Friday, April 30, 2010
Vacation Part II
In the Land Rover in Ruaha
The last week of Mike’s Tanzania Bonanza ended well. Flat Stanley came from Elmwood via mail to join us on our adventures. Witi taught him how to eat ugali with beans, greens and pork. I had forgotten how sticky and weird it is when you first try it out. It’s a delicate matter of quick fingers and little palm. We stayed at my house for 2 nights. On the first night another volunteer decided to crash the cab and come over too! It was fun. We got fleas (seriously, it’s the new battle against Mother Nature at Margaret’s house), made smores, hung out with the family, watched a boring movie, made a massive bed on my floor, and didn’t sleep because the mosquito net was too small for the bed, but I insisted that we try and use it. The next day we made breakfast and real coffee (confession: I was dying for that cup of coffee before I even started the vacation). We washed clothes, visited the fam dam again and wet for a sunset walk through my favorite hills. The next day we went back to town, waited for a bus and then Mike and I headed off to Morogoro. After a mere 8 hours of bus we got to Morogoro and changed our lodging plans at the last minute. We opted for a less fancy but more scenic guest house at the base of the mountains, with plans to climb it the next morning. I totally freaked Mike out by bringing him to this super nice, very “white guy” restaurant just around the corner and I’m pretty sure he ordered something called beef chili pork spice….and was pleasantly surprised by whatever came out. We tried to burn up 50,000tsh on dinner and drinks, but were not even half way successful. The next morning we went and hiked up the mountain just a little bit because we had to check out of the guest house at 10 and didn’t want to be lugging baggage all around. The we went into town and Mike confessed that he was done with bussing (as if I could blame him, I think total bus hours during trip were around 24…not including hours spent in all other modes of transport), so he splurged on a taxi to Dar. 3 hours and some kick ass AC time went by in a snap and we found ourselves in Dar es Salaam. After checking out the situation of Icelandic volcano ash, we made way to the beach. This required a decent walk in the afternoon heat, luggage in toe, one 5 minute ferry ride, and then a little ride in a 3 wheel motorcycle taxi. By the time we got there is was early evening and I think that I can say I had not only kicked Mike’s ass, by also my own.
We chilled out on the most beautiful patch of beach and ocean front that I know in TZ. The next day some of my PC friends come and kicked up the party for Mike’s last hurrah in TZ. Oh, and at some point Mike got terribly eaten up by bed bugs and/or mosquitoes. Yikes, I feel terrible, but how could I have known?? So on Friday we woke up and milked our last few hours of beach time, went back into the big city and cleaned up a bit. It’s amazing how sandy and salty everything gets on the beach. After some relaxing and beer drinking with the random people who were in Dar at the time, we took a cab to the airport and Mike headed home. I headed back to the guts of the big city and the next day hopped a bus headed in the direction of home.
I am excited to get some feedback from Mike about his trip after he has time to figure out what happened. It’s totally awesome to have a guest who has no idea what to expect about any of this. It’s like watching an American kid at a Toys R Us in China. They are so overwhelmed with everything and they want to touch it, taste it, ask about it, but they don’t know if it’s okay or they don’t have the right language. It was just kick ass to see everything with “baby eyes” again and kind of give myself a little pat on the back for being able to make sense of this crazy TZ system. That being said, it was totally exhausting and I love you all very much, but if you are planning on trying to spring a last minute trip to TZ on me I only ask that you wait until July, that’s how long I will need to recover.
In Ikuna news, things here are just silly. I am feeling frustrated and incredibly overwhelmed with this crazy emotion I call Love. I feel frustrated because sometime during my travels with Mike I got a call from the man who was supposed to be guiding me and starting projects with me this whole time. He called to say that he is ready to start working with me… now. Why now? Because he needs my help to get a new doctor at the dispensary. Why does this frustrate me? Because I told him in SEPTEMBER that I would help him do this. I asked him why he just left me here to do whatever and nothing for the past 2 years and why he thinks that now, just as I am trying to say good-bye, I will be willing to work with him. He didn’t really have an answer, but did admit that he totally dropped the ball on me. I would like to punch him in the face, and I would also like to kiss him on the cheek, because if he had not dropped the ball I would never have the relationships that I have in the village. So I guess, in the end, I’ll just do my best to help him now, and be happy as hell that I was able to do what I have done here.
Mama Witi and family are all really great. Mama Witi is getting fat and is happy as a damn clam. Witi is also growing in that dreaded East to West direction, but she seems to think it’s the cat’s pajamas. Benja has been renamed! He is now Messi…thanks to his dad (?). Benja Messi Baby Love is probably going to break my heart. We have a very special relationship and I do not look forward to leaving him in a few months. Randomly, I think that babies in TZ grow a lot faster then babies in America. I guess it’s cause they don’t “baby” them. By the end of this week I predict that he will be sitting up by himself. The kid is only 5 months old, does this seem ridiculously early to anyone else or am I just experiencing the “shocked at how big he is” psudo-mom phenomena?
The season of cold, gray, wind and light rain has started in Ikuna and I cannot say that I am terribly excited, but it is kind of a nice break from the sweltering Dar heat. I will be going back to Dar es Salaam on the 2nd for my Close of Service Seminar. I cannot believe that it is already time to say good-bye. After all of my bitching and mood swinging, after all of the lonely and lost moments, and all of the feel good weeks, I feel totally unprepared to leave. I do not feel like I am done here. I don’t know what to do about any of it…well, I do, but it’s not ready to be blogged out yet.
Until I figure it out, or someone just tells me what the hell is going on, I’ll just say that in the end all that I have ever felt was love reciprocated: a constant exchange of objects in motion staying in motion, as my heart fills to exploding from the volume and ever expanding degree of all of this awesome Energy.
Flat Stanley Visits Morogoro
Beach Sun Rise