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Here, there, everywhere... A modest attempt at chronicling my around the world adventure over the next year (or so).

Michael the prophet

TANZANIA | Wednesday, 1 April 2009 | Views [925]

After arriving at the Dar Es Salaam airport at 7pm we wrangled with immigration about the $100/each visa which we thought was $50. It was no luck so we opted for a $50 transit visa good for two weeks. THis meant we would be rushed but could probably do everything before having to leave the country. We walked out of the airport to meet Simon our Couchsurfing host who lived in a small village outside of Dar Es Salaam. His friends Benaface and Mr. Quick(Marley) were also waiting and turns out worked for a safari company and knew that we wanted to trek Kilimanjaro. After the 45 minute ride to the village we arrived down a dirt road to Simon's cousin's house, who stayed in the city during the week. Also there was another American named Eddie who was from New Orleans and had gotten his wallet stolen in Zanzibar so was hanging until he could get more money. The house was pretty modern by the village standards but as we found out had no water or electricity. We awoke the next morning for a walk to the village store for breakfast and then joined Simon's girlfriend at her house, her name was Mama Danny after their son. After breakfast we caught a motorcycle taxi back to the main road then a minbus called a dhalala back to the city so Eddie could take care of business. Once in the city we waited at a cafe for Mr Quick and Benaface to come discuss some Kilimanjaro business. They were late of course and their package was too expensive for us so we left saying we would think about it and get back to him. On the way back to the bus station Simon told us we could "shake" him a little to see how much he would bargain. SImon and Eddie were staying in the city that night to attend a meeting so he put us on a minibus heading towards the village. While waiting we were approached by a woman selling bread and I quickly recognized her polo shirt she was wearing. It was a Boise Parks and Recreation shirt from who knows where, we both had a good laugh and if the shirt was smaller I would have tried to buy it from her. We have learned that in Africa shirts have many, many lives as we have seen shirts from all over random American towns, colleges and things like pub crawls. The nine lives of a t-shirt! Once home we made a dinner by candle light using the gas stove and boiled water for washing. We slept well that night under the mosquito net and awoke the next morning ready to get into the village more. Simon was not home yet when we awoke so we walked to the store to buy some breakfast things that we had the day before. After breakfast Simon came home and we walked over ot Mama Danny's house to see how the prepared some traditional things in the village. Turns out we were going to prepare our own lunch for later. We had also learned during our time in teh village that cashews among other things grow all around. While resting and talking I began to chase the five chickens they had as Simon gathered fire wood and made a fire. As I chased them I had one separated which Simon watched me do. A few minutes later he came up to me and told me I was a prophet because I had separated the very chicken we were going to have for lunch. Not sure about the prophet thing but after we chased it and finally caught it, I felt bad for the chicken. Plus they only had 5 chickens and they were using one while we were visiting as a special occassion. We also walked to the hut next door and got the thrasher so we could make some rice with lunch. This I tell you is hard ass work, don't let anybody tell you otherwise unless they do it almost everyday then it is a piece of cake. It made both of us tired after only a few minutes, good thing Mama Danny was there to finish, oh and she is 7 months pregnant!

After Simon cut the chicken's throat(we did not watch), Mama Danny boiled it a little to help the feather come off, then I held its leg while Simon cut it into pieces. It was not my favorite job but it was lunch and we were making it from scratch, we were also very honored they were doing all of this just for our visit. While the chicken boiled and the rice cooked, Simon dumped out some cashew nuts that they had collected earlier. They are in a protected shell and the best way to get the nut is to roast them. Simon made anothre fire, laid out a piece of metal and soon the cashews were roasting. Simon said something about gas but I was not paying too much attention, the next thing we know the nuts were bursting into flame like someone had poured gas onto the fire. Now I knew what we was talking about. After a few minutes of that, he dumped them onto the ground, covered them with sand and let them cool. After cooling, his son Danny(he was a cute three year old) showed us how to break open the shell with a stick. They looked like burnt charcoal pieces but once you broke it open there was a nice nut inside although sometiems it came out in pieces. It was very labor intensive and I was now understanding why the damn nuts cost so much money. When the chicken and rice were done we sat down to a nice lunch and ate until we were stuffed.

After lunch we hurried back to the house to clean up so we could make it for Simon's English class, we were guest lectureres for the day. We were 30 minutes late but in Africa everything starts late so no worries. We met the students, there were 7 ranging in age from 14-17, both girls and boys. They all spoke some English already and Simon would translate when needed, so after a slow start Jessica came up with the idea of going through the 5 W's and 1 H (who, what, why, where, when and how) which seem to work and enabled us to engage them in more converstation. After about two hours were were finished so we went back down to the village to meet Mr. QUick for a final Kilimanjaro negotiations. He was late of course, and once there we talked by candle light and came to a price that worked for us with some extra things thrown in(remember this I will return to it). We had to leave very early the next day to catch a ferry to Zanzibar so we turned in after packing. Simon was staying at Mama Danny's house but would come wake us up at 5:30am. He was late of course but came with his cousin and friend's motorcycle taxi to take us to the main road to catch our bus to the city. Mr. QUick had agreed to meet us at the bus station in town to take us to the ferry terminal.

Mr. Quick was on time, surprise and his friend's taxi took us to the ferry. He was supposed ot help us buy tickets so we would get the non-Mzunghu (white) price but of course he did not. We waited for the ferry in the waiting area preparing for our 1.5 days on the island of Zanzibar. We had really enjoyed staying with Simon, he was very hospitable to us despite what little he had and we felt vrey fortunate to be having a more authentic experience with the African people. Cheers!

Tags: tanzania, village

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