God bless the survivors
28 February 2013- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
It’s a hot and sticky evening and we are really feeling it after time in the cool highlands of northern Malawi and southern Tanzania. We had a brilliant few days just south of Iringa visiting Annie and Quentin and their two gorgeous girls. They live on a really nice property which they have worked hard to make a successful farm. It was good to be in their lovely guest quarters and not have to go outside in the morning to use the loo! But the best thing was the amazing warm welcome they gave us and being in a family home. We had good chats, really enjoyed their company, had fun playing with the girls and ate amazing fresh food at every meal (so nice!). We were spoilt! We also spent a day getting some bits done- Olly did a service on landy and we cleaned the water filter and a few other things. Happily we were able to help with a few things at the house as well- Olly packing veg boxes and me helping Annie with the salad dressing she makes and sells (they are delicious).
We went into Iringa as well to get a few things done and found Neema Crafts (Annie suggested we have a look and it’s currently being run by some other friends of David and Elaine’s so we were able to meet them briefly as well). What a great place. It is supported by the Anglican church and is amazing. After having a quick look at the shop, which sells beautifully hand crafted jewellery, scarves, clothing and other things we were shown around the workshops- so much talent in one place! All of the items are made by people with various physical disabilities. There are no services for people with disabilities here and they are often shunned so not only does this project provided over a 100 people with employment but with the sense of satisfaction, dignity and purpose working gives all of us (it does, even if we get sick of it!). We saw people hand weaving and dying material for scarves, making jewellery out of recycled glass from old bottles and newspapers and creating beautiful wooden lamps. We then had lunch in the cafe where we were served yummy sandwiches. The cafe is run entirely by people who are deaf, you simply write you order down and hand it to the person at the counter. The menu even includes a few sign words, like hello and thank you if you want to give it a go! We both loved it! Community based projects are my passion and it was great to get a chance to see this one.
We left Annie and Quentin’s place yesterday and drove half way to Dar. The roads here are mad! Well the roads are fine (good really) but the drivers are literally all over the road, especially the bus drivers. At first we thought they have a death wish but it appears they are happy to take others with them. God is Great, Allah is Great, Pray for the Survivors… these are written on the back of busses, to give them a bit of extra help? I wish they would rely a little less on god or allah and a bit more on staying on their side of the road! It’s not at all uncommon for a packed bus to pass two or three big trucks while going over a hill or around a blind corner. We were nearly sideswiped by one doing that this morning, Olly quick response and that there was room for us to move over prevented it. There are also massive speed humps (no wondering why!) regularly and the speed limit goes up and down all the time so all in all it takes a lot of concentrating. We got stopped for speeding this afternoon, Olly was just slowing down when we saw the police. Fair enough we were speeding, its hard to keep track of the speed limit changes. He stopped us and showed us on the radar we were speeding and said the fine was 30,000 Tsh (about $18.00) we were polite (and he was polite and professional) and didn’t argue about the speeding but acted a bit shocked at the amount of the fine. He paused and waved us on telling us to drive safe! We were quite surprised!
Next stop Dar (after driving right through a national park on the main road and seeing heaps of animals from the road!). It all came to a grinding halt! Traffic is horrific and once we worked out why it’s no wonder- people just drive on whatever side of the road they see space so if there is a gap (even if not on their side) they simply drive in it so of course when people come who are actually meant to be driving there…. well you get the picture- chaos! The result is no-one goes anywhere for ages.
Anyway this afternoon we finally made our way to the ferry to South Dar where we are staying (an area where there are places to camp), had a bit of an issue with the cost of the ferry (with a very surly women) and I was told as the passenger I had to get out and wait with the pedestrians passengers while Olly drove landy. I didn’t mind of course but then I noticed other cars had passengers so I crawled back over the fence to join Olly in landy and we crept our way on to the packed ferry for the few minutes ride across.
We have booked the ferry to Zanzibar for the morning. Landy will be staying here and aside from really really hoping she is safe its weird to leave her! One year ago tomorrow we left Sydney on this wonderful adventure! What a year.
L and O