Sunday, January 9, 2011

A bit of this and that

Somehow, in a country where everything is slower than slow, I always feel rushed at the internet cafe.  Especially during the last post.  I had not thought about what I would write in my last blog and as I was running out of time, I was sure I was missing something.  I was.

I'll start with the dala dala.  Some of you heard me talk about the dala dala before I left the States.  It is the main mode of local transportation here in Tanzania.  Picture this: an old, rundown, VW-type bus, with vinyl covered bench seats from the 1950's, a sliding door that is only closed at "high" speeds, and 28 people crammed into a space suitable for 9.  All of this wouldn't be so bad, except the temperature on the dala dala is at least 90 degrees.  When you want to stop and get off, you hiss at the "doorman" who is busy hanging out the window looking for more passengers to cram on board.  It is truly a circus!

On Wednesday, when we went to Arusha we took the dala dala to the bus station here in Moshi where we transferred onto a "bus".  There is not a traditional bus schedule - instead, Ally has taught us to look for the "most reliable-looking" bus, negotiate a fare, and then hop on board.  At times, you can wait up to 30 minutes for the bus to fill up, before it leaves for Arusha.  And yes, although it is not quite as bad as the dala dala, we still sit 5 or 6 to three seats.  Our 40 mile trip took about 2 hours.

From what I gather, the government owes money to the electric company here in Tanzania.  As a result, the electricity goes out at different times every day for about 6 hours.  I tried to post Friday, but the electricity cut out and I lost my blog.  I am now sitting here, blogging on Ally's computer, while watching some sort of Tanzanian TV show - sort of like Cops meets America's Funniest Home Videos meets a soap opera.  As if that weren't bizarre enough, the chicken family is making its way across the living room into the kitchen pantry where it will settle in for the night!

Despite all of the craziness, I love Tanzania.  Fatouma, Sumaia (I spelled it wrong before), Esther, Ally and Deo have made this my home away from home.  There is so much laughter in the house!  We have become a chezi (crazy) Tanzanian family.

I have a new favorite Swahili phrase I learned this week.  It is the best way I can think to describe the mentality and attitude of the people here in Tanzania:
Usewe na wasi wasi - Breathe your worries away.


  1. Oh, Becki, it sounds like you are so happy!!!! I love the expression usewe na wasi wasi...breathe your troubles away! What a great expression and how true...if we just took time to breathe many of our problems would resolve, or seem less trouble! I think of you each morning when warm water comes out of the is a luxury! Continuing to pray for you! Love it when we hear from you, and waiting for your next adventure!

  2. LOVE THAT! "breathe your worries away"! You'll have to teach me how to say that when you get back :). So cool to read about your experiences and adventures half a world away, love "going along" with you on your news journeys! Had to laugh when I read about the chickens walking by as you write, got a mental picture and it made me chuckle! Can't wait to continue to hear all your stories and "happenings"! Praying for you and will be continuing to follow your blog as you go, so fun!
    Love You!

  3. I love love love your blog. Thank so much for the blog I feel like I am right there with you. This is wonderful. Tell my girl Sarike I daid HEEEY! You must of course draw it out as I am a southern girl! Can't wait to hear more Swahili!
    By the way it's Debbi from Rustic I cannot figure out how to get my name on her.

  4. So, I have finally caught up to today's post. Dut to your electricity cutting out at random times, and rushing to write a blog, I am sure your won't see my comments from before until you get home. So let me just restate everything I have said thus far. For one, I am glad to see you have not "what? who?" figured out how to get rid of the chickens and (hopefully) the rooster yet. Although, you haven't mentioned the rooster in as many days as you've been there. Secondly, I am hoping all that Swahili will stay in your brain until you get home, because I can't wait to teach the girls that. It just might become my secret way to yell at them in public! ;) Thirdly, I miss you and love that I can live all these memories through you. I am also glad that you will have this blog to look back on one day, and see all of the comments of those that love and support you. I am also going to talk to my CATHOLIC priest and see what kinds of strings he can pull to get those little babies at the CATHOLIC orphanage educated. I love you.
    Wanaweza kupata mkuu matajiri na furaha ya kweli mbele ya nyumba yako jouney huanza. Yes, this is real Swahili.. love you!

  5. Glad things continue to go well for you. I too love the saying... Breathe your worries away. Continue to have fun and learn all that you can. Praying for you