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Unfortunately, I was unable to blog yesterday but not too much to tell for the day. It was raining on and off and by the afternoon whilst we all (Us, Dianna, Silvia, Beth, Cara, Nathan, Erik, AJ and Barney) all sat around chatting, eating, drinking and laughing but it was raining on and off with a very cool breeze that all of us newbys were not used to. It warmed up again eventually but it is very strange to be so hot one minute and chilly the next. Although as Australians we are more used to such unstable weather.
Ciara and I picked up our African pants we had made at the Tailor's. Very nice but I think there was a mistake in sizing so we went back to let them know that Ciara's pants were only an inch smaller in width than mine. With our German translator/waitress with us to explain the error she finally told us that apparently Ciara's material would shrink and my material wouldn't! Hmmmmmmmmmm??? So I figured I had two pair of pants to myself but inexplicably when Ciara tried on her pants and gathered the waist with the ribbon when we arrived home - they actually fit her. Yes they are baggy but they are supposed to be. But they fit her lovely and I think we should be wearing these crazy, cool, african pants when we alight our plane in Sydney! Sounds like a great plan.
I have been meaning to mention of something else we take for granted is rubbish disposal. Apparently to appropriately dispose of rubbish you have to pay for the benefit. I guess we do pay for our rubbish disposal in our land rates and here is no different except that it is completely unaffordable. So there are mounds of rubbish bonfires all over the place. Near properties, near bush, near roadsides and it is just common place to intake the smells of burning rubbish, plastic and fauna. Sometimes it can be quite severe, the thick black smoke and I have to be very careful with my asthma as I am easily choked by common fumes without it being poisonous burning of plastics and rubber! For a very dry country I can only imagine the possibilities of disaster for a gust of wind to wipe out a home or village if not very well guarded but I haven't heard of any mishaps and just find the risks an amazing part of everyday life here. They know what they are doing and skilled at it.
When we caught our dala dala on Wednesday to Arusha we had no idea that there were three goats in the back of the van. Not one folks, but three. Not quick enough with our camera's but the fact that the poor creatures were so quiet I was firstly horrified as I didn't know if they were alive or not. We thought it was only one as it was the one we saw under Cara and Beth's seat. Sure enough they were leaping from the open van and lead away by their owner (off to market they go - I kid you not! - Pun intended). So the dala dala's can foster anyone and anything that can be pushed, squashed or squeezed inside it's metal walls.
Today though our dala dala didn't quite make the trip to Nkoaranga Orphanage and on many a morning I wondered as the car would splutter and bang up the hill if it was ever possible for the vehicle to just not make it. So today was the day. AJ had a premonition of such a scenario and didn't tell us until we were sitting there trying not to let panic set in. We joked that perhaps she should have shared this information but it wouldn't have changed anything for any of us.
The car must have made it about five minutes of the drive up the long and winding road. It was struggling with 10 of us in this very small car. The driver seemed to be slowing down to pick up one more passenger (heaven knows where that bloke was going to sit but I would have bet in the front unless he wanted to ride belly up on our laps in the middle back part of the car???) and with the slowing of his momentum the exhaust popped, the car chugged and then it haulted on a steep hill around a bend in the road. So not only could we not clutch start it without it running backwards down the hill but it was on a bend so a car or dala dala van could have wiped us out at any moment as the bend was blind. So we sat there asking to be let out but of course in English and that wasn't getting through to the driver whilst he was instructing the guy from the side of the road to push the car!
We were not happy at all and although we jokec about it - we wish you knew Swahili for - GET ME OUT OF HERE, SANA! Sana being now and that's all we knew to say! No cars or other vehicles except piki piki's were driving passed us. But we were then being pushed further and further down the hill and it the car was as dead as a dodo so there was no point in hanging around so we finally managed to ask to be let out of the car. I had plan B to climb the front seat if he didn't open our door as both front doors were open whilst he stopped the car to check the glove box for some trusted tool of the trade! Out of the car and free at last he was left to his own devices and any remaining passengers. So we walked this road. I can't explain in any other way but to say that 'Heartbreak Hill' has nothing on this steep incline!
It took 40 minutes to reach the top and we were so lucky it was not a usual hot morning. It was overcast and a slight chill in the breeze that blessed us every now and again. On the way it was a very interesting walk. My first point of note was the huge fireplace outside a house where it looked like a mini house with steeple/flute all made of red brick and a man putting another log on the fire, in the fire, for the fire!!! Well, it does bring new meaning to 'put another log on the fire' as this was an actual tree. It was at least 10foot long hanging out of the fireplace where the man seemed to be holding the tree (no branches) and trying to shove it in the fire as far as it would go. My guess was that this is possibly more efficient than chopping wood for hours. He could just check it every half an hour or so and give it a shove. Obviously the fire had some other purpose than for heating. No idea what and again my camera was not handy and the other's were walking away too far ahead for me to stop and catch this photo oppoortunity. A shame really now but I might see it again before we leave and grab it then.
Another funny sight was two coffins upstanding against a shopfront wall. One a lovely varnished walnut wood casket and the other a prettied up painted version with purple gift wrapping roses on it! Photo taken and along the wall was painted "Doctor ?????" . Erik and I had a great laugh at both of these little memorable moments so the walk was well worth the views!
Ciara and I left the orphanage a little earlier than usual to make sure we were ready for our visit to Seeway Orphanage this afternoon and the dala dala was empty so we knew it would take forever to fill up so we ended up making a quick decision to just walk down the hill as it wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as walking up it!
Power is out so I will cut this short. We visited Seeway and it was a very well organised Orphanage run by an two ladies - one American and one English. I would love to work there but it was off the beaten track. We did face painting, drawing, played football with them and shared biscuits and juice with them whilst blowing up balloons and watching them have a marvelous time. I painted one child's face and hope to get a copy of any photo PA may have of this.
A wonderful afternoon was had by all. Home now and looking forward to a great dinner and early to bed! I'm shattered.