Thursday, October 1, 2009

To Market..To Market..Rice and Stones!!

To Market ...To Market.. Rice and Stones...Grocery Stores!

Today's blog will concern itself with food!  Without a car... life here is rather dependent on who will take us to town and when.  Most days, because the university is not up and running the semester yet, we hitch a ride with our neighbor.  Riding into town is an adventure in itself but it really starts once we arrive near the vegetable and fruit markets.
 The establishments base themselves inside an open well used building ...which once inside might remind you of an Indiana Jones' movie.  It is dark in some sections with narrow passages,  flies trying to settle on food and people with bags of rice, potatoes , beans and peanuts everywhere.  Once your eyes have adjusted to the darkness you can see small boys running around begging to carry your shopping bags for just a few shillings. The vendors are  polite and friendly which surprised me due to all the confusion elsewhere.  You can find almost anything here except meat.  Evidently a few years ago a rather nasty sickness happened here due to the selling of butchered  meat without keeping it cold. This stopped the practice of offerring meat by its feet and hanging it upside down for flies to land on! I really haven't cooked on my own yet so I'm not very sure where I will buy non-frozen meats but I know you can here in Dodoma. For now I am perfectly happy to buy frozen (hopefully without flies attached).

                                                                                                                     Going to Outdoor Market

While in the market my nieghbor advised me to buy a rice basket.  This came as a complete surprise to me for I seldom clean my rice when I am home.  But for some strange reason there are small white stones in the rice sold in the market.  I know this for a fact because David and  I have chopped down on a spoonfull of rice only to hear a large crunch!  You take the unwashed rice and shake it  aound in the flat rice basket.  I am assuming the little stones fall out then through the bottom..but some hold on for dear life and make it into cooked rice!! Oh My!

English speaking grocery owners are few and far between here in the city.  There is a new store outside of town on the way back to Dar es Salaam that is small but operates like a small supermarket.  It has prices on the items, stocked on well lighted shelves, and they even give you a itemized recipe at the end!! Most of the stores just add up the items without telling you what they cost and show you the total on paper or on a calculator.  Yes, no prices on your cans, cartons, eggs, drink cases, boxes of cereal (not much variety either in the types of items you can buy.)                                                                                                                                                           .
There has also been somewhat of a shortage here in  milk and soft drinks in all our stores for the past week or so.  We don't know just can't buy those items anywhere in town. David is going bonkers for diet drinks!! I can survive on tea or coffee but I must admit I am beginning to want milk for cereal and creamer.

Food here in general is good. Our host has a  housekeeper who cooks, well the same meal everyday and it is healthy but meat free.(rice, tomatoes, onions, beans, potatoes, cucumbers  green beans). Sometimes we go to Rose's Cafe,  an Indian resturant down town near Two Sisters' Grocery Store. She has excellent food and very cheap prices.  Rose serves the best tea and milk drink along with chicken or beef curry dishes.  Yes curry... but it is not spicey like in Boulder, Colorado..very good and fills you up.  After a rather exciting round of shopping in Dodoma, Rose's Cafe seems a little like being home (but first I close my eyes and tap my feet twice).

Stay tuned for more adventures here at the end of the highway in the middle of Tanzania....

Blessings to you all..............Charlotte and David

PS: Can't really show the Market because some people do not want their picture taken.  I will try to sneak one in from the street!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


(Mama Ruth and Grace in a dress from Colorado)
I can't believe another week has gone by since we arrived.  So much has happened to us and St. John's University has not even started back up yet!!  There are so many topics I could write about that I have decided to share only one or two for each new blog I write.  That way I can upload pictures and you can see the joys and frustrations of living in Dodoma.
The first topic I would like to share is about the missionaries here and volunteers like ourselves.  There is only a small community of internationals here, mostly from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and few of us from the United States and Canada.  We mostly bump into one another as we move about downtown shopping at all the English friendly stores or markets.  Everyone here is connected somehow to a church organization, health agency, soil or water project, educational institution, book and Bible distributors, or like us here on our own.  Here in Dodoma there are about 100 of us out of about 300,000 population.  We sort of stand out, especially when walking.  Tanzania appears to use a lot of outside assistance to help with humanitarian projects. David and I have met a number of people who are from the UK, Australia or New Zealand.  In fact I am beginning to think in an accent!! OOPS!
                                                                                                                   Church of England in Dodoma

Another group of people who live and work here are the ones whose ancestors came from India.  They appear to run the smaller grocery stores and some of the resturants.  They speak several languages including  English. As of yet no motels, just a couple of hotels are operated by people orginally from India.
Market owners are locals along with the day laborers.  We see road work (Shoveling gravel, etc.) often done by African women.
(Woman do a lot of the work here!)
We will need to employ a housekeeper three days a week.  They are usually women or men who live near the college and will clean, wash by hand (no washing machines or dryers here) and iron, cook lunch, burn your trash, ( no pick up in Tanzania) and water what brave little plants you have growning! I draw the line at burning my own trash you see.  By the way if we had to do that in America I can tell you that it will really change the way you see yourself shopping.  Last week David bought 5 cans of coke and I asked our host  where to put the empty cans.  He said they will go out in a hole in the backyard for things you don't burn. I turned to David and said, "Sorry, only bottles for you from now on..I can't have a dump and a fire pit in my backyard!" So it's back to the 1950's with glass bottles and cases of drinks.
Sunday morning downtown Dodoma!

The last item is our University population.  The faculty here are all educated (MA, or few with PhDs like David) and come from various African countries, Tanzania as well as the usual western nations.  The staff of administrators are all from Africa and many from Tanzania.  Some have been educated out of the country even as far away as the US or UK.  That is a blessing for our students.  It provides a wonderful role model.  More coming about the food, the clothing, the roads, the weather and yes our mission!
             R TO L David,  teachers from St. John's and  CAMS on a Sunday for coffee and biscuts.