Have actually just received it and the start date was 2 months after the previous one ended.

Next day M and I went to Dodoma. This was the beginning of my food safari. The last stop before Dodoma most people jump out to buy live chickens and then the journey continues to the squawking of all of them. I just needed to binge on good food. First stop Chinese, then pizza at a proper restaurant owned by Italians….Plenty of meat, cheese and good wine and even a round of mini golf. We stayed with another PC volunteer in Dodoma for the night, to get to his house we only had to tell the taxi driver ‘you know the old Somalian man? Near his house” and he knew where to go – and this is the capital city! I was off the next morning at 5am for Moshi. Dodoma is too hot, my heat tolerance has reduced drastically and everyone is surprised since I am Australian.

I was nervous to arrive in Moshi as the guidebooks states “Welcome to Hell” and describes it as “Hell on Earth”. I took the Arusha Express bus and turns out the reason it is express is as it does not stop! Only to let people on and off, no food, no loo breaks for a 9 hour journey. I could not wait any longer and jumped off at one stop. When I came out from the toilets a man grabbed my hand as he saw my bus driving off and we had to chase it down to stop it. I jumped on saying “UMESAHAU MZUNGU”… “you forgot the white person!”. It’s a really beautiful drive, through boulder scattered Singida to the green & mountainous Katesh and then the dry flat Manyara region driving by the camp site I stayed at on my tour last year. As the scenery changes and the landscape, the houses and their colour change from Singidas red clay, then Katesh’s deep, rich brown, to Manyara areas sandy grey houses. I saw a bus with photos of Presidents and quite historically important people along the side – Mandela, Mother Theresa and then amongst all these photos was Lionel Richie. Switching buses in Arusha and then arriving at an unexpectedly calm bus stop in Moshi - no problems at all to my relief. If anyone starts to hassle you as soon as they know you understand Swahili they stop hasseling you and instead just want a chat. Only when E and I returned to buy tickets to leave and I found my leg bleeding did we have a problem. People rushed to fuss over my and one guy, I think innocently, lifted my skirt a bit to see where the blood was coming from so E hit the hat off his head, much to everyone’s amusement besides his own. We left pretty quickly. E & I had 3 days of binge eating Pizza, Indian, Burgers, Waffles, Ice Cream, Coffee, Milkshakes, Yoghurt. Anything but rice and beans (though to be honest beans was the first thing I wanted when I got back to Ilongero). I really like Moshi, the view of cloud covered Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, from the streets is always nice to see. Moshi in Swahili means smoke, so it is as if the mountain is always covered by smoke. Also very clean, unlike elsewhere in Tanzania where when you finish with something you just drop it on the ground or out the window (I still can’t) there are huge littering fines in Moshi, and bins! We did have difficulties crossing the busy roads and would ‘ghost’ an unsuspecting local to cross safely. Had a good view from the Indian/Italian restaurant (was loving the mixed cuisine restaurants) watching the world go by, women walking by with 2 free hands and just one shoe carried on the head, other travellers being annoyed by street touts, nice not to be yourself. When the clouds did clear from time to time, we ran like crazy to any tall building we could see to ask to go up top and get a good view. Finally someone let us up to the top just in time before the clouds covered the peak again. We were real tourists, pretty much not leaving the guidebook and shopping knowingly being ripped off at nicer shops rather than try barter at the market. I even got a couple of local beer logo t-shirts…I especially like the Kilimanjaro beer one ‘if you can’t climb it, drink it’…that I did. We had a night out and met some English boys so that was fun as they were on night one of their trip and had obviously not yet hit tight budget. The rain came down hard and in the end it was raining inside the club. Even in the toilets, I went in dry & came out drenched. Sometimes it feels like Bangkok in the streets as vendors lay out all of the pirated DVD’s. Movies such as ‘TheBodyguard’ but a Korean version seemed popular and tempting to buy.

E left and I headed back to Arusha just for one night. Arusha was ok, bigger city, bit dirtier, so I just wandered around the market – a street back from the main road but like being somewhere completely different – I left covered in mud. I continued my food quest and had meat and chicken pies (after spending 2 hours walking around looking for Steers, a South African burger chain which I came to love though must have sadly recently closed in Arusha) and for dinner a mix of Chinese and Ethiopian. My piki piki (motorbike) driver couldn’t find the restaurant and after we drove around for ages we finally started calling his friends, dropping in places he knew people, anything to ask where it was. I was determined. It was worth it, especially for the Heinz tomato sauce, the never-ending quest. Most tomato sauce is this pinky coloured watery version of sauce so I was very disappointed when during dinner my stomach bloated to the size of an 8 month pregnant woman, sulphur burps returned and I could literally eat no more. Had to unbutton my pants at the table. Always disappointing to leave chips and Heinz sauce unfinished on the plate. I had to take the labour position in my room for a while, those birthing classes have come in handy. My room in Arusha had no window, only an opening above the door covered in mesh – directly where the fluorescent hallway light was. At midnight when I couldn’t find the switch, any staff, or sleep I decided to check myself into a much nicer, darker room I had seen vacant and unlocked earlier in the day. Most lights in Tanzania are the fluorescent type. So no drama about still not having electricity at my house almost 5 months after wiring was completed.

I tried to attend the Rwandan genocide tribunal but they were off for holidays so will go back for that but all in all I returned to Singida feeling refreshed and ready to continue without going mental at someone. And managed to pick up 6 hotel soaps. Hurrah! I was disappointed to have missed the special performance in Ilongero by Bacon Boy, the local rapper. A shame to miss this, though I saw Bacon Boy the other day and he asked me to “give him some love”….he’s repulsive and sadly leaves me with bad thoughts of bacon.

I have been meeting up with a local lady who is going to do some freelance work with us for certain projects. First will be a week long Life Skills Seminar in the June school holidays so we are going to Singida this Friday to meet with organisations who can teach this. The hostel is still going over budget and none of the students returned from holidays with their next payment so M and I have been going around begging for favours to get food until we can pay back as G is still pretty out of touch and has not sent funds. Those days have been good for M and I to ‘re-bond’ as we had a falling out over the next incident at the site where the guard….yes the same guard who had previously beaten his wife and on chance number 3 – this time hit A the girl my age who lives up there with her young daughter and looks after the chickens. Surprise! He hit her with the handle of a machete. So anyway, no one saw that it was a problem that he was being locked up in the day but at night returning to the site for work where A was still staying. Anyone I told, M and eventually when she sent me to the police, them, simply said if he does something A can call and they will go. No thought to prevent the issue. So I had an argument with M, told G I was telling A to stay at my house which she said was ok, then when A didn’t turn up it was because M told her she had to stay. When I couldn’t get back in touch with A by phone M and I went up there to bring her back. Sadly his wife is still with him and chose to return home so I felt a bit awkward seeing her there with him, and sad for their kids. I armed myself with a stick, mostly in case of hyena’s, but once again the stick I chose oozes poisonous stuff so I ended up covered in that. Why is everything her dangerous? A couple of weeks ago I was playing with A daughter and pulled of some big leaves and stuck in my hair like elephant ears….turns out they were poisonous also. No more trees.

A bit of Ilongero gossip, yet to be confirmed and I am sure untrue. One of the ladies apparently tried to kill her husband by lacing his food with poison. Pretty sure untrue...she does seem sweet. Then a girl at the hostel was ill with headache, I noted down a couple of words I heard mentioned and when I later looked them up it was ‘genie’ and ‘spirit’ so apparently she has been possessed. Apparently some ship dropped an anchor on some sort of wiring system off the coast of Kenya which affects phone and internet connection in Tanzania and it has reduced it by 20%. Mama Shayo is as lovely as ever and has offered me the service of sending a child with my loaf of bread. Also we can call her before going for a banana beer and she will throw some in the fridge. My neighbours have been told to keep aside eggs for the white girl and Martha is always happy to go straight to the udder and get me some milk. Just some of the perks of being white girl alone. Also, everyone thinks our skin is just so different, so when you have a pimple people just tell you you need a mosquito net, and everyone is very concerned about me in the sun. I’ve been asked to sell my hair. Have to tie it up at one bar though as a guy that works there always strokes it as he walks by. creeeeepy, although I do love having my hair played with.

I had a great day in Singida a couple of weeks ago, being dragged around by M like when we first arrived but it was nice to do again. It was so hot, so we stopped at several friends of hers for free soft drinks on the way going between educational institutions to find out about ongoing education for one of the sponsored girls. I had a really good afternoon when M and I parted and I found out all I needed to know about courses and programs in Swahili. So for a day which started off with my dalladalla hitting a baby goat (leaves the score at Nicole 2 – Baby goats 0) it turned out well. I was sitting up front in the dalla so when I screamed and was left gap-mouthed for quite some time as the driver didn’t slow down before or after hitting it, everyone had quite a laugh. Then arriving in Singida went to the council office and met some people who ended up offering possible assistance for the hostel if I write a report (will be happy if I can just do this before leaving) and they bought me breakfast of goat soup which wasn’t all that appetising so soon after. Besides at the market, I tend to steer away from eating meat as when you do get a bit you think is nice and tender, it generally turns out to be an organ and by then it is too late. In the afternoon J picked me up and we cruised around to his ‘love song hits’, a staple in any true Tanzanian man’s collection. Amongst the hits by The Corrs, Westlife, Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias and Whitney Houston was the huge hit Sexual Healin by, as credited, Marving Guy. What a laugh. I may have been a Tanzanian man in another life, with a love of bad love songs (I am often sat down to watch film clips on a love song dvd), and soft toys (they will be all over the lounge room). We went down to Lake Singida for some food and drinks on the shore which was lovely as the sun was setting. From a distance the lake is looking such a bizarre milky blue colour at the moment. Saw someone being beaten, pushed to the ground and continually kicked on the street by several other men. This happens to thieves, rather than go to the police people will just beat them until they think it’s punishment enough.

Before leaving for Easter I went to the rocks for the day to read and get some good sunflower pics before they are all chopped for harvesting. I got up there, stripped down to my singlet and lay in the sun! Lovely. On the way I stopped in at the house where the people who owned the goat my dogs had killed live. I told the lady I wanted to pay for it by she told me “ACHA BASI!” “stop, enough’ and instead invited me to try milking her cow. Big fail.

The teachers at school seem to be on a beating rampage lately. They make the students go and find the sticks first. It’s funny from the view of M office, out one window is the teacher walking around with the stick, through the other window a bunch of students hiding behind a wall. Especially funny on the last day of school, as in all schools, kids literally run out of the classrooms. I was at the hostel kitchen and would see a group of students running by, then a minute later one of the teachers, stick in hand. Wait...that's not funny is it?

We met this old man the other day who gave M and I a pumpkin and then invited us into his yard. Something like entering the ‘secret garden’ with huge orange trees, papaya trees even grape trees. His house is ok from the front but when we went to his garden it had all collapsed and is open. But it seems he puts all his care into his yard, showed us his old photos from when he had a good job with the government and says now listening to the radio is his work.

I arrived back in Ilongero Easter Sunday, timing the journey quite well to miss any form of church. I had my gifts of 2 apples and packet of potato chips from my fiancé in town. Believe it or not apples are an exciting gift as at TSH800 a pop (about 50c) they are far too expensive. One of the teachers has been wooing me with boiled nuts and brandy, things you can’t get in Ilongero, so I always seem to have snacks in the house. I spent the afternoon with HM and their family for lunch which was lovely. Their kids are so nice and in the end were calling me ‘dada yangu’ ‘my sister’ or ‘dada Nicole’ only pronounced the usual Nicoleee. (Ellie now introduces herself as Helen). Then drinks with another teacher and his wife. Mama Willie got a bit tipsy, wishing someone a happy Christmas, but the highlight was HM asking about homosexuality. He explained he understood what men can do, but not women so I found myself explaining lesbian sex toys to him. This conversation was pre-beer! In Tanzania, the more lounges and seats you have in your living room the more important you appear to guests, as you obviously have many to need so many lounges. He has 6x2.5 seaters and 2x2 seaters. Whether they fit properly or are double parked in some cases does not matter. After drinks we returned to their house for dinner and I unfortunately as guest I had to finish off the meat…and ofal. Sat and watched more gospel music film clips and then they walked me home. The nice thing here is that no one will let you walk home alone.

The rains have stopped now. Had a final huge storm a couple of weeks ago. Funny how here the weather completely affects your plans as it was Saturday night and drinks were planned. By 8pm I had had enough, there was a river in the lounge room and I wanted a drink so when it looked to be dying down I got up to leave then it hit harder than before. The wiring out the front of the house was flaming so I put on my thongs and went to bed. Have some new visitors around the house. A welcomed one is a little hedgehog, which even though eats the garden (which never really grew after our unsuccessful attempt) is too cute to resist. Less welcome are the toads I find in the bathroom, having jumped out of the toilet bowl leave disgusting poo footsteps around. Also these armies of huge black ants, apparently if you get bitten by 15 or so you can die. One got me on the foot and these HURRRRRT, makes the entire foot pound with pain. I am reading a book ‘The State of Africa’. The neighbours son was looking through the photos and only knew the ‘villainous’ characters…Mugabe, Gadhafi, Amin etc. In an mgahawa here I noticed a calendar poster dedicated to Gadhafi as a hero. Funny how news obviously differs depending on where you are.

Posted by neerg_08 06:15 Archived in Tanzania Tagged arusha moshi dodoma singida Comments (0)

Being the Smelly Neighbours

Happy that this week is almost over after a fever, conjunctivitis and a broken laptop. Work has been better. M has been a lot more approachable for me and in a better mood. E and I get along really well so the home is going well. I do love our little house. Last Sunday we splurged on $1 for half a kilo of steak to make something of a ‘Sunday Roast’ and even managed to make some gravy and it was DELICIOUS! So getting used to what to cook. Plus our yard has sprung up with all of these vegetables, we’ll have pumpkins soon. Could probably set up a market stand.

No longer have the dogs. After being told off for walking them too close to a mosque (which I didn’t realise was a mosque, thought it was a building under construction) and then when taking them for walks and being yelled at when they stop for a #2 (which mind you all of the stray dogs do everywhere, but because they are not on a lead its no problem) and then the cost of feeding them and the time it takes to cook for them as well as us……well it wasn’t working out. The sister at the mission expressed interest so they live there now, hopefully being treated ok. She was very proud yesterday when I went to visit as she was cooking them dagaa for breakfast (she doesn’t usually cook at all) and she’ll actually pat them and had me write down their names so she doesn’t forget, so hopefully she genuinely likes dogs.

The rotten-egg fart burps returned a few weeks ago so that was fun. Think that was an ongoing bout of giardiasis from before I returned to Oz but seems to have finally gone. Being sick was a good chance to look around the medical centre and I ended up sitting in the front office window where people come for their medications and to report their diagnosis. There were some surprised faces when people came to my window. The fever was not a high point of my stay and hope I never have that again. Poor me.

A new policeman arrived in town a few weeks ago to oversee the Form 6 exams and has stayed on to work at the station here. I think everyone in the village is aware of his beauty (and as it later turned out, he is also) because when we talk to any of the girls at the sewing group about him they all know exactly who we’re talking about. He was all very gentlemanly when we shamelessly visited him at the station and he was telling us about the job and ‘human lights’ and how he ‘roves human lights’ but a few days later E and I went for drinks with him and a couple of the teachers and turns out he is not so perfect and tried to convince me to plan to be engaged with him and I told him if he could wait 6 years until I am ready then I’d write a contract saying what he would have to do i.e. washing, cleaning and he kindly offered to teach me how to do those things. When I said I knew how, I just didn’t want to do it he said its fine, he’ll get me a house girl. What a charmer. So anyway he is convinced we will get engaged though after a few more drinks he was confused whether he loves me or E.

My Kinyaturu name is going well, people now ask me when the rain will come and are very excited when my predictions are correct or if someone asks for rain and I ask what time they want it at and say I’ll try and it does rain that always goes down well. New career as a weather girl.

Our lovely neighbour, never stops working, came around last week with a ho and dug a hole for our rubbish and tidied up a bit (we’d started a compost heap which was really just a rotten smelly pile of crap in the end) and turns out we are the smelly neighbours and the smell had forced her to take action haha so embarrassing but we told her we are ‘learning Tanzania’ as with the kerosene stoves when we complained they were rubbish and M opened them to discover practically half a tree growing in there. Now I am going to her house some arvos to teach her and a few other people who may pop in some English. One of the girls is one of the girls sponsored by the org. She is lovely. Though in yesterdays lesson on verbs I wrote on the board ‘eatting’ … 2 t’s but thought I’d let it slide so I didn’t look like a complete tool. Don’t realise how much I rely on spell check.

Speaking of tools, E, M and I ploughed our garden last weekend which looks great now and are growing pumpkins, found loads of extra banana trees that were hiding in the huge weeds, plenty of tomatoes and have planted basil, sweet corn and capsicums. After one days work I was blistered and we had sore thighs for several days. Not the ideal Tanzanian housewife but I’m getting there.

Last week we went to the chipsi mayaii stand where there is a bar but we never usually go there to drink as it is quite the lads bar. But finally the 3 of us braved it and it turned into a really good night. Luckily I’d come prepared with my uno cards and that was a hit. We had quite the motley crew of friends including a guy in a shuka therefore named Maasai, a guy they all called Al Quaida and then father Krismasi. I am certain there is one santa hat that is passed around the village and want to start a collection of photos to put together a ‘where’s wally’ style book.
I had a nice weekend by myself and barely left the house. Explored some of the lollies being sold around and stumbled across a chocolate flavoured lolly pop that almost does the trick to keep a craving at bay. Sundays we also have home delivery of mandazi, a kind of donut only less flavoursome but when it’s a snack type food delivered to your door im not going to say no.

That’s about all here, storming most days which is nice, I’m not looking forward to having everything as dry as when I arrived – though washing will be easier and nice not to have clothes/towels smelling of mildew. Planning some travels for Easter and some public holidays so I don’t get too bored being in the one spot. So that’s exciting.

Posted by neerg_08 06:05 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania singida ilongero Comments (0)

Back in the Gero

Greetings Warafiki!
I am settling back into Tanzanian life just fine after my visit home and actually found I had missed this place.

The trip back was relatively easy and was proud to get a local price on my taxi from the airport in Dar es Salaam thanks to my residence permit and sort my own bus ticket out at the big stand in Dar which when I first arrived I would have found completely overwhelming. I only (unknowingly) agreed to one marriage proposal on the bus ride to Singida, which I didn’t realise until his friend who spoke some English congratulated me – but he was only in his 50’s so quite a catch for an old bird like me. I am often questioned as to why, at 25, I am not married. The floods in Dar have subsided thankfully so the roads were passable this time and I managed to escape mozi bite free even without a net. Always meet interesting people on long bus journeys and have fun making up excuses why I cannot give my number or fake a fiancé.

My Swahili has been terrible since returning! It is only just now getting to where I was before I left. The first couple of days especially I felt like I was just walking around gap mouthed as no words would come to me. Even last week I told someone I wanted to buy mende (cockroach) instead of embe (mango) and then told someone she had a mbwa (dog) on her, but meaning mbu (mosquito).

M appreciated the card thanking her for being my Tanzanian Mama as I realised when she held my hand everywhere we went for a couple of days. Though we are now starting to see, or should I say ‘hear’ another side of her as she has been complaining about us…we don't wash our sheets enough, among other things. looooong story and I suspect I know some of the real reason behind the issues but I Still love M, ups and downs. While I am fine to make an effort all day adapting to the Tanzanian way, when volunteers get home inside the house, we are going to be as we are if it affects noone else. After being told ‘you don’t want to upset the neighbours’ we very proudly snapped that in fact only on the weekend our lovely neighbour came and told us we were the BEST neighbours and gave us some milk.

Also returned to Ilongero to hear the sad news that the young boy I mentioned in an earlier email as being very sick passed away over the holidays. That was a real low point, feeling so helpless really. Poor kid. Ah.

My first Sunday back I went along with Maria to salimia a family who had a relative pass away. I didn’t realise until we arrived at the house as I didn’t know the word for died, but when we got there and I asked what we were actually doing M said “DEAD” so I got that subtle hint. I am still not sure who it was who had died but we brought some potatoes and spent the day with the family. It was fairly upbeat and I spent much of the day awkwardly laughing as they all told me that I should marry their brother and take him back to Australia. This is D, the very helpful guy at the bus stand….who has become very friendly and insists I tell him every time I am in town and he will get a taxi to drive by so he can say hello and then leave after a minute or so.

I brought out the new ‘Pin the footballer on the football’ game last week when some kids were around and while I am not sure they understood the actual game, they really enjoyed just being blindfolded and spun around….I kind of wanted a turn at trying to pin it on but they really hogged the blindfold – greedy kids. ;P Even with the hazardous rocks lying around it is still much safer than the game I saw an 8 year old playing the other day which involved balancing a machete handle on a piece of rope hanging from a tree and swinging it to see where the machete would land….hopefully not on himself.

I’ve also finally had the ‘honour’ (NOT) of experiencing the ‘wiggly finger’….this is when a man will shake your hand but will wiggle his middle finger in the palm of your hand. I’ll let you guess what he is alluding towards, and this is luckily one of the few incidents in which it seems you are allowed to be completely rude to an elder and apparently even a slap would be allowed. I didn’t get a slap in but I think I managed to embarrass him in front of his friends, though I then bought carrots from him as they were the best looking ones in the market. Lesson learnt? Maybe not.

Form 6 (Yr 12) had their Graduation last week so a government minister attended, bringing along a couple of men with AK47’s…not your average graduation. Head Master was so nervous about the special guests so I felt a bit guilty about having brought along our posse of dogs to run around like crazy when the kids had spent the whole week not in class but in the gardens. Even though me and L tried to sneak in the back just to take photos for some of the students who had asked me, we were of course ushered to the special guest section and had to stand up in front of everyone as usual and introduce ourselves. There were some performance by students and the minster made an almost 2 hour speech even M sitting next to me fell asleep. He only asked us to raise money to buy the school a car (not books or for more teachers of course) in front of hundreds of people but luckily M understood what he was saying quick enough to say “Nimefulia”-I am broke. That had everyone in hysterics and I think embarrassed the minister a bit which some people were not happy about but so he should be. A more exciting part of the day was ITV, a Tanzanian TV station came along and he had the camera pointed at L and I for quite a while as we awkwardly pretended not to notice. It was Australia Day ( I was sad to still be sober by this time in the afternoon on Oz Day!) so I was proudly wear my Oz flag thongs so hopefully they made it onto TV…the first time I have missed having a TV is when I may have been ON it. Also had one of the ministers who was sitting on stage pointing his phone camera at me, obviously bored of the main mans long speech. We find that in Singida a bit if we are sitting down someone will just come over and stand about 1m away with their phone pointed at us, and when it follows you as you move you know it is a video.

Went to Singida to buy things for the hostel and while there popped in to the HIV clinic. We got talking to an English lady who works there. In perfect timing, an English couple had just been there asking them if they could take in their dogs for 6 or so months as they were returning home. Long story short, went to Singida to buy material, came home with 2 dogs. I think the house should be safe now as people are so scared of them and they look especially ferocious if I put their muzzle on as well as being on a leash, but they are harmless to people as they are too scared really. There was one real test of love on the weekend when L, M and I took them and M’s dog and tag-along, pathetically sweet Clifford (Father K’s dog) past the rocks and to the lake for a fun family outing. The sunflower fields were blooming, the neon orange birds chirping and we were all having a jolly old time watching the dogs chasing herds of goats and cows for fun. Besides the giant leach type slug trying to suck my leg off in the water (though nothing compares to the demonic giant very leggy slug we found in the house last week, which I swear got stronger and bigger the more Mortien, 100% Deet, vinegar and kerosene we poured onto it to try kill it), it had been a great day until on the return journey Clifford got a bit too excited and actually pinned down a baby goat with the help of crazy-eyes Sammy. By the time we got to them and threw them off the poor goat it looked like its neck had been broken. It was soooooo cute too and I of course started crying thinking it was going to die. The owners came over and were luckily very sweet but I tried to hold back my whimpering even more when I thought someone was about to hit it in the head with a stick. False alarm, they carried it off and said it should be fine as eventually it managed to control its head again. Strike 1. Strike 2 was not such a happy ending. I didn’t even notice they had run off until Michael said the now infamous words “I think your dogs just killed goat”. Another baby one but this time not so lucky… While we at first suspected Sammy of being the main killer, I am starting to think maybe Max is the silent killer type. We went along with the young boys shepherding the herd to their home to speak to their family, assuming we would be paying them for the loss of a goat and they would be very angry. Turns out they were more sympathetic to us, told us we are like their children and the dogs are children of God so they are their children also and were more interested and amused at laughing at me looking poor and barefoot as I had lost my thongs in sinking mud I had become stuck in while trying to chase the dogs to yell at them for the goat murder. About 30 people ended up gathering to hear the discussion on how it could be settled, which I think ended with the suggestion we could pay for the equivalent of the amount of meat on the goat, luckily a small boney looking one. We are still waiting for the mans call but he was pretty drunk from a long day on the pombe so it is possible he has forgotten or maybe thinks he had the midnight munchies and got ravenous! Oh and one of the young boys returned my thongs which I had also broken trying to rescue them and he had repaired and cleaned them. How sweet. The family even wanted us to take the goat for the dogs to finish eating or for us to cook but then they would really have a taste for goat meat, and I just had the image of me walking through the village barefoot, muddy and dragging a dead goat behind me with 2 murderous dogs in tow.

Australia day was held a day late because of the graduation and I needed most of a day to prepare the food. I now know that when you invite someone to dinner here, a plus 1 (or even 2) is automatically implied so lucky I cooked extra as it ended up being for 12. It was my first ‘dry’ Oz Day in a while. My chipsi didn’t work out so I served it and instead called it Australian Roast Potatoes (more of a moosh of oil, salt and potatoes really) but the rice and spaghetti was fine with the coconut curry sauce and gingery tomato sauce. There was an awkward lull after dinner until V from Form 6 cranked up his phone music player and we all ended up dancing. M, L and I busted out an impromptu ‘500 Miles’ where everyone joined in with the “BADADA…” part and were laughing at us lunatics hysterically. Lots of innocent fun but I would’ve looooved a cold champagne.

Also very proud to have finally been giving my Kinyaturu name, Bula – meaning rain…even if it was given to me by a man wearing a Santa hat. Everyone gets such a kick when I introduce myself to them as Bula, and it is guaranteed to get you a proposal or 2, or an older lady offering you her son.

With work, I have been talking to an organisation about the possibility of linking the chicken and Moringa Tree projects together which is exciting. The watchman is still at the site! The link between the primary school here and the school one of the org’s trustees in the UK works at is almost complete – we have the letters and photos on this side so just have to send them off and get some replies. The primary school teachers are looooovely there and the main one who has been helping us is Mama Willie, Headmaster’s wife. It is kind of a pen pal program and to open students minds to other cultures. The students here are apparently currently learning about letter writing so that is perfect. With sewing, the bags were a little imperfect (we are going with ‘endearing’) when we checked over the final product. Many have had to be fixed but I have learnt a lot from the experience. E has now arrived to work with the group and expand the project to include more crafts and I have a good feeling about it. But the big news….THE HOSTEL FINALLY OPENED ON 1ST FEBRUARY after being completed for more than 5 years. So exciting and really happy to have been here for the occasion. 32 girls have moved in with Matron Sarah, who is lovely. Another 32 will be able to move into the other half in the near future. All of the sponsored girls have moved in and it has been really nice to see such support and congratulations from the community, surprisingly especially from older men. From all the pre-opening meetings, it seemed like there was a LOT of support coming from the girls fathers and grandfathers which was nice. The girls had done a lot of work cleaning the hostel before moving in, and so when they finally moved in their bags we started off some “LILILI’ing” which was hilarious and continued all the way to the kitchen. Everyone thinks L and I are a little nuts. We went along for the first evening meal, cooked in the newly built outdoor kitchen, and while the girls were eating I snuck back to the hostel and put a pink ribbon on every door so that they could all officially cut the ribbon to their new room. This was a huge hit. I was so excited for the cutting of the first ribbon to the main gate to be done by school matron Miss Muda I thought she was asking where to cut and didn’t realise she was asking for the scissors I had forgotten to give her. That night I was imagining the gossiping that would be going on the first night away from their homes.

What else…speaking to the agriculture officer about him holding another round of chicken training for women, arranging a couple of days a week to hold English exercise classes with the secondary school girls – particularly the girls staying at the hostel as well as starting a Fema Group (a ‘girl power’ type magazine here partly in English/part Swahili and a lot on girls issues), and starting to write some proposals for grants. All exciting and hopefully enough to keep me busy when L leaves in a couple of weeks.

The hyena’s are back from the sounds of things and I’m sure coming closer and closer, us 4 wazungu had a fantastic Mexican feast on the weekend cooked by M and for some reason L, E and I thought we would treat his eyes and dress up as men and making the closest thing we could to a sombrero (from a konyagi box) and using eyeliner to draw on mo’s and monobrows. Our neighbour popped by and couldn’t stop laughing, this is when she told us we were the best neighbours so I suppose that explains it. I had been thinking about who I could ask to help me by teaching me a bit of Swahili, in person is always better than by book, and in perfect timing today Martha asked me to help her with English and she would help me with Swahili so I think this will be a weekend thing I am looking forward to. Her whole family is just lovely, they will shoo kids away if they are peering through the windows, her teenage son works so hard and even climbed a tree for us to get down passionfruits when he noticed our tactic of swinging around a mop and trying to hit them down pinyata style was not going so well. Her father, Petrice, is the cutest old man I have ever seen. He must be 200 and has big glasses and huge teeth, so big we have learnt his language….Swahili spoken through teeth. He is always working on the farm still and wears his best blazor in the fields. Yesterday I saw probably the sweetest site possible to human eyes, of him and his equally old friend sitting out the front of the house and his friend shakily trimming Petrice’s hair. A lot of trust went into that haircut.

Today something really funny happened, which sort of explains the pace of life here….a lady was hurriedly walking past L & I (even overtook!) and said something about rushing to the bus stop. I said to L “wow that is the fastest I have seen anyone in Ilongero walk!” and she told me that no, the lady had told us “I am running”, so in fact it was the slowest run I had ever seen haha.

I am very excited we are brewing another couple of batches of wine, one is onion and zembarou-a kind of grapey thing-the other mango and zembarou).

G came for a few days, which was an eventful visit as there were some ongoing issues to discuss - on both sides. If I wrote this yesterday, there would probably have been a lot of swear words and it wouldn’t have passed anyone’s inbox security settings and you would all think I hate the place as it was a pretty crappy couple of days but I am lucky it has been the first negative days since arriving really and feeling much better after another meeting today, skyping A and knowing she understands what is happening, and knowing I will be calling G tomorrow to further discuss the problems.

Posted by neerg_08 06:00 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania singida ilongero Comments (0)

Titanic Holl

How crazy that it is nearly Christmas! Doesn’t feel like it here except the odd occasion a bar in Singida or the sisters at the social centre decide to put on a carol in Swahili. 11,500+ photo’s and 197 days in. I can’t believe its 4 months since my tour finished!!!

I've enjoyed the past couple of weeks, it has just been L and I and we have really been trying to get out and about and put our Swahili into practise. Some days I go really well, then others I can barely string an English sentence together, let alone Swahili.

The wedding was a good opportunity for this, though the day mostly consisted of “HALLELUJAH!” and “LILILILILILI”. It was really fun. Especially for a dry wedding. We were ushered to our seats of course down the very front, I was next to mother of the bride. Then the wedding party went outside to enter with the bride and groom, and we were included in the wedding party, dancing down the aisle behind the happy couple. Our gifts were perfect apparently and luckily we had been informed of the tradition of dancing up on stage with your gift to present to the couple. The flower girls looked very cute and had amazing wigs (among many on the day, but still not as good as our old man we see who wears a dyed mop head under his hat) they looked like extra members of The Supremes. Witnessed some interesting traditions including ladies throwing themselves on the ground in front of the couple, more handfeeding each other cake, lots of dancing similar to conga lines – fun – and of course we were made to join in with the Maasai jumping. I’m sure we were only encouraged for everyones amusement but that’s ok, we were probably laughing just as much at other things. Still can’t help getting the giggles with the loud & proud belching during meals, mid-sentence. I am still trying to slip the perfect one in. The wedding went for 8 hours and that was even cut short as the power went off and the generator for the music ran out of petrol so we didn’t even get to the after party, where the Sprite would have been flowing. But there was some form of dancing for most of the day and I was exhausted! It was a great day. I must admit we all looked fabulous in our new Tanzanian outfits.

G has been here a couple more times to visit and both times we have bombarded her with questions and things are now finally falling into place. Also the hostel is moving along for opening in the new year, woohooo. We handed out applications and had a meeting with students and guardians last week about how it will be run (community) etc. We are continuing to paint the hostel this week if it stops raining long enough for the walls to dry. I was pretty keen to do some cleaning there too until today when Maria showed us a room students have been using as it wasn’t locked…..there are a few suspicious looking ‘chokito bars’ on the floor and they have been DRAWING ON THE WALLS WITH POO! I got the giggles so bad when everyone was so disgraced by it but I couldn’t stop laughing, so grose it was ridiculous! Laughing again now. Heheehe.

Our house has been fitted with plugs and points for electricity, so now we are just waiting for the electricity company to wire it up. Thanks to the fundi, we have found the infamous rat! (R.I.P) Though when I emailed the photo of it to B and J, they were sure it is a different colour to their visitor.

The sewing group are going really well and have kind of assigned me as embroiderer for the Upendo label that they sew on. So I am not completely useless. We had a girl my age, E, visit last week who is currently working over near the Burundi border for an organisation focusing on crafts. She is coming to focus on the sewing group to develop further craft skills, which is exciting. We all went into Singida on Friday for Tanzania’a 50th Anniversary of Independence celebration. Not many people seemed to be all that bothered about the occasion. I must be great company as a guy trying some chatting up at the bar fell asleep talking to me then vomited on himself haha. We saw him at the end of the night on the floor as the cleaners had nudged him off the chair and table to pack up. And Celine Dion is so hot right now in Singida. Must be because of that new movie ‘Titanic’. I found a section in a shop in Singida with a bunch of Titanic merchandise. Amazing.

I have now written 2 police statements in Tanzania, something I never expected to have to do in another language. One for the camera, for which I was noted down as being a ‘pagan’ then another for an incident involving a man beating his wife, as she came to the house for advice.

Anna, who stays at the organisation's site just out of the village, took L and I to the rocks (probably featured in many of my photos) just out of the village for a day to walk around and the views are amazing! Especially as the purple clouds and lightning roll in in the afternoon. It looks like the set of The Lion King. She showed us rock art from the Stone Age, to be honest, as with most of my other ‘rock art experiences’ over here I didn’t know what I was looking at but just aimed my camera in the general direction. Why does every tree and bush in Tanzania have to have thorns??!

Yesterday we felt the lowest of low when we actually hid under the kitchen table from kids who were Hodi’ing outside. (to enter someones house or yard you say “Hodi” and the resident will say karibu, unless that resident is me). Some days I don’t mind taking a bunch of pictures for them or showing them some pictures and books or whatever but some days…..no.

Had another fun trip home from Singida Saturday evening. Waiting in the rain for over an hour being told yes a car is coming. Then found out the only one still running was across the road being repaired, so we snuck over there to see if we could get a lift. A little unnerving seeing your lift having the pole the wheels are on (sorry I have no knowledge of cars at all) being welded together, and seeing a lot of flames around petrol, I was torn between backing away from a possible explosion and losing a seat therefore spending another night in Singida, or getting to the front of that line of men trying to push on. I chose SEAT!

L and I are going to a Taarab concert in Singida on Saturday night and on Sunday Lydia - the sewing group teacher - is cooking us an early Xmas dinner. The big market is on again today so might head down and see what’s going.

Posted by neerg_08 11:13 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania singida ilongero Comments (0)

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