As I sit cocooned inside my mosquito net I wonder how it is that things can move fast and slow at the same time.
The tower that will hold the storage tanks and solar panels is going up brick by brick, handed one by one up the ladder. As we watch the men working young boys pass tending their goats, ladies come with fresh hot milk from their cows that they offer to us with a spoonful of sugar and children, who are finishing their school day, stand to watch the tower go up with us. It feels like it is happening so slowly but the next day when we return, as if by magic, the tower is near completion.
The tap structure at one of the distribution points is started. Cement is mixed and brought bucket by bucket to the location and, layer by layer, smoothed and shaped and then, miraculously, it’s complete. There will be seven throughout the village.
Juma, a friend of Moshi’s, lives behind my hotel in Kondoa. This morning he invited myself and his musician friend named Hussein to play music at his house. We sat in the chicken house for a few hours learning Husein’s original songs while Juma wrote down the words to the songs so I could try to learn them properly later. Hussein is from the Zigua tribe in the Tangua region of Tanzania and started playing guitar in 1968. He is hired to play in different villages during celebrations and he will come with us to Iyoli at some point. While he plays songs about traveling, marriage and school on a guitar that has been broken and fixed many times over the chickens sing harmony and I try to learn a part on my violin. I’ve uploaded a video that moshi shot on his phone that I am happy to share.
I have that strange feeling of being turned inside out because my ability to talk is limited to “How are you this morning” (Habari ya asibuihi) and “I am happy to meet you” (nina furahi kukutanana nawewe) so I mostly watch and listen rather than talk.
I watch people walk down the streets of Kondoa in suit jackets that were once worn by business men, ladies carrying name brand purses that were once ridiculously expensive, t-shirts with logos of big real estate companies – meaning and status removed and transformed.
I listen to the sound of a man pushing his cart piled high with brooms and buckets and cups that he is trying to sell to homes on the street. He stops to talk and then continues on his way with his mobile shop, slowly.
Tomorrow when I wake up I will emerge from my little cocoon and head to Iyoli once again, watching. Slowly. Quickly.