Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I've Finally Been Outdone!!

Feb 01, 2012

Part 1
It’s 520am. I’m wide awake. I can’t pinpoint one cause of my extreme alertness but rather a multitude of causes that of course I’ll share with you! (obviously :).

But first, some background info. I’m in Mwanza!!! HORRAY!! I made it! I’ll give you a quick run down of the week before departure. On Monday (jan 22) I took the 600am bus to Moshi, at the base of Kili. It’s amazing how your sleep patterns can change so drastically in such a short time. Now, getting up at 400am is hardly a shock to the system. In fact, I actually like getting up at 400am as I can enjoy a few hours of only +25C instead on the constant scorching +40C. I was checking out the thermometer the other day and it read +34C inside. It’s was 820pm! I haven’t seen it dip below 29C inside and even than, it was around 430am. I did see it climb as high at 37C and that’s inside, in the shade, which means that I can only guess what the temperature is outside in the sun! Anyways, I digress! (shocking :).

So, off to Moshi (which is not to be confused with my friend, Uncle Moshi). I had a nice visit with my friend Rasta Rich (a jewellery maker & seller whom I’ve worked with in the past). Unfortunately for me but fortunately for them, other friends have moved away. Some to study, others for work. It’s funny, the city looks the same as when I left, but clearly, life has moved on. It’s so hard to believe I’ve been away for over two years. I had a nice visit with Rasta Rich. I made some paper bead necklaces and sold some stuff. By the end of Tuesday, my sea urchin sting had swollen to new proportions! Even walking on it was a challenge. I hurried off to the internet café and did some research. Apparently digging out the spines with a pin is NOT recommended. Whodda thunk it? The internet wisdom recommended using vinegar to dissolve the spines. So, I hobbled to the store, bought me some vinegar and headed back to the guest house. I did a hot water soak and a vinegar soak. By this time, the swelling had already worked its way up my ankle. I didn’t get any luck after the first soak, but by the second hot water soak I was able to squeeze out the spine along with some tears! It was very exciting! It was a decent size too! I considered keeping it but it was nowhere near as impressive as Walter the Worm so I tossed it. It felt much better once I actually got to spine out. I guess all the running just worked to push it deeper and deeper in my foot!

I headed back to Dar Wednesday morning after a mere 39 hours in Moshi. I spent the rest of the week in Dar getting work done on the internet, checking out a football game between two Tanzanian men’s teams and the highlight was going to see Twiga Stars, the women’s national soccer team take on Namibia in the African Women’s Championship qualifier. The game was amazing!!!! There is a new stadium is Dar that holds 60 000 people and though it was far from full, it was still an impressive sight. I couldn’t believe how many people came out to support the women’s team. It was amazing! Not only were there close to 20 000 people, everyone was fully enthralled in the game. The men and women were ecstatic! Everyone was wearing jerseys and cheering like crazy! The men couldn’t say enough good things about how great the women played… and it was totally legit praise… not like.. “they played well….. for girls..” Twiga stars ended up winning 5-2 and one player whose nickname is “fundi”, which means “expert”, scored 3 goals and 1 assist. She was amazing!!! She had sweet passes, never hogged the ball and could walk by 2 or 3 players without blinking an eye. It was impressive!!! Way better than the men’s game I has seen the day before!

So, Monday morning (of this week), I once again got up at 400am and said goodbye to my house mates in dar. Have I mentioned my house mates yet? Forgive me, if I have, but they were pretty awesome people so I think they deserve a quick shout out. So, there was “wifi” who is the wife of a friend of Uncle Moshi’s. His friend is working in Arusha so Wifi was renting a room at uncle moshi’s with her 2 kids Nasala (Na for short) and Mariam (Mamu for short). Wifi is my age and is AWeSOme!! She works so hard around the house. I felt ridiculously guilty and tried to help as much as possible but I already know for fact that I don’t make a good African wife. Wifi would get up everyday and clean the house, make tea, take care of her kids, and then prepare lunch and dinner for us. Wifi made awesome beans with shaved coconut! I loved them!!! I tried to contribute by carrying water from the pump, cleaning a bit, and washing some dishes, but I avoided the kitchen altogether. I know what skills I have and which ones I definitely don’t!! Wifi’s kids were 3 ½ and 1 1/2. Na, the older one is super quite and calm and Mamu, the younger one is crazy! She’s always talking and running around shaking her booty! They were super cool kids!!! I also lived with Babdogo (Uncle Moshi’s uncle who only like 23 years old) and his wife, Mama Asubuna. Asubuna is their first kid. He’s almost 2 and Mama Asubuna is probably 18 or 19 at most, so you can do the math. Asubuna was living with us for a while but he went to stay with his grandma because Mama Asubuna is 8 months pregnant and could pop any day. It pained me to watch her. So, those were my housemates. I said good bye, and then Uncle Moshi and I headed up the hill to the main road with my 4 bags in tow.

I got on the 6am bus to Mwanza and at 1030pm, a mere 16 hours later, I pulled into the Mwanza bus stand with a warm welcome from TABITHA!!!! HORRRRRRRAYYYY!!! Let the work begin. We headed to her house (2 little rooms in a strip of side-by-sides) and I crashed instantly. We got up yesterday and headed to kisesa, the village nearest to our land, to find a house. We looked at a big one up on a hill but decided it was too big, too far, and too expensive (133$/month). We found another house that we thought had already been rented but to our JOY and good fortune, the people hadn’t moved in yet… So, as is the way of business here in Africa, we showed them our money and we got it!!!!!!! Hoorrayyy again!!! Things are looking up!!!! It’s a beautiful house!! Simple cement construction, 3 bedrooms, a room for a kitchen, a sitting room, bathroom and shower inside (but no running water), electricity, and 3 little rooms outside for cooking and storage!!! Very exciting and the price was right- 70$/month!! It’s awesome! We were both excited! It’s super filthy right now and there is more bat poop than I prefer, but.. it’s great!!! :)

So, now back to the present…it’s 520am. Our plan is to go clean our new house today, but for now, we’re at Tabitha’s “house”. Like I said, there are a multitude of reasons that I’m awake… For one, it’s super hot and being that her house is 2 small rooms, circulation is minimal and she doesn’t have a fan. Two, there are lots of mosquitoes. I have a net but somehow they still manage to find your ears and buzz away. Three- sometime around midnight, the neighbour started fighting with her boyfriend. Apparently she is one of the neighbourhood drunkards. She was screaming for a couple of hours and apparently things got violent. I couldn’t understand most of what was going on so I stayed in bed. Tabitha was outside for a while with the rest of the neighbours. Apparently she was beaten until she passed out. Crazy stuff! I knew something was up when it suddenly got quiet at 3am. She was taken to the hospital and her boyfriend was beaten by the other women in the neighbourhood. The police eventually took him away. Not a pleasant situation. The last reason that I haven’t slept last night… is actually beyond my sharing in a bulk email. I know I promised to keep you along for the whole ride, but this time, as I alluded in the subject line, I’ve finally been outdone. Even I will spare you the details on this one. If you’re really curious, I don’t want you to feel left out, so feel free to google “side effects for women taking antibiotics in hot climats” I’m sure you’ll find your answer. It’s been a painful 6 days since I started taking antibiotics for my foot! And a 16 hour hot bus ride didn’t help… so needless to say, there have been quite a few sleepless nights. Hopefully any day now, I’ll return to full health!!!!!!! Fingers crossed!! :)

Part 2- 02 Feb 12
It’s Thursday at 800pm. I’m sitting on a rock outside my new home, typing this email, enjoying the starry sky and listening to Beyonce belt out Single ladies. All and all, not a bad way to pass the time. We officially moved in today! We did a huge clean on Wednesday, with help from Tabitha’s friend and her daughter and daughter’s friend. It was a big job, sweeping, mopping, scrubbing the walls, etc.. but we got it all done and it looked amazing! Tabitha and I were exhausted by the time we got home as neither of us slept much the night before due to the fighting. This morning, we got up at 500am and packed up the two rooms. It’s amazing how much stuff Tabitha has! I felt bad about my four bags, but Tabitha definitely put me to shame! We hired a little pickup truck, loaded up our stuff and we were on our way by 730am. We got ¾ of the way there when the pickup died. The driver worked some magic and we were off in no time. Then, while trying to manoeuvre down a crazy bumpy, rocky, sand road, we managed to get a flat tire! Oh, the fun never stops! The driver got the tire off, took it back to town, got it patched up and we were once again, on the road. He managed through the crazy paths without flipping the truck, and we were very thankful! He delivered everything to our house and we got to unpacking and setting up! Tabitha’s friends came over and helped us set up and roasted some corn on the cob! Delicious!! It was a great day and now, Tabitha and I are sitting outside, relaxing after 3 busy days! By Sunday we should be out at the property and I’ll be sure to send back some pictures!

I hope you are all doing well!! I hear the weather is still a little too hot for “winter”. Be thankful it’s not +40C!

Oh yeah, last thing before I go. I forgot to mention it last bulk. So, while I was in Zanzibar, I was at the internet café. I took my phone out to check my phone number and put it down beside my keyboard. When I finished, I of course, left without my phone. I walked the 5 minutes to the bus stand, got on the bus and made it to the second stop before I realized. I jumped off the bus, started running back but then decided it would be faster to hop on another bus and head back. So, back to the bus stand, ran back to the internet (which definitely got some laughs from the locals, I guess they don’t see many fat girls running). AND to my complete joy, the worker at the café had picked up my phone and put it behind the counter!!! So, score one for the good guy! I guess it’s a tie now! One phone stolen, one phone saved! After all this, I’ve even figured out the moral of the story.. I gotta start remembering where I leave my phone!!! :)

Okay, peace, love, and lots of hugs! Tomorrow is Mama Africa day so give a little extra lovin’ to your African mamas (or in their absence, your white mamas will do too!)