Tanzania Entry 7

Oh oh, slight change in plans

tanzania_7What happened was, we went to the bus station at 8:30 on Wed. morning to catch our 9:00 bus. After much discussion between our cab driver and the ticket office staff, they tracked down a young man who explained to us that the 9:00 bus left at 8:00. We had missed it. He suggested we take the non-express bus that left at 9. We bought tickets and got on the bus filled with people, produce, livestock and luggage. I asked the driver how long the trip would take. When he told me 10 hours (which I have learned would really be 12), we changed our minds and decided to go the next day on the express bus.

We trooped back to the hotel. Poor William appeared to feel personally responsible for the mistake. We went back to town and I cashed traveler’s checks at the bank. Three people got involved with much calculation and re-calculation, a trip to the safe then a meeting with the teller and after half an hour I left with my TShillings and a note from the teller with his phone number and email address. I am not sure what that was about but am open to ideas……..

Next, on to the internet non cafe. It took me 20 minutes to get into my e-mail. I composed a lovely little note to my sweetie and sent it off with three minutes to spare on my time built, but alas, I don’t think it went through before my time expired. We left dejected, looking for a high speed internet cafe to no avail. I am sorry I have not been able to send photos. One photo overloads the system and kicks you off so you have to start all over again.tanzania_7_2

Anyway, we went back to the hotel early feeling discouraged. I read, took a nap and chatted with William, our host at the hotel. I had an interesting conversation with him about the change in policy in Tanzania. Tanzania got independence in 1964 and was a socialist country. Evidently around 1997, the party in power decided socialism wasn’t working so well and they should become capitalist. William is not too happy with the situation. He feels he was better off before. He was working for a hotel run by the government. Since the change, he is now working for privately run hotels and does not feel his life is better. I, of course, do not know what it was like here before but my impression of the country is that although there is a lot of poverty they have a growing economy and people are very industrious. As I said before, life appears to be lived on Main Street. This also appears to be true off the highway on the main road going north from Dar to Ashura. Like in the states, before freeways, the main highway goes right through downtowns of small towns.

tanzania_7_3In each town there were shops busy doing business. Every time the bus slowed down, vendors would come running to the windows selling drinks, fruit, nuts, phone cards etc. Outside of Dar there seems to be a thriving building industry producing concrete blocks and lumber. We passed a new bridge being built parallel to the one we were going over. There is new building going on all over the place. The type of building varies greatly. Remember when I told you our first day here we visited the Village museum and described it as similar to Murphy’s landing, demonstrating historical building types? Scratch that – the homes are still being built the same way in many of the smaller villages. They use limbs of trees to frame the walls and pack the red clay to fill it in then thatch the roof. They are very cute little houses. They also make bricks out of the red clay and some buildings are stuccoed. The other striking thing I have observed is that people are very collaborative. Every question or decision seems to involve much discussion involving anyone within the vicinity. Any project includes onlookers offering advice and counsel. It’s pretty enduring. Joyce

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