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I'm sitting here in a mostly deserted office, reading through a human rights report on Tanzania. Today is the long-dreaded day of quarterly review and planning. Let me once again emphasize that this NGO is extremely organized and efficient- the review, for example, is the day-long meeting during which all units convene to reflect upon the work of last quarter, and discuss new objectives for next quarter. Almost all of this is conducted in Kiswahili, so I was assigned to more (very interesting) reading. The amount of reading material I've consumed is absolutely mind boggling; I can't even begin to measure what I have learned! It's a pretty awesome feeling.

My week has been pretty calm; it's hard to imagine that I've only been living here for eleven days! A friend of Ruth's came into town on Monday from Dubai. I find him to be fairly insufferable, but he's leaving pretty soon. It's strange, because the expat community here is overwhelmingly female...I'd put it at a ratio of 9:1. And, almost all of these women are also here alone, usually working for an NGO, and usually between the ages of 24-30. It's pretty comforting, and a little suprising. They've formed a pretty close-knit network, which is also nice. If our couch-crasher is a good representation of the Dar-dwelling male expats...I'll stick to the ladies. haha

I went to the most remarkable exhibit yesterday. The national museum hosted the free World Press Photo Exhibition and it was absolutley breathtaking in a very good way, and in a very disturbing way. Here's a link to the online gallery if you're interested: http://www.worldpressphoto.nl/index.php?option=com_photogallery&task=blogsection&id=16&Itemid=137&bandwidth=low Given my link history...I really hope this one works! Anyway, as you'll likely see for yourself, the exhibition is basically a collection of international award-winning press photography. It was heartwrenching and warming at the same time- I think photography is the most incredible medium. Make sure you read the captions- some of them are quite political, but very interesting...although the photos speak for themselves.

We took the dala dala to work this morning. I know, I know...but it's not that I'm lazy, my knee just needed a break. The dala dalas are the main form of public transport. They are about the size of a soccer mom minivan, and cost about 16 cents. Now, before you say: "how comfortable, how cheap!", let me remind you that somewhere between 20-26 people cram into these mini vans, it is an acrobatic feat second only to afri-yoga. My first dala dala experience was a little horrifying, because people just continued to cram in the vehicle...even when I was already shoved snugly cheek-to-window with my my legs crossed and toes underneath another person's foot. The money-taker kid stands with half his body out the door-window, inaudibly shouting the next stop as the dala dala careens around potholes, chickens, pedestrians and any semblance of traffic laws.

Screaming:"SHUSHA!!!", you pray the dala dala stops somewhere near your destination; the sardines skillfully uncoil themselves and pile out of the van so you can depart, and then quickly reload as the dala dala shoots back into traffic. It's so chaotic it leaves my head spinning every time!

haha, today's dala dala had a chandelier in the ceiling. bizarre, and endearing at the same time. It went very well with the blasting american 80's music.

Ah, life's little pleasures. :)

Posted by MegMc2003 04:02 Archived in Tanzania

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