Over the past few years while talking to Moshi on WhatsApp I often wonder if what he is telling me is for real and in my head I am thinking “like are you kidding me?“. Things happen here that you can’t make up.
One day at the project site for example I saw something move in the bushes. I calmly said to Moshi “Is that a snake?” and he and Juma looked over and jumped into action. It was a green mamba that had fallen out of the tree with a chameleon it had eaten (found later in it’s stomach). Moshi and Juma chased the snake and it slithered into a termite hole in the bush right beside the water distribution point.
As I stood back, paralyzed by fear, I tried to remember the instructions on the snake bite kit in my medical bag – cut an X on the bite and try to suck as much poison out as possible. Before leaving on this trip Loc had given me a knife and jokingly said it was to kill a snake so I pulled it out of my bag and gave it to Juma.
More guys from the village came and together they smoked the snake out of the hole and then Juma, with expert precision, shot it with the sling shot and then all the guys whacked it dead with a stick. Normally they wouldn’t have killed it but because it was nesting right beside the distribution point and they needed to remove it because it is deadly poisonous.
Do you believe me?
I was over at Juma’s place in Kondoa and he has alot of chickens that he is breeding to sell. His prized chicken is the sandawe chicken that lays three times as many eggs as his other ones. Moshi said that he wants to teach the villagers to sell their chickens at the market, like Juma, and help them build businesses.
Ummmm don’t they already do that?
Nope. Most people here do have chickens, they are everywhere, but they are all meant specifically for special guests and a meal is offered as a sign of respect and honour to visitors. He calls them culture chickens and they don’t sell them. None of them.
I’m an entrepreneur and I just can’t wrap my head around that since they are all so poor and it just makes sense to sell so it’s good that Moshi is going to show them how they can earn money but it’s a beautiful thing to have this offering as a very important part of your culture.
Things that might have made me queasy in Vancouver are easy now – like when you are eating dinner and you see a little bug you just squish it with the finger on your left hand and continue eating without a beat scooping up your food in your right hand. It doesn’t feel weird anymore.
Squatting in a village toilet seems like luxury because the other option is in the bush (with snakes). It’s all relative.
Every day when we drive into the village we see the woman still at the dried up river bed, the water is not running yet. The water distribution points are slowly being finished (we are waiting for final completion when bar from innovtion: africa comes so that they can film key shots with their vidoegrapher). It’s a crazy place here and things don’t happen as you expect them to but all you can do is roll with it.