Saturday, July 26, 2014

“I live in a landscape in which every single day of my life is enriching.” —Daniel Day-Lewis

There is no such thing as an average day here in Tanzania.  Today, Shaban and I had to drive to Musoma to cash a check, pay for our internet, pick up some diabetes medication for me (Metformin), and buy some wazungu food at a relatively new store called Alpha.  While we were gone, John fell down the steps and hurt his ankle.  He has had a remarkably bad ankle since he was a little boy, and it doesn’t take much to put him in a lot of pain.  Shaban and I were in Musoma with the car and our favorite taxi driver is a Seventh Day Adventist and not available on Saturday (their Sabbath), so he called me in Musoma to contact Shaban (we were separated doing different things) so that Shaban could call a taxi in Bunda to pick up John and Mom to run some errands.  Amazingly, we did just that and ran into them just as we made the last turn to get back to the mission in Bunda.  While Shaban and I were on the way to Musoma, we got flagged down by the police.  The police here are not armed (they do have a billy club) but if you don’t do what they say, they can have armed soldiers around you in a matter of minutes.  Anyway, we pulled over and just like in the movies, the policeman said, “Follow that car!”  A car had failed to stop for the police, and, having no car of their own, we were commandeered.  So for a while, we were the police car in a car chase.  It didn’t last long before the car pulled off and the driver got out running.  We stopped and let our policeman out, and he gave chase.  We drove on never knowing what happened, but Shaban assured me that the culprit would be brought to justice and punished.  The drive to Musoma used to take an hour and a half and now just takes about fifty minutes because the Chinese came and paved and widened the road all the way to the Kenyan border, taking out all the speed bumps along the way and putting a two-lane bridge where a one-lane bridge used to stand.  We left at 8:30 A.M. and were back just before noon having accomplished all of our missions and bringing back ice cream for Karen and corned beef for John (some of the requests).  Shaban will be gone for the first two weeks of August for a big family meeting back in his home village near Dodoma, so we needed to get this trip in.  Monday, Karen starts a four-day teaching seminar for twelve teachers with a big Thursday involving about twenty teachers, and Shaban will be translating.  Shaban now knows as much about the Montessori Method as I do.  We also learned today that the government has raised the tuition at the teacher’s college and at all the local schools.  Oh well, why should Tanzania be different?  We have a saying here, “Ndivyo ilivyo”  which means “but what can you do?”  The power just went out, so another “average” day in Bunda. 
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