Friday, February 18, 2011

Spent a long time yesterday discussing the concepts of "private" and "public" with a teacher here. Very little is considered "private" here. Inside extended family groups (which covers just about everyone living here except missionaries) everything belongs to everyone. If only one person is bringing home a paycheck, everyone gets to benefit--even relatives living in other villages. We have had to get Paul a savings account at the bank so he can save money to pay the bride price for his love. If the money goes home, it disappears. The family takes care of everyone. Even theft doesn't have a word for "steal", they call it "collecting" figuring that if you left it out, you expected it to be collected. On the other hand, if a thief steals a phone or a watch, crowds will beat him to death. In Mwanza last week, a man stole a phone and was being doused with gasoline to be burned until our driver, Shaban, intervened and kept the crowd from killing him till the police arrived. A recent survey showed that 82% of Tanzanians thought this vigilante justice was fair and deserved. A country of contrasts. By the way, those explosions were because of power cuts that killed the air conditioning keeping the ammunition cool. It just heated up till it exploded. Doh! I'll explode if I heat up too much. Charlini's new English phrase yesterday was "Thank you, Lord!" It brought tears to our eyes.
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