Friday, December 12, 2008

Getting out of the House (CCS)

06 DEC 2008

Last weekend, I had to get out. Early in the morning, I packed a few clothes and hiked up to the main road - about 1km. Really I wanted to get some work done in town because it really is impossible at the house. I didn't bring a laptop on purpose, it just doesn't make sense if I plan on backpacking after.There is only 1 computer at the house and 15 people. It can get really antsy.

I take the Dalla Dalla to town. I've gotten a bit braver at riding it; plus its nice to get out fast - waiting for a cab and getting a herd of people to go with can take up to an hour. Plus, I started noticing that if I say Dalla Dalla, most people don't want to do it. They're too scared. Chickens.

I spend a lot of Saturday online. I picked the wrong place to do my work and it is so damn slow. I find out later I went to the wrong place but get my stuff done anyhow. Ran other errands; if i did this with anyone else they'd hate me by the end because I went to so many different places and didn't decide until the last minute which one I wanted to go to.

The power gets cut twice when I'm in town, so everytime that happens I take a break and walk around the block. There is an ice cream store and I pop my head in for some candy. Most foreigners here stick out like a sore thumb and everyone tends to chat with each other when they are just walking around. I also get to meet more people when I'm walking around by myself. Perhaps it's just me, but I hate being insular especially abroad. At the ice cream shop, I meet two Peace Corp workers.
The peace corp workers are hard core. They're out in remote villages for a commitment of 2 years by _themselves_. They seem really together mentally. I really admire the fact that they can deal with the hardship of living in really poor remote villages and be ok with being the only foreigner for long periods of time. I'm told that they come into town once a month for bank, internet, other goods and to meet other peace corp workers. Leiha is from Boston. She says it takes and average of 3 hrs, 1 hr of that by dirt road to reach each of their villages. Plus they are really nice people. I am so glad I got a chance to meet them; it's a completely different mindset from volunteers who are here for only a few weeks. And I really like it because it puts everything into perspective.

I meet another woman who is working on a massive linguistic project; to build a better swahili/english translation project online. Dricia is a South African that can talk for hours, but I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only person who thinks there are deep cultural issues at hand. Her project is forward thinking. I really like it and will be in touch with her.

By the time I'm done with all my errands, I have to pick a place for dinner. Next to the Kindoroko, the Taj Mahal has its grills out full force. The food is really good and cheap. For 1700 TSH ( or about 1.50?USD) I get a full meal. Two really amazingly good beef kabobs for 500 TSH each and a veggie/egg fried calzone for 700 TSH. lots of condiments, mint sauce. Delicious.

So glad I'm not going home to the base tonight. I crash at the backpackers hostel in moshi 1 block away. What a good deal - 8400 TSH for single. Too bad I didn't bring a towel.

07 DEC 2008
Sunday I went on a coffee tour with Bushmen Expeditions. It was only 4 of us from the house and it was nice to get away in a small group. It is a long 1 hr hike out to Mnambe falls. But it is amazingly beautiful. And I liked the exercise too. Hiking is a must do here. For a minute I felt like I was transported to Hawaii or some other tropical paradise.

After the hike, we don't just learn about the process of making coffee, we actually make it ourselves! It was a lot of fun. Oscar is one our guides and we make coffee in his grandfather's village. It's african style but to me its' not authentic. If you look closely you can see the hints of modern technology and money. From a distance the huts look poor, but inside you see a great sound system, tv and they have cable and a big antenna outside. Nice concrete floors as well. The chickens are really fat and well fed.
Totally different from the really sad chickens and dogs that are running around near our compound. I have never seen such sad pecked out chickens or dogs with every single rib showing, sick and underfed.

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