Wednesday, March 5, 2014

“Jua ni mkali!" (The sun is very fierce.” ― Swahili saying

While we enjoy a very temperate climate here with temperatures never dropping below 65 degrees F. and hardly ever climbing above 85 degrees F., it is very, very hot when you are in the sun.  About a third of Tanzanians will carry parasols or wear hats as the sun will burn them as it does those of us with fair skin.  Since we are almost on the equator (actually 1.8 degrees south), the sun shines directly down with nothing to ease its fierceness.  We have no dawn and no dusk, the sun pops up in the east every morning between six and seven A.M. and drops below the horizon every night between six and seven P.M. giving us almost twelve full hours of sunshine every day.  Even during the rainy season, we have sunshine most of the day until the rains blot it out for four or five hours, and sometimes, if the rain comes during the night, the sun shines all day in the height of the rainy season.  So, as you can see in the picture at the right (the dish towels are drying on the fence), we have to protect our clothes hanging on the line from “jua mkali” or everything with color fades away, not to mention that during the rainy season, unprotected clothes get what we call a second rinse.  We had a thatched thing over the clothes line but termites rotted the wood and a monsoon rain destroyed the whole thing, so we are starting over.  This time we are treating the wood and using what they call here “iron sheets” to protect our clothes.  We will paint the tin a rust-proof green, so it will blend in with the rest of the buildings.  Unfortunately, Amos was our thatcher guy and he is gone, so green it will stay.  By the way, local culture does not allow you to hang your underwear out to dry where passers by will see it, so we have a separate clothes line near the house and out of sight of the fence for our unmentionables.  Having our clothes line dried makes them smell and feel really great, and we do not miss the heat, power cost, and noise of an electric or gas dryer.  Sometimes, what God gave us is just what we need.
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