Took a bus yesterday from Arusha to Kondoa. I was nervous with the bus because it had been raining a little bit so I was worried the roads would be too wet but was assured that it would all be fine. The long weekend for easter meant that some companies went on holiday and there was only one bus running so it was packed full of people and babies. We had seats but many of the people had a 7 hour ride standing up so far be it from me to complain about feeling cramped and squished. It was an uneventful ride (minus running out of gas on the way there) and It rained during the night so we were lucky we had decided to leave.
There were many dried up fields of corn on the way because of the late rains which has made it very hard for some of the people here. In January a bag of maize was 2000 TZN shillings (less than $1) and in march it went up to 12000 TZN shillings (a little less than $6) which made it unaffordable for many people. Most of us are disconnected from our seasons and complain only because we are either too cold or too hot because we don’t directly depend on them for our food source but here you really feel it. Somehow people mange by borrowing from a friend or lending the little bit of money they may have to someone who is worse off.
My jet lag is slowly disappearing and when I woke up finally felt human again but my bangs were getting in my eyes so I borrowed a pair of scissors to cut them but they weren’t sharp enough and now they are super uneven. I know, first world problems, but I feel like I look like a toddler with wrinkles. However I do feel like I am exactly where I need to be so have had to ignore how ridiculous I look.
The 3 girls that work at the hotel have become my swahili instructors, Amina, Aisha and Oliva. My favourite word is pili pili ho ho which means green pepper but I think sounds more like a dance move. Most of the time I can catch a few words but have no idea about what is being said and am being humbled by getting back to the basics of human communication. The girls are all in their early 20s and full of energy so they laugh a lot although sometimes I can’t tell if they are laughing AT me or with me. Either way I am learning bit by bit and appreciate their help.
Moshi and I sat on the front porch greeting the passersby and practicing my greetings:
Hujambo (how are you)
Sijambo (I am fine)
Nina itwa lara (my name is Lara)
Una itwa nani? (what is your name?)
(Respond with a bunch of stuff that I can’t understand so I just smile and respond with)
Nina furahi kukutana nawewe (I am happy to have met you)
We did some work for the company which is good because there is still so much to do. As we were working the aunt of the owner come out and put the traditional blessing on the house flicking a white mixture at our feet and all along the length of the porch.
I’m not sure why but I love being in places that shake up my sense of the world and Kondoa is doing that to me in a very gentle way.