Friday, January 20, 2012

The Roads of Moshi/Karanga

I wasn’t exactly sure what to write this blog about.  I mean, I have a lot going on, but I thought simply writing about my day, though very exciting to me, might be kind of boring to a reader (except yesterday's trip to Marangu was pretty fun-filled). So, I figured I'd write about the I peeking your interest?  Probably not, but I've learned quite a bit just by simply going down a dirt road.

To start with, you drive on the wrong side of the road.  The wheel is on the wrong side of the car (or in most cases, the van or Toyota Land Cruiser).  I am going to be awfully confused when I get back to the States.

Anyway, to describe what a trip down the road is like:

Besides the main highway, it is made out of dirt and rocks, and is dusty and bumpy.  Somehow, our CCS van makes it down these tiny, roller-coaster roads every day.  People are constantly beeping at each other, not like the long mean honks in the city, just short little beeps to let others knowing your coming through.  There are cars, motorbikes, bikes, and people walking every which way.  I couldn’t drive here, even if I figured out what side of the road to be on.

 I'm probably still boring you, sorry (pole)!

To walk (or run) down the road is an adventure in itself, and a wonderful way to practice your Swahili. 

There is so much life here, people are always bustling around, kids playing alongside the street, or goat, chickens, or wild African dogs meandering about.  And no, as much as I have wanted to, I have resisted petting one of the dogs…although they would be wonderful running dogs.

During the first week here, me and some of the other volunteers would go walk around, just to check things out.  It ended up being a great way to practice Swahili, as so many people (especially kids) will stop and say hello.  Across from our home-base there is a little girl named Brenda who always loves to run out and wave to us.  Further down the street there are homes, little shops/shacks, and secondary schools.  One day on our way back to home base, a little girl, with her mom following, ran up to us and asked to get her picture taken.  They had no problem with us walking onto their yard and talking to them.  

On most mornings, I am out of our gate between 6:10-6:15, right when it gets light enough and I can see the road.  As the minutes go by, more and more people are on the road.  There are women and men carrying buckets to get water, women carry who knows how many lbs of food or other items on their heads, and lots of children walking to school.  I have no idea how far they have to walk, but for most of them, it’s is probably much farther than the length of my run.  Of course, it is really the kids that amaze me.  There’s 8 yr olds walking to school by themselves, and some probably younger!  And there are so many of them, all wearing the uniforms.  Many of the younger ones even wear sweaters…and it is mid 80s outside!  The coolest thing that has happened to me while running down a small dirt path alongside the road/highway was when a little girl ahead of me started to run too.  I pushed a little to catch up, and we were running together.  I asked her a few things in butchered Swahili and then some in English (most of kids know at least some English), and then we just ran and smiled.  Soon, we met up with some of her other classmates, all girls, started running with me.  There must’ve been 10-15.  I can’t describe how awesome it was.  When I saw a few slowing down, I stopped to tell them all “nzuri sana (very good)!”
and hi 5’ed each one. 

You know what?  I’m not really sure where I was going with this blog.  I really thought it was going to be interesting or profound in some way, kind of like Cormic McCarthy’s book The Road.  Unfortunately, I’m not a talented or established author, and this blog has been incredibly boring.  Maybe next time I will go back to writing about my day.  Or, I could right more about the schools, frustrations about my placement, gender issues, how crazy town is… Or you might like to hear about the safari, which was pretty cool… Please feel free to let me know what you would like to hear about before I rant about something again.

I guess the funny thing is that the road was really interesting to me when I first got to Moshi, and, while it still is now, it’s just part of life.  Now, that is not to say I still don’t get excited to wave to the little kids, or watch in amazement as a women carries a huge bunch of bananas on her head, but it is simply life.  Different that in America, yes.  I can’t tell you how much I miss the serenity of the CVNP.  But it is just simply other people going about their lives and doing their best to make a living.  Going down the road, I don’t remark on the level of poverty here.  A house is a house, whether it is made out of bricks or dirt.  A home is anywhere you want it to be, as long as you fill it with love.  I can’t really speak of what should and should not be done here in regards to technology or leisure and business activities in comparison with first world countries.  Adding huge TVs, fancy cars, and sky-high terminals just wouldn’t seem quite right to me.  The culture includes both beauty and ugliness.  Tourist love to go visit the Masai (a native tribe) for their simplicity and long-held traditions, but at the same time, their ways are completely unjust and crude.
Is it possible to have the best of two worlds?
The main issues to be conquered all start with education (just like in the US).  From there, things move on to health and gender equality issues.  There’s a lot needs to be changed, and a lot that…well maybe doesn’t.  I guess I really don’t know.  Again, there is really no point to this blog… maybe you should just check out some of the pictures on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. You're way too hard on yourself Rach. I'm finding your blogs about your African adventure very interesting.