My first mattress had the consistency of one of those foam pits kids jump into. From the first night that I sank down into it and onto the wood bed frame, I knew I was going to have a tough time sleeping. What I didn't know what that once it caved in, it would never regain it's shape. I spent a couple of weeks trying not to fall into the pit in my mattress every night in order to avoid a sore back in the morning. Late last week, I confiscated one of the mattresses from another room that was no longer in use. After 5 minutes on it, I thought I would be sick. It literally smelled like cow manure. For two nights I try air freshener, sneaker spray and candles. Nothing helped. On Monday, Fatuma helped me switch mattresses - again - and I am finally sleeping well! Most nights I feel like a 5 year old kid in my malaria net fort....and I have to admit, I love it!
Remember Memoria, the gigantic flea market in my neighborhood I told you about earlier? It is only open on Tuesdays and Fridays and, yes, we were back again yesterday. On the hunt for shower curtain rings - which we didn't find last time - and some containers to store rice, sugar, flower and ugali in. The containers we found right away. 8 large containers and 8 smaller containers. They were brand new and the total was less that $15 US. Perfect. On our search for shower curtains I discovered what must be the biggest "Bridesmaid Dress Graveyard" in the world. Tara, you should get on a plane and get right over here. Many of the dresses looked like they were right up your alley!! On Friday I may return again just to take pictures so that you can all see these beauties. You may even spot one you were forced to wear!
Anyway, I finally found a few shower curtain rings that were attached to a curtain. Unfortunately, my stubbornness got in my way. The girl would not let me purchase just the curtain rings. She wanted me to buy the used curtain, as well. Usually when you say no and begin to walk away here, the vendor will track you down and change their mind. They see a mzungu (white person) and try to get all they can from us. Well, this time it didn't work - and I am still showering behind a moldy door. Fatuma laughed at me and away we went.
To be honest, yesterday was not my day. Every daladala was full or just sped right past us, so Fatuma and I ended up walking the 7km into town to buy medicine for little Abu, who we had visited earlier yesterday morning. When we got to the pharmacy I was cut off several times by other customers who kept pushing in front of me, over me or around me at the counter. Then we went to the post office so that I could mail some postcards and register a PO Box for JustUsFriends. The woman in the office said my postage was 100 Tsh short, but she didn't have 100 Tsh stamps so I needed to buy 300 Tsh stamps. When I purchased the stamps the guy at the postage counter outside said I had what I needed. I went back outside to him and found out the woman was just trying to charge me extra postage. And the PO Box? Well, they're all taken and we'll have to wait until next month to see if there are more. Oh, and the guy who manages the PO Boxes is on leave so no one can tell me how much they will cost.
After the 7k walk, the pharmacy and the post office, Fatuma and I decided to grab a quick lunch. An hour later our food arrived and her order was wrong. Fast forward another thirty minutes and we were finally on our way to the market. By this time it was about 3pm and we were pretty much exhausted. So exhausted that when the spice guy handed me the bucket of pili pili to look at I didn't think twice and took a big whiff - of spicy red peppers. Pretty sure I burned my smelling sensors and sneezed about ten times (with no Kleenex or toilet paper to be found anywhere). I broke the Golden Rule: Don't ever leave the house without toilet paper.
After the market we went to the paint store where I was interrupted several times, again, and purchased more paint for the house. I'm overseeing the interior painting of our house in Moshi while Jasen is gone and it is quite the task. After one coat, the walls are nearly as dirty as they were before. No one speaks English and trying to explain the the paint belongs on the walls and not the ceiling, floor, baseboards, beds, suitcases, shoes, shower grout, light switches and windows is a bit difficult. You get the picture.
As frustrating as the day could have been yesterday, I've learned to take things in stride and laugh at as much as possible. It helps to have Fatuma with me. She sees the humor in everything. For being a Tanzanian who was raised in the villages, she has more of the mentality of a mzungu than a local. And while she's more forgiving at times than I am, she finds many of these experiences to be as crazy as I do, too. I don't know what I'd do without her.