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Published: November 13th 2008
Well the trip so far has been great at least from a tourist perspective … I got off the plane in Dar Es Salaam and was taken to the FPCT (The Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania) compound. The rooms were like those you would find in an ‘80’s hotel that hadn’t seen any up grades in a while. Oh well, I am in Africa not the Holiday Inn in Cambridge!! We left the compound at 4:00 AM as it will be a 1200 km ride to Tabora … that was a 16 hour trek!! The roads were OK for a while, but then they became horrible … I can only relate it to some of the roads that go to the shore in Nova Scotia … they weren’t roads. Boulders sticking out every where, HUGE potholes, and twisty, it was an adventure all right. The big transport trucks all travel this same road and if they break down the driver stops and makes the repair .. right there in the middle of the road!! No CAA here I tell ya! To top it all off, Elias the Director, drove at like 120 - 130 on the good roads and 80 - 90 on the bad roads … he kept saying that’s why you need a Land Cruiser down here. The last part of the trip was worst … it was raining and the roads were like mush, speed got reduced a little bit! Oh ya, if there’s someone on the road or riding a bike, the car has the right away so he honks the horn and people scramble. Moms with babies and groceries leap for the sides of the roads. Even the cows, chickens, and goats seem to know to get out of the way. The only time we slowed down was when we came to the quite regular speed bumps (on the highway of course), at that point we are greeted by throngs of people, mostly kids selling us their wares …fruits, vegetables, potatoes, bananas, pineapple, live chickens, beans, and cooking oil. Elais wanted banana’s when we stopped we had two guys run up and try to sell us … Elias picked the bunch he wanted and then decided on a price. A third came up and tried to sell us Pineapples.
The houses along the way were amazing; mud huts with straw roofs, a crude fence made with sticks and long reeds created a barrier from the outside world. Some places were well kept with multiple buildings, likely extended family or simply separate buildings according to functionality. The locations of most of the homes are quite random, they either appear totally separate to everyone or they are in a big cluster. Then you’ll see the kids tending to the cows and goats … one kid might look after 30 or more, apparently that is his job ALL day … and I can’t get the boys in my house to take out the garbage once a week!! (Sorry Phil & Mike). The girls help with the meals (now I get to attack your sisters, boys) I can’t tell you how many girls were pounding and sifting grain as we drove by. Some were doing the laundry while others were playing with their younger siblings strapped to their backs. I can’t even imagine the grief I would experience if the girls in our house were asked to do all that EVERYDAY and not have a TV to entertain themselves with???
The first thing you notice is the incredibly bright coloured dresses and shawls on the ladies … absolutely gorgeous and it doesn’t matter where they live, rich or poor they are still just a vibrant. I went to church this morning with Samuel (he’s also the one who got me to the Internet Café to send this) I didn’t understand one word but that’s OK I had fun … but the ladies there were dressed in their finest I am sure. Incredibly bright colors. By the way Samuel drives all old Suzuki 4X4 about a 1986 jobbie, seats aren’t bolted down so that he can put people into the back seat he built, and it rattles like crazy since the roads are all dirt and a mess.
There’s a noticeable aroma here, that think is from the charcoal they burn. Along the way here I saw many areas within a bush that were purposely burning or are burnt .. this is where the charcoal comes from. The mud hut folks then bag it put some straw on top, tie the bag and sell it on the side of the street. The whole family works on this project, from babies on their mothers backs or front, to the grandparents. The charcoal is purchased by just about everyone in this country and used in homes for cooking and heating.
Speaking of food, I am struggling with the food a bit, I think it has to do with my experience in the food business … I will get over it one way or another, but a nice bowl of Corn Chowder from Timmes would taste good right about now … as for Timmies, oh man I’d give almost anything for one right now! Chicken ahs been served in all of the meals I have had so far … breakfast was bread and an egg! Its very tough, since they are the layer birds that you can see running around everywhere. Its sure not the good stuff we get at home. I asked for a coffee yesterday in a restaurant; they handed me a mug, a flask of hot water, and a tin of instant coffee. The coffee was as fine as sugar, I proceeded to put a heaping tablespoon like you would do. The whole cup bubbled over … apparently you have to pour it in slowly! Then I asked for cream … I was looked at like I had nine heads, then they proceeded to give me milk, which foreigners can’t drink … its not Pasteurized! So she handed me a Tetra Pak that I could purchase, or in my case I drank it black with lots of sugar (sugar here is like the “natural” stuff we can get).
After we get done at the Café we are going to see our Foster child. I will be able to deliver the 10 lbs of gifts that Denise and the kids sent along … I’m really looking forward to that!
Anyway, enough for now! I will try to get on each day.
Thank you to all of you for your prayers, kind words of encouragement and general overall suppor
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