|Dar Em Salaam by air|
We got the price we wanted to Jambo Inn and they had upgraded us to an air-conditioned room. It’s very hot and moist here. After not sleeping well for two days of air travel, we took a nap, but we wanted to take a walk before dark, so up we got and made our way past the singing of the mosque, people selling fruit, guys with stuff in baskets to sell who shake their money—each to a different rhythm to announce themselves. It got dark fast, so we went back for a meal and to send some messages via email. The electricity went out (it was to be out most of the time we were there—so much for air-conditioning, or even a fan, but I remembered from India that this was a normal thing. No worries.
November 17—we got out and wandered around to find a grocery store and have lunch by the ocean. We were the only white people on the street, but no one stared or acted like it was unusual, so that put us at ease. It was hard to find a place in downtown and was gently encouraged out by security.
We were there for the party early, looked at the art and shared a beer and two ravioli-like samosas. The guy from before, “Rasta” saw us and brought us downstairs where the kids put on a modern dance showing in the gallery. Sweet. Then upstairs to listen to two bands—the first had 4 women singers and musicians back up from Nairobi. It looked to me like 3 sisters and their mother. Their name was long including Massai Warriors, Gaga, and others.
The acrobats included an older man in GREAT shape. They tumbled and made towers of men, balanced precariously. One man was a contortionist. They always make me cringe and hurt to watch them. The second band also had a really long name and folks called them the “Buena Vista Social Club of Tanzania.” They were a 17-piece ensemble with a big highlife sound. Les immediately jumped up and danced like his body was taken over. It was beautiful, and folks were drawn to him to dance with. Even the guys in the band connected with him. As it turned out, Rasta and Steven George—the artist who taught boys—didn’t perform after all, but they were there. Party!
|Baba Julius, Sue, Deus|
November 18—We made arrangements to meet Deus Cosmos, our new host, at the hotel. He and his friend Julius (Les’s dad’s name is Julius, so we started calling him Les’s papa, though he is 35 years younger) took us what I thought was out of town. I was surprised how far we went. The high rises turned into low cement and mud brick buildings, streets into sandy water-filled and pocked roads and we ended up at Cosmos’ home.
|Shower and WC|
|Sunset in the neighborhood|
From his fame with this project, he was sponsored to go to the US, where he learned so much more and came back to Tanzania wanting to better the lives of children and the poor and disabled through all kinds of various projects. It looks like Cosmos is doing it all the right way, with high powered people with big hearts to support the foundation, and his ideas are solid and doable, which will help the foundation ( Rafiki Development Founation) sustain itself. VERY cool!
We dropped off the car and walked through the neighborhood. I wish I could have taken a video of Les who danced his eccentric dance down the street to the highlife music. The kids when nuts: laughing and clapping. He was a STAR!
We went to a shack where a guy cooked pork. We told him how much and he deep fried it, took out half, and then stir-fried the rest with tomatoes, onion and pepper.
|Hoping to continue to build a church|
|Les, Sue, Janet|
|At the Village Museum: Houses from various regions of Tanzania|
|Julius and Daughter|
We both forgot our ATM cards, so we didn’t last long there. Ties were expensive too. So we went back, got our cards, visited where Julius works to get cash, filled the car with gas and found a tie at a local shop where he knew the people.
Then we went on a wonderful urban safari. He drove us through street after street, where we bounced along looking at all the beautiful and wonderful people.
At one point, we stopped to greet his brother. It took a while, but eventually, all the kids in the neighborhood wanted us to take their pictures so they could see themselves frozen in the screen. It was a cacophony of delighted squeals and jousts to get in front for the photo. Cute, cute kids.
The electricity went out when it got dark.
We went to a place to have a drink and watch new college graduates come into a reception. When Janet came home we went across the street for “chips in your eye:” French fries with egg and sauce. We sat in the dark street with music blaring until that person’s generator ran out of gas. Home and a dousing shower to flashlight.
- · Ditches with rickety bridges crossing
- · Colorful women with something on their heads: 5 crates of eggs, or basket, or bucket of H2O
- · Cement school with English letters graffiti’d and uniformed kids coming out.
- · A woman pulling up a plastic container from two tires that ringed the well next to the road
- · Business as usual in torrential rain or without electricity.
- · Everyone who does business in the street: tailors, passport pictures; would you like some used shoes at your dinner table?
- · The sound is always filled with something loud: TV, music, announcements.