07
Apr
04

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. 

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