May 24, 2010

wtf moments

It's been a while since I've had one of these, or at least had one and then had the good sense to write an entry for you guys.

Last night was just too weird NOT to type something up about it. As I was walking home from town in the evening yesterday, I happened to walk by the social centre (just a big hall for hosting weddings and other events), and there just happened to be a bunch of white people walking in at the time.

May 16, 2010

record time

I just got back from a small weekend trip up to Singida town, and I think I've suffered whiplash.

The road between my site and Singida is partially dirt road, and in normal driving conditions, you can make the drive in about 2 and a half or 3 hours in a large bus, as was the case on the way up yesterday. Today, I left Singida town at about 3:30pm, and arrived at my site 4 minutes before 5. I'm convinced the driver of the Bunda Express (which certainly deserves its name) was a rally cross driver in a previous life, because I'm fairly certain we were doing 80 km/hr around the turns on this dirt road. I sat in the back, so part of this is my fault, but there weren't many other seats open. In any case, at one point during the bus ride, I went airborne and landed in the seat next to me, about 3 feet to the left. I tried to retain good humor about the whole experience, thinking eventually he would have a heart for the poor folks in the back of the bus, but I think he actually increased speed intentionally over some of the bumpier parts, maybe having the logic that he was lessening the impact on everyone.

If this was America, this guy would get sued 6 ways to Sunday and have his license revoked forever, and probably get thrown in jail. But in Africa, all I can say is we made good time...and maybe the guy's an idiot.

And thank God I survived.

May 9, 2010

small thoughts

While I was walking back from the market today after a long morning stroll, a rickety old motorcycle (which I will henceforth refer to as a pikipiki in my blog, because I like to say it that way) passed by and I caught a good whiff of exhaust fumes. Strangely, it smelled like a golf cart, and I was immediately longing for rolling fairways and manicured greens. I suppose it doesn't help that I've been watching Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore non-stop this past week. nnnnnnnNOONAN!

Mom and Dad, make sure you put in some tee times at St. James for me the next time I come home, whenever that may be.

May 3, 2010

project oasis: day 2

Things have been going well on the OASIS front. I've cooked more in the last week than I have in the past few months! I consider that in itself a major victory. I'm still not very good at lighting fires though; I nearly run through an entire box of matches each time I attempt to start up the charcoal jiko.

Also, one of the walls in my house has seen a paint job, and a rather unorthodox one at that. It was inspired by one of the volunteers I shadowed during training; one of her walls was painted like this. If you can figure out why I painted the wall the way I did, leave your best guess in a comment. I'll reveal the answer next week, hopefully with another video.

May 2, 2010

project oasis: day 1

I have declared war on my house.

Last Sunday night was the first time I slept in my house in about 23 days. Granted, about 16 of those days were because of IST. It's hard to pinpoint the reason why I don't want to sleep in it, but generally it has to do with how dirty it is. It isn't clean by any sense of the word, and I had become a bit pessimistic about the process of cleaning it. Because I have a colony of bats taking refuge in my ceiling (they've been here longer than I have), the house doesn't stay clean very long after it's been swept and mopped. After a few months, I had essentially decided to give up. Instead of fighting back, I simply avoided the problem; for a month, I literally did nothing in my house besides sleep. Then, about a week before IST, I didn't even do that. I took shelter in my second master's room until I had to leave for Dodoma.

But now, after IST, I've realized the importance of having my own space and keeping it clean. I'm fairly certain that having a home I feel comfortable in will go a long way in helping me do my job better, and that the length of my stay here is almost entirely dependent on my house at this point. While I had found a way to survive without it for some time, I don't think that life was in any way sustainable for 2 years.
It's now time for me to fight, and take back what's mine!

And for those of you who are artists in the audience, I invite you to help me pimp my house! When I do get things back to an inhabitable state, I'm looking to start decorating the walls, preferably with African-inspired art. If any of you have ideas, leave a comment or send me an email. If you can upload drawings or sketches of layouts or designs, even better!  In return, I will brew you some wine when I get home; I just started my first batch of Orange-Pineapple last Tuesday and I'm very excited to see how it turns out!