It's now 10.30pm at night and I really need to make this quick (is that even possible??? LOL) as I am very tired, so hot and my feet have been bitten many times by some nuisance mozzies as I was too late in putting on my insect repellent when I first arrived home for our night out. Mind you, that was close to two hours ago and the internet had to be reloaded so there was a delay in getting back on after my initial session of checking emails and notifications on Facebook. Then the internet has been 10 times slower than usual. I am unsure why but I am not here to complain because this my friends, is a HUGE privilege compared to other volunteer's facilities within their host family homes.
This morning Ciara and I spent a fair amount of time preparing for our evening out as we would be leaving straight from work today to go into Arusha City. So we needed to make sure we packed every little item we may very well need. Insect Repellent, cardigans, deodarant, sun lotion, lip balm, sunglasses, toilet paper (just in case - never, ever, ever want to be caught short), enough money for the evening, credit card to withdraw cash for next week or so (money belt now in use for safety reasons) and lippy just in case I feel I need it (which just for the record - didn't feel like it - I could have cared less - long day and a very relaxed atmosphere)!
Aleeza made us 'Fried Banana' for breakfast. A huge platter of halved large bananas that were fried and lightly salted. They were the biggest, yummiest chips I have ever eaten. Yes this banana also tasted of potato. How is this possible. Theofilo explained the previous night over dinner that they have different sized bananas on a vine and you use them for different things. The largest, greenest bananas are the ones they cook in banana stew and I am guessing for fried bananas too. We had photo's taken with Aleeza and the platter of food. There were also small potato chips on the platter too and they was so crunchy. Not what any weight watcher should be eating for brekky but as they say .....When in Rome .....
Our trip to work today on the public transport was flying solo. We did great! So Day Three and we have the dalla dalla nailed! Fear at a minimum but we are NOT complacent. We enjoyed another nice day. Although the babies all had tummy upsets and unsure why. So Ciara was otherwise busy collecting babies for the production line of nappy changing and not yet prepared to take that huge step between girl meets woman/mamma and join in with the fun and games at the change table. Huge issue again with still little or no water.
Ciara and I headed down to the Hospital Canteen for lunch and as we were ordering our chapati and simosa's (a savoury pancake and very spicy crunchy triangular pastry case - probably not called samosa but you will know what I mean) someone beside us said "Jambo", "Hello again" and it was the guy from the dalla dalla the day before who was laughing and joking with Sylvia. WOW! So he is in a white coat and possibly a Doctor or doing his Internship. He asked where we were from and his friend with him was also chatty and asking about us. We explained that we were from Sydney, Australia and we were mother and daughter team! LOL They seemed very surprised (no idea why) and then asked Ciara how old she was. When she said she was 19 they were both shocked (no idea why or in what way). Then I was waiting for them to ask me - LOL - and they did so I of course told them I was 21!!!!!!!!!!! Huge laughter from them both (no idea why - LOL) and so the guy's friend must have done a very quick addition in his head and said "So you are 40 then?" So I said "Yes. I am forty." .................... now I should have said "Yes forty something." But really ..... do I have to tell him the absolute truth? The fact that it is feasible in his eyes, is compliment enough! Let's just leave it at that shall we :) So two possible Doctors. Cool connection to have. Some volunteers in care have gone with Hospital Staff to out of the way Massai villages to check on the children there - so perhaps it's not what you know but who you know when it comes to day trips to villages. I will be sure to make the enquiry next time we cross paths in case they can help in some way for Ciara and I to have such an opportunity.
We left work at 2pm ish so we could head into town for our social night and because Dianna and Sylvia (our surrogate supervisors at work) would not be in tomorrow I openly told Mama Pendu to let both Ciara and I know when and if she needs us, tomorrow, to anything at all. I said "You tell us if you have laundry and need our help. Just say - 'hey you two! Out here and help us with the laundry. Just tell us what you need us to do!' " She laughed and said she would. I sure hope she does as it's fine to just do what needs to be done but sometimes with the language barrier with some of the other Mamas our requests may not be understood or they may not want to ask us.
Time for me to look up some catch phrases in Swahili, me thinks! (I bought a cool little English to Swahili book today from a man in the street in Arusha for 15000TZH - $10 USD - very basic so great for us to use - probably their version of "Swahili for Dummies/Mzungus". LOL. It's just a very small photocopied, stapled booklet (the size of 1/4 A4). I woud think some industrious person is selling from their own photocopier company perhaps? It was probably a very expensive price to pay but I figure 'he saw me coming' and I didn't want to disappoint him and start haggling. I consider it a tip for him that I appreciate his efforts and understand that this is his livelihood and I can certainly afford it. Plus it is now souvenir of sorts for when I return home. (Yes I will be coming home!)
I will have to stop using LOL as I will be driving you all mad - I will stop now and let you LOL all on your own (if at all)! *giggles*
We managed a small dalla dalla on our way to Kilala after work then straight away onto another dalla dalla to the city. Three things of note on this particular ride were:-
One - I saw the mother of the little girl who came and hugged me in the church on Sunday! I don't know if she saw me or would recognise me (as we probably all look the same ....) but I thought what a small world!
Two - I ended up sitting next to (believe it or not) one of the guy's we met at lunch time today! Yes I sat and he said "Hi again." I would have fallen off my seat but there was no room to move! He chatted to me on and off asking about our placement etc. He was very keen to know about the children and if we would consider volunteering at a Hospice. I nodded alot as I was unsure exactly where he was going with the conversation but he might be visiting the orphanage on Monday to discuss some things with Mama Pendu, so I may know more and understand more then.
Three - When I sat down there was a basket of food on the floor that belonged to the lady sitting directly behind me with what looked like her grandaughter. So while I sat there I made sure it was protected from others and out of the way as the dalla dalla filled up with more passengers. At one point the basket almost tipped and I caught it. I was feeling pretty good about that and it was nice to automatically help out a fellow community member and not think just because it wasn't mine that it didn't matter. The dalla dalla empties and fills up again like a continuous ebb and flow, so when a seat is vacant you move across and so I did but moved the basket with me. The dalla dalla stopped suddenly and the basket tipped and her fresh fruit and shopping tumbled under the seats all over the floor. I grabbed it before too much fell out and let out a very eloquent "Shit!" I think "Shite" might have sounded nicer but either way I'm hoping it fell on deaf ears. It was really nice as everyone was passing me the food as if the basket of goods were actually mine so I was saying "Asante sana" each time (thank you very much). I felt really bad and turned to the lady and said "Sorry." She just smiled at me and nodded. I knew I meant well and I think she did too, so I didn't give myself an upper cut when I got off the dalla dalla. I decided to just let that Bridget act .... GO! (So want to type a three letter abbreviation around about now ......although a four letter one would be pun worthy!)
We made it to our bus stop and Ciara and I followed closely behind Sylvia and Dianna like sheep to a shepherd, through the streets of Arusha to a haven called "Africafe". Sylvia previously explained that this part of the city is less crowded and easier to get around and this Cafe is a piece of home with scrumptious food, cakes and real coffee for the coffeeholics. Ciara could care less about the coffee and more about the Cake - but this Cafe was African, elegant, spotlessly clean, beautiful waiters/waitresses, comfortable chairs/booths, lounge chairs and the front of the Cafe has floor to ceiling glass windows looking out onto the street at the front with comfy lounge chairs (Dianna's favourite seating) looking out onto the street. There are doors either side of this little nook and the breeze through is refreshing. Most of the visitors are Mzungu's but the locals were still visiting too. Music played and was funky, African beats and a great atmosphere for our Cafe Latte pig out!! I had a Chicken Mayo toasted sandwich with chips and Ciara had a slice (huge) of Chocolate Fudge Cake. Delicious!!!!!!!!! The chicken filling was cheese, shredded chicken, mayo, finely diced spring onion and a spicy peppery flavour I couldn't quite pinpoint.
We visited a bank for some extra cash to get us through the next week or so and then went to a Massai Market in the middle of town. What a wonderful experience that we never would have attempted if not for Dianna showing us around. It is well known and advised to never buy anything without haggling but Ciara and I had no intention of buying anything. Gifts for home are something we will do at a later date so we just tagged along for the ride .... until we stopped outside number 11 stall. So the market is on a road with cement rendered brick walls and open gates at the front. Opening up into what could have been a huge school yard of bitumen with stalls running around the edge of the property and then stalls inbetween in rows. The smaller stalls start and they are approximately one metre wide at the opening and possibly 2-3 metres deep and they are chock-o-block (thesaurus would be good around about now) full of knick knacks, paintings, handmade jewellery, clothes and kangas (wraparound garments/dresses - like a sarong) plus so much more.
Dianna had popped into stall number 11 and liked a lamp shade but she told the guy she would be back before she leaves Arusha in a couple of weeks to purchase it. At that point we had received a text from Conor saying he would be in Arusha for the social night around 4.30pm and it was after that time but we had no credit on our phone so we asked Dianna where we could go. The guy at the store was an older gentleman and spoke english very well. He offered to purchase the credit for us and we could mind his store while he went to buy it for us. This was so nice of him and obviously a great ploy because whilst Ciara and I had been following Dianna we were not coerced into buying anything. Now he was gone we stood in the stall to window shop and hey presto we saw a few items we wanted to buy. I didn't want any extra stuff in my bag as it was stuffed to the brim as it was and Princess Ciara wasn't carrying squat so the last thing I was going to do was purchase anything today.
The guy returned and long story short - his name is Tabu (Tarboo) and we left 10000TZH deposit on a couple of items (surprise!) because even though we told him we would return on Saturday (to bring Conor) he was happy to hold this one last item for us if we paid a small token deposit. So we did. He gave his name and stall number so we knew where to return to. This then started a chain of events that ended up with Dianna and Christine coming back to find us and drag us out of the markets kicking and screaming (just kidding) so we could make it to our dinner date on time. We had so much fun from stall 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 131, 132 where we stepped into one stall after the other as they said "You must see mine now that you saw his!" It was a joke between these few stalls and we couldn't believe that from the outside everything just seems the same old, same old but inside each stall was something that wasn't in the other stalls. From stall 15 we left 100 shillings and took his pen with us as a promise to return it. Amy was in stall 131 just after stall 20 where I said it was our last stall and Amy corrected me and said "You have to visit my stall too." So I said "So what you're saying is that this is our second last stall?" Everyone around laughed out loud. It was so much fun and they understood my humour. As the stalls are so close everyone knew what was going on as we were within feet of each other. So as time went on it was a definite date to return early Saturday when the markets aren't busy and pick up oodles of great gifts to bring home. A budget is required and some stern haggling will need to be perfected. Yet again something I didn't think I would enjoy and we just loved it.
So we met back up with Sylvia (she had some errands to run after Africafe) and we started to walk the 2.5km to the Ethiopian Restaurant that was literally up the road from Impala Hotel where we will be going to on 1st March to start our Safari to Ngorogoro Crater. Dianna and Christine weren't feeling the best so we split up while they took a dalla dalla and the three of us walked to our next appointment. As we headed up the street of the Hotel from a very large roundabout that had a huge tiled fountain in the middle of it and gardens in quarters around it and a path that circled the fountain and then lead north, south, east and west through the circle, we cast our eyes on the most amazing landscape!
We saw Mount Meru. You could have knocked me over with a feather. It was huge, no ginormous, no - can't describe it! Bigger than Ben Hur! Although we were looking through dusty clouded air it was a Volcano. I have never seen one before and I was in complete awe. I quickly gave the camera to Ciara to take a photo and I am unsure how it has turned out but it didn't look real. I think I could only picture this in a dream/nightmare of seeing such an ominous sight and it did frighten me to think it was a real, you beaut, honest to goodness VOLCANO! I have goosebumps now thinking of it. So the next thought is ..... if that's the second highest peak in Arusha .... what will I do when I see Mount Kilimanjaro???? Fall over, I am guessing.
DIRECT FROM WIKIPEDIA: Mount Meru is an active stratovolcano located 70 kilometres (43 mi) west of Mount Kilimanjaro in the nation of Tanzania. At a height of 4,565 metres (14,977 ft), it is visible from Mt Kilimanjaro on a clear day, and is the tenth highest mountain in Africa. Much of its bulk was lost about 8,000 years ago due to an eastward volcanic blast, similar to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in the U.S. state of Washington. Mount Meru most recently had a minor eruption in 1910.
It's after midnight and I am shattered so I will leave it there .... Conor and Ciara went out after our Ethiopian dinner to Via Via. We had a lovely evening. Taxi home was very safe as PA only use trusted cabbies to see us home safely. Hope I haven't bored you with too much detail and great it was a one blog and no parts. Lulled you all into a false sense of security that it might be a short one .....until tomorrow ..... goodnight from Mama Conor in Tanzania*.
* Found out today that Mama's are named after their first born. This name can change if the first born moves out of home but not necessarily so. They can take on their mother's name also. So when I return to Australia I will be Mama Ciara until Sean returns and then I will be Mama Sean/Reg! How cute!
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