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.