Time really really flies when you're immersed in the expat/NGO world of subsaharan africa. I just realized that this is my third week with HakiElimu- which is almost incomprehensible...I'm nearly halfway done with my trip!
Tomorrow is a national holiday: "Saba Saba" - which literally translates to "seven seven." I know it is also called "Industry Day" and there are a lot of trade fairs... but other than that, it's just a day off work and a lovely long weekend. I'm planning travel to Bagamoyo- a major stop during the slave trade and the first capital of German East Africa. It is really scarcely more than a village now, with phantom buildings, a rich art scene and some lovely beaches. The bus fare is .83 and it's only an hour away- I figured it would make for a nice break from the city. I was originally planning to go alone, but a dartmouth undergrad named Amelia (whom I met at Ruth's party) has asked to buddy up. I think we're going leave tomorrow morning after I've had a chance to sleep past my normal wake-up time of 615 am.
Independence day sort of came and went for me- without all the gaudy decorations, fireworks stands, oppressive heat and American flags- it's a pretty easy holiday to forget. I went exploring after work and somehow made my way to the Mwenge handicrafts market- (though not without confusion). I had to catch two different buses, navigate my way out of a neighborhood, catch a taxi, walk, and then ask a butcher for directions. The market was pretty incredible- there were tons of little shops selling high-quality souveniers: everything from earrings, to masks, to full size carvings of maasai warriors. The place was almost completely devoid of customers, the shopkeepers were pleasantly less-annoying than might be expected, and the middle of the market was filled with craftsmen actually creating the very items in the shops. I did a little scoping out and plan to return when I have more time- (I told Ruth I'd meet her at the movie theater for a little Bollywood fun).
So I left the market and walked the kilometer or so down the dusty, mildly chaotic road. The most interesting thing I saw, en route to the theater, was a typically jam-packed dala dala driving down the road with a 45 degree tilt to the left. At first I thought the road was slanting, because no vehicle could possibly be in motion at that sort of angle- but, every other vehicle looked perfectly normal....all I could think was, I wonder if those passengers are concerned....
Unfortunately, it was half-off night at the theater and the entire Indo-Tanzanian population of Dar got there before we did. *sad* So we saw "Inside Man" instead- (I suppose it was more appropriate to see an American movie on the 4th of July anyway). I also saw an ad on the wall for the new 9-11 movie that is coming out pretty soon- which made me a little curious about how well such a film will be recieved abroad. hm, time will tell.
Anyway, I hope everyone at home is doing well- thank you so much for emailing me!!! I will have much more interesting things to say after my weekend adventure...
Tutaonana!! (we shall meet again!!)