Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Things We Do in Mtwara ...

... But Not in San Francisco
  • Sleep under a mosquito net
  • Kill mosquitoes with a handheld bug zapper
  • Take mefloquine every week (a prophylaxis for malaria)
  • Take cold showers!
  • Purify tap water with a Swiss-made 10-liter water filter unit
  • Collect rain water for household use (on occasion)
  • Store buckets of water in case the water stops running
  • Check that water is running before flushing the toilet
  • Burn our paper garbage and plastic film (no garbage service)
  • Wash all our clothes by hand
  • Get mail at the post office (no street delivery)
  • Deposit mail at the post office (no street mailboxes, either)
  • Run an electric fan almost all the time, even while sleeping
  • Stock candles & matches (you never know when the power will go out)
  • Keep flashlights handy as soon as it gets dark
  • Use adapters for three different types of electrical plugs (British, German, U.S.)
  • Use a voltage converter (Tanzania has 220 volts)
  • Check clothes and shoes for critters (geckos, scorpions, centipedes, et al)
  • Block gaps in windows and doors with tape and newspaper
  • Carry an umbrella at all times, rain or shine
  • Eat peanut butter everyday for breakfast
  • Ration our chocolate supply
  • Buy rice, beans, flour and sugar in bulk
  • Clean rice and beans for little stones and other debris
  • Test the freshness of eggs with the "float test" (if it floats, we throw it away)
  • Use powdered milk (imported from The Netherlands)
  • Walk and drive on the left side of the road (this used to be a British colony)
  • Ride daladala (minivan buses) and bajaji (little three-wheel motorized buggies)
  • Take 10-12 hour bus rides to Dar es Salaam
  • Do #1 in the bush on long bus rides: ladies on the right side of the road and men on the left side
  • Drink Stoney Tangawizi (a strong ginger-flavored soda -- we will miss it)
  • Eat chipsi mayai (an omelette made with french fries!)
  • Pig out on mangoes when they are in season
  • Toss our food scraps in a big composting/rotting pile behind the rectory
  • Keep sweets in the frig away from the ants and rodents
  • Limit our internet access, including turning off images in web browsers (our connection is metered -- we pay for every byte down and up)
  • Use computers with only 256 MB memory (the ten-year old donated systems at our school)
  • Buy paper phone vouchers with scratch off numbers for putting money on our cellphones and internet access
  • Text/SMS more than talk (it's clunky but much cheaper)
  • Use A4 size paper instead of 8½ x 11
  • Visit a dispensary to see a medical officer
  • Take a half day's bus ride to see a dentist
  • Return soda pop bottles (remember those sturdy bottles with a deposit?)
  • Clean mud off shoes as a frequent part of arriving home
  • Count out squares of toilet paper
  • and ...
  • Write a personal blog
-Earl

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