Archive for April, 2004


Pictorial Narrative of Dar

Ok, so I’ll be home in 6 days.  But I wanted to get the last round of photos up before that, to keep the fans at bay before I embark on my Northeast Reunion tour.  J 


These are from the last month, and capture: The Rugby Ball, my trip to Songo Songo Island, and my trip w/K to Kisolanza Farm House in Iringa, TZ.  There are some miscellaneous of my apt and roommates Natalie and Susanne as well. More difficult to capture on film was the amoeba I’ve been incubating for the last 3-4 weeks.  I finally broke down and went to the doc this past weekend – given the Jamaica experience, you may understand my reluctance to seek overseas medical care – and he prescribed an antiprotozoal and a dewormer.  “Just like Taylor,� my mom said, comparing me to her dog’s occasional antibiotics.  I’m feeling much better if not 100%, but at least I’m back in mostly full form for my last week here.



Here’s a quick narrative to accompany the pics…


The Rugby Ball:  Check out the dress and the cute peeps.  Janie is a blast who calls me Sex and the City so of course I adore her! J  She wore this great corset that proved too complex to remove after 6 hours of drinking.  Comfy pjs.  The guys on either side of Janie are Aussies living in Arusha who play on the Arusha Rugby Team (For those of you who remember, Arusha is the jumping off point for the ill-fated Meru trek.).  They won the league and the cutie kissing Janie is Chris, Man of the Match and lucky recipient of an American kissing bandit’s affections.  Captain Pants is Paul, our friend from the boat ride at the beginning of my visit here.  Captain Pants after watching him swim in his tighty-whities.  He’s a delight.


Songo Songo: This is an island off the coast of Dar that has natural gas.  Songas, a Canadian private sector development initiative, is bringing this gas to the mainland to make TZ the go to place in East Africa for electricity.  It has World Bank funding, and thus is required to spend a certain percentage of profits on social development goals.  My friend Alex manages the Songas project, and I may do some consulting on a microlending program for them.  We spent the day on Songas checking out their progress and wandering around the villages that are the recipients of the disruption from the Songas initiative and therefore also the social development activity. 


Kisolanza Farm Lodge: K and I spent 3 wonderful days in Iringa region, TZ, in the Southern Central part of the country.  An old English farmhouse on which the proprietor was raised; inexpensive and accessible.  We were the only guests given it’s the off-season.  The service and attention to detail was exquisite.  Fresh meals 3x/day made of the farm’s fruits, veggies, herbs and livestock; hiking for hours around the property and villages; scrabble games with Mark, the pseudo-Asst. Mgr; a trip into town to the local market; fresh flowers and a fire each evening in the rooms; hot showers; tea/coffee with fresh-baked muffins or brownies as you wish; a ride back into Dar rather than 8hours on the bus; it was heavenly.  This is the Africa people fall in love with.  This country is gorgeous.


Finally got some pics from our roof and my other roommates, Germans Natalie and Susanne.  Natalie is 24 and the most easygoing, carefree person I’ve ever met.  She’s a wonderful roommate as nothing bothers her, she loves to share, and she’s always up for doing stuff.  She makes me feel old and jaded.  J  Susanne is a friend of Natalie’s who has been living w/us off and on since we moved into this apt.  She is a delight and also exceptionally good-natured.  “Oops!� is a treasured response when you tell her anything from “I lost my keys� to “I lost your car by driving it off a bridge while trashed�.  (This I have not done.)


It’s Thursday afternoon here and I’m running some errands before I ease into the weekend.  Two more beach trips, dinners and parties Fri-Sun to say goodbye, facial and pedicure Saturday, and packing Monday.  Departure Tuesday.  Back thru Jo’burg.  Arrive JFK 7am on Wednesday! 


Soft Rock while You Work

Bit of a disconnect, and also some things never change…


Sitting in an office in Africa listening to We Are the World…was that exclusively Ethiopia or were we feeling generally benevolent to the entire continent with this one?  J  Part of the always changing, always entertaining list of American favorites that form the soundtrack of the experience here. I think I’ve mentioned this already, but it’s back in full force in my life… Dated country favorites are highly popular (Kenny Rogers, anyone?), anything we’d consider Soft Rock is wildly embraced (Celine, old may-I-add-TERRIBLE Phil Collins, etc.), and random R&B/hip-hop are intermixed w/the Swahili hip-hop that is much more common.  I share an office with 4 Africans my age, and all the music mentioned here, plus more local lively stuff, plays constantly.  I am happy for the music, both known and unknown.  And fortunately, everyone’s a fan of replaying their favorites constantly, so in exchange for 5 rounds of Dit Moi by the Afrogoro Band, we get 2x Thriller and We Are the World.  Sing it Springsteen!


It’s great sharing an office with people my own age.  Familiar and unfamiliar perspectives to share; email addresses to exchange.  I have been told in the last two days that I am Tanzanian (Tan-ZANE-EE-an), as my Swahili rapidly improves and I learn how to wear kangas.  Just in time for my return home!  Excited and sad about this, inevitably.


And how some things never change…worst thing that could have happened for my productivity here…I have email access from my desk.  Never mind that it is a dial-up and for a staff of appr.30 we have two dial-up lines.  I’ve essentially appropriated one as mine.  At least I’m not taking up a gigabyte of space on their server.  Still…imagine if the US was not so many hours behind!  I’d probably send this financially self-sufficient microfinance organization back to the donor table with my local phone bills.


Swahili lesson tonight, and gift from the US for my mwalimu (teacher).  Two bottles of Sam Adams.  Kiobya, the mwalimu, teaches the Peace Corps volunteers every year, and I am convinced he is convinced all Americans are alcoholics (walevi – case in point that I’ve learned this word in a country with ONE mental health facility).  Anyway, in our discussion of Kilimanjaro and Serengeti lagers versus Budweiser, I described some of our local brews.  K picked up the Sam in NYC for him.  Yingling and Brooklyn Lager next time.  J


Given that I will be home in almost exactly four weeks from sasa hivi (right now), maybe these emails will be less frequent.  I do have some more pictures to post now that K’s laptop is back.  Stay tuned.