From Your Sista In Dar Es Salaam
Posted June 8, 2009on:
Hello Everyone… Timi writing. I’m a member of the iStep Team working in Dar Es Salaam. Its amazing how we have already reached the beginning of our third week of work , and as Anthony said things are really starting to pick up. As soon as we received some of the approvals that we were waiting for, we started making a significant amount of progress and working to catch up with the time line that we initially created. At the end of last week, Bea and I worked to revise our interview questions in preparation for the beginning of the needs assesment of the three communities that we are partnering alongside. Its so interesting how things change once you’re on the ground. The needs assessment portion of these project is one that I think is absolutely necessary in ensuring a true partnership.
Last week Friday we went to the Mlimani School (a primary school on the UDSM campus) to meet with some of their teachers that we will be interviewing and working with. It was extremely powerful for me to see how excited and interested the teachers were, especially since we haven’t even started conducting interviews. Many of the teachers that we met with had never really learned how to use a computer, and they expressed interest in the idea of learning how to use the computer to teach their students how to play academically oriented games. One of the teachers made the following remark, “If we learn, the students learn.” That statement really stuck with me as proof that there is a potential for the project to not only help the students but empower the teachers.
…As far as life in Dar Es Salaam/Mlimani/the UDSM campus/Changanykeni. We have become quite impressively independent and accustom to our living situation, transportation, and daily survival. Walking in the heat is second nature to us. We walk A LOT. We sweat A LOT. The walk from the UCC to the Hostel is about 2 km and we walk back and forth like champs. We are also beginning to know our way around the campus, by foot and dala-dala. The campus is really huge, with lots of green space. The walk home is actually quite scenic and tranquil especially after one has had a long day in the city. We also know how to catch a not so full dala-dala. We can bargain at bit, but bargaining doesn’t seem to be the “in” thing here. The few times we tried didn’t end up a success. We’re slowly using more and more tap water on a daily basis. I have started brushing my teeth and rinsing my tooth brush in tap water. We wash our dishes with the water and recently used it to rinse some fruit that we bought.
Some of the entertaining things that have happened to in the past week.
Lock Jaw at Hill Park
- We usually eat lunch at a restaurant just across the street from the UCC. Its called “Hill Park”. Its a pretty nice/reasonably-priced restaurant AND a hot spot for stray cats. Last week, Dan and Brad decided to name one of the cats “Lock Jaw”, because it has a serious jaw deformity…I guess you had to be there? 😦
Mosquito Net Sabbatical
- Early last week, I decided to give my mosquito net to the Mama Bwembe (the very friendly lady that takes care of our hostel) to be washed. That process took about 3-4 days. That was 3-4 days without a mosquito net, which resulted in about 20+ mosquito bites all over my body. Needless to say, extra-strength hydro-cortisone has been a great friend to me during this rough time.
Friday night with the expatriates.
- We had a really fun night on Friday because, for a change, we got to see some of the cool night life that Tanzania has to offer and we had someone to drive us for some parts of the night. A friend of a friend of mine is currently vacationing in Dar Es Salaam. We went to dinner with him and his friend that work for UNHR here in Dar Es Salaam. The place we went to was called Malaika and it was a nice restaurant on the beach. Most of us ordered Chicken Tandori/King Fish-both dishes were delicious!
Princeton and CMU unite at the East African Statistical Center in Changanykeni
- Midday Sunday, some students from Princeton arrived at our Hostel at the East African Statistical Training Center. They will be here for 2 months studying Swahili at the UDSM campus. There are 10 students and they are all really awesome! Their professor arranged for the cafeteria to be open for Breakfast and Dinner (it closed down the week before they arrived). The group also has a dala-dala that picks them up from our compound every morning at 8:40am. They were nice enough to let us ride with them today 🙂
Brad’s New Hair Cut
- On Saturday night, we decided it was time to give Brad a hair. To be honest I was really worked because Brad said if I messed up he would just buzz it all off. I didn’t want that to happen because I would consider his buzzed hair my epic failure. Fortunately enough…Dan was playing a song (accompanied by his guitar) that basically said that I was going to make Brad look like a fool. I proved them wrong…Brad’s new hair cut looks pretty darn good.
Sorry I have no pictures to show. I’m not a big picture taker because at times it attracts unnecessary attention and also our upstream is incredibly slow here at the office, so its virtually impossible to upload the pictures. Hope you enjoyed reading this post…I enjoyed writing it 🙂