Sunday, May 15, 2011


One of our fellow teachers was in a horrible car accident. Luckily, at eight-month's of being pregnant this woman survived with only minor injuries, as did her two young children. The driver of the car she was in died on the spot along with a newborn baby from a different family. The driver of the bus that they hit head-on also was killed as well as three of his passengers.

When you think of the dangers of being in East Africa disease might come to mind first. Malaria, cholera, typhoid, and yellow fever, among others, all do occur. But if you have gotten the vaccinations, treat the water, store and cook food properly, and take a prophylaxis for malaria the chances of serious disease really are very small.

Maybe you think of wild animals. However, in a settled area like the town outskirts where we live and work all you are going to encounter are a few centipedes and scorpions and, very rarely, a snake. Sorry, but no lions and tigers and bears. Mishaps with critters can be largely avoided by being mindful of where you are stepping and what you pick up.

After living in Tanzania for almost two years I find the scariest thing about the place is the traffic. Many drivers lack good training, go way too fast, and take risks that we would consider reckless, such as passing near curves. Many motorcycle riders appear almost suicidal. On top of the driving behavior itself there are poor practices such as the spotty use of seat belts, motorcyclists who don't bother to use the strap on their helmets, and non-existent child seats. Remember the days when you could get a ride in the back of a pick-up? It's common practice here, along with packing as many people as possible in the microbuses, which are called daladala. I know about the daladala because I ride one into town pretty much every week. You wouldn't think it possible to put that many bodies into a minivan.

So if you're coming to these parts don't be excessively concerned about health issues or the wildlife. Instead, take out extra insurance for Accidental Death and Dismemberment. 8-/


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