Habari zenu? How are you all? I have had a wonderful holiday and am back into the swing of school. I have so much to tell you and so many pictures to share but pole pole….slowly slowly….I will get you up to date over the next few weeks. I hope!!!
Firstly I want to share a small incident that happened to me today.
We have had the new batch of VSO Tz Vols here in Morogoro this week. I had been to Amabalis, the centre we go to for language school. During the week I had also met up with Alison, (VSO placement near DAR) who had been in my intake and we had done dinner with the newies last Wednesday and were invited to join in the Tz cooking session today, socialize and take lunch together. It’s always fun meeting the new, fresh excited Vols. ….they are another fun group.
I had booked in for a much overdue pedicure and manicure. Because it is so dusty and dirty here and I wear open shoes all the time, my feet get well worn and need attention occasionally! There is only so much dirt my Enjo body cloth can remove! (I have only just started with the manicure but am realizing that’s worthwhile for the equivalent of a mere $3 each sessions!)
Having been pampered and sporting freshly polished red toenails and clean, scrubbed hands and clear painted fingernails, I walked happily along the dusty road heading into town. A young boy passed me on his bicycle and wobbled a bit as he turned with a big smile and said “Good morning”…to which I replied “Good afternoon” (it was 4pm). He was so happy that I had replied and turned again to give me a bigger smile. As he rode off he wobbled a bit then got up some speed and suddenly, there he was, sprawled across the road with dust flying and his bike landing on top of him! He was so embarrassed and, as quick as lightening, he was up and trying to ride again but something was wrong! He got off his bike and pushed it not wanting me to catch up to him as his pride was well and truly dinted… however he had to stop as the wheels had jammed. I tentatively approached him and, in Swahili, gently asked him if he was ok and if I could help him.
As he couldn’t manage the repair himself he quietly agreed. Getting it back on the road took a while as the chain was off and loose and the back wheel was off centre…..We worked together and, after serious moments, then gradually some smiles, we both began laughing and sharing high 5’s (tano!)as we successfully reconstructed the working parts and got him back on the bike and riding off home!
“Asante, asante, asante, Shikamoo….” He was humbly grateful. I felt responsible and was so relieved that there hadn’t been a car, dala dala or piki piki following him as he would surely have been hit. It all happened so quickly.
Standing, watching him ride off with a big smile on our faces, I looked down at my hands: now covered in grease, dirt and grime! hamna shida!! Who cares!!
This very small incident is just another example demonstrating how life is so tentative here and that in a split second things can change. The roads are full of people and vehicles….chaos most of the time. So many people trying to get from A to B using whatever means they can…pushing and pulling heavy, bulky carts filled with produce; overfilled dalas; taxis, cars and piki pikis with women sitting side saddle often carrying a baby on her back… many vehicles going too fast; pedestrians everywhere….Safety is often a luxury not afforded by many, as resources often don’t stretch to incorporate it and road rules are self made…. It is the frequent occurrences of incidents like this and their potential fatality that reminds me vividly of what is important in life…..