So I guess a few things have happened since my last entry. I ended off with the Chamwino Girls Club’s international women’s day celebration on Sunday. The actual date of international women’s day was Tuesday the 8th of March. After a morning meeting at Faraja, we rushed over to the stadium to see the parade and speeches that happen every year. Here’s what we found:
Turns out that all the events were basically cancelled the morning of, for some unknown reason. So that sucked.
Over the last week, Lonny and I managed to finish all our work for both Faraja and YCI. That’s right, project is over. Our total output came out to 50 or so pages worth of work plan and annexes for Faraja, as well as various other reporting for YCI. Here’s a picture of me leaving Faraja for what is likely the last time:
It’s hard to believe the month is just about over. I leave Monday morning for Dar es Salaam, but we’ll get to that later.
For our last bit of quasi-YCI-related field work, Lonny and I stopped by the weekly girls club meeting in Chamwino with some pictures we had printed out from the event on the weekend. They seemed pretty pleased with them, but infinitely more pleased with the giant bag of candy we bought at Pira’s just before coming. There were 10 or so teenage girls there, and they absolutely demolished the bag in a matter of minutes. Of course, I’m sure you already knew that the best way to impress the ladies is to offer them candy (preferably out the side of a van). I’m pretty sure I got a marriage proposal from a 17 year old. In fairness, she’s nearly 24,000 years old with the exchange rate. Here’s a pic with the leader of the girls club, whose name is too long and complicated for me to ever remember.
Pira’s is the only thing in town resembling a grocery store. It has 2 aisles, and some tiny shopping carts, and is the go-to place for many hard-to-find products. When I told the owner that I was leaving, she gave Lonny and I Pira’s shirts. For free! The tag on mine reads Size: F. Which probably means “For sure won’t fit you”. It looks like a medium.
At some point last week I remembered to take a picture of chipsy-mayaye. I’m sure I spelled that wrong. But anyways, it’s chips (fries) with egg cooked on top of them. This particular batch is pictured with mishkaki, which is pieces of beef skewered on what appear to be bicycle spokes and served with pepper sauce. This wasn’t the best representation of either dish, but here it is.
Last night we took the family (Mama, her son Azzim, and Dada Rosie) out to Dragonaires, which I gather is the swankiest restaurant in town. There were more white people there than you’d see in a restaurant in Toronto. I had no idea there were this many mzungu in town, or where they’ve all been hiding. It was pretty surreal. I had a steak with melted cheese (yeah…), Lonny had pizza, and the others had chicken and fish.
Today we went to the maasai market in Dakawa, which is about an our outside of Morogoro. Lonny couldn’t make it because he had tummy problems, but I went with a couple German friends (Jan and Mareen), and our friend Yangalai (a living breathing Maasai). He was great as an explainer, translator, and bargainer. We did the entire trip by daladala, but we had to catch it from the main bus station. Here’s a picture of vendors chasing a bus, trying to sell things through the windows.
I don’t think I’ve talked about daladalas before. It’s basically a clown car cleverly disguised as an extended van. There are usually about 16 seats or so (in a van that would likely be a 12 seater by Canadian legroom and girth standards). I’ve counted upwards of 24 people in a single daladala before. Suffice it to say, you get to know everyone pretty well, including the babies that are occasionally foisted upon you. Here’s Mareen, Jan, and I crammed into the back seat with some other guy:
And here’s the view in front of us:
The trip went smoothly enough, and the market was pretty cool. It was much bigger than I expected, and basically divided into 4 main areas: cow auction, shops, goat processing, and food and drink stands. As promised, it was full of Maasai and cows. Surprisingly, we were the only three white people there. This earned us mad street cred, as outlined in article #71 of Stuff White People Like.
I’ll warn you, from this point onwards you’ll be privy to what a goat looks like without all that fur and skin holding it together. As it turns out, animals don’t spontaneously divide and jump into shrink-wrapped Styrofoam trays at the grocery store. A little human TLC is involved:
There were goat parts being cooked all over the place. I didn’t realize how much smoke I inhaled until I blew my nose when I got home. And yeah, this blog is getting more gross by the second. Things smelled surprisingly not-terrible, even at the hacking and skinning stage. Here’s some cooking taking place in what I assume is the traditional fashion.
Jan, Yangalai, and I got a leg, which was served to us in the obviously traditional black plastic bag. Mareen settled for rice and beef soup. The goat was kinda chewy.
With Yangalai’s bargaining assistance, I successfully acquired some sweet loot. That is to say, I bought three items that will not be in my carry-on because they are lethal weapons. That’s as much as I’m telling you for now.
So that was my day. Basically, it’s all goodbyes from here on out. On Monday morning I’ll be heading to Dar es Salaam, where I’ll have to stop by the Ethiopian Airlines office and make them fix my return flight and print me a ticket. After that, I’m planning to meet up with some friends of a friend. On Tuesday morning I’ll head to Zanzibar for a couple days before flying back to the motherland.
Ps, someone explain all these Charlie Sheen references I’m seeing on the internet.