Friday, October 9, 2009

Buckets Everywhere! Sounds of Morning! Transportation in Dodoma!

Today is Thursday, October the 9th and we have just had our first water shortage here at the homestead!
It seems that if you run your tank dry for some reason you can not fill your tank easily the next day.  It will take longer to fill with water than the water may be running.   The other problem is pressure.  Simply put you have little..and when you have little pressure you have little cold or hot water.  So for about a day and night our two apartments had little water.  The Tanzanians seem to know how to deal with this problem.  Their solution is to fill large barrels and buckets with extra water (the plastic water can salesman at the market is very popular) and store these plastic containers until needed.  So I now have one red large bucket and one green bucket with lids and water inside standing in my kitchen! Lovely site!

But there's more.  Once you get your water from the city you  may need to boil it before drinking and using it to wash your veggies and fruits.  Today I spent a good three hours boiling cooking water and  water I can wash my fruits and veggies in..... PLUS I also need to keep hot water handy to wash my dishes in each time.  WHY you ask?  Because there is may not be hot water coming out of my kitchen sink area!

           You can see water has suddenly become very important in my daily life.  Not to mention that it is very dry here and sand blows everywhere.  Yes, drier than Denver but not hotter at the moment.  People who are local say that will change soon and it will start to rain in late October.

Sounds of Morning
I haven't said much about the mornings here.  From where we are living the city sounds of Dodoma don't really reach our ears, BUT the local Mosque certainly does! Right at daybreak the call for early morning prayer goes out over our part of town. It's rather nice in a way waking up to call for prayer to God.  Starts my day on a positive note and the Lord knows I need that right now!
Of course long before prayer call,  the roosters are up crowing along with the various packs of semi kept dogs that run around the campus.  By dawn the noise is so loud you just get up and deal with the water tank heater (which must be turned on about 20 minutes before a shower).
People in Dodoma get up and moving early here.  Lots of schools start by 7:30 am and children and adults are out walking the streets and dirt roads to town or to their schools. (No busing for children in Tanzania as I can see..cost is too get a ride or walk.)
 Usually by 7:30 or 7:45 am I can hear a drum band practicing in the distance and later school children playing outside.  These are the sounds in the morning that I cherish .  They remind me of home.

A typical 4wd Vehicle in Dodoma

Transportation in Dodoma

Transportation in Dodoma is an interesting and widely varied process.  First there are those who are fortunate enough to have a car.  Cars are fine in town and on the other paved roads.  However as you go directly south, north, or west, the main roads are all dirt. In town all the side streets are dirt, rough and narrow.  What really is needed is a 4wd SUV to clear the large potholes and big rocks that often stick up in the dirt streets and roads. Locals here seem to pay no attention to the roughness and drive fast  (50 mph+) like it was smooth and paved.
      The art of driving.  First, you need a Tanzanian license.  One of  the university drivers said he would get my license for me.  He needed a photocopy of my passport picture, work/resident visa, U.S. driver's license, and 12,000 shillings (About $ 9.00 U.S.) and he would get it for me.  He was gone about an hour and came back with the license. Fair enough, but I still have to go to the police station and have them put a stamp on it.
       Now actual driving requires having eyes similiar to that of an insect (lots of eyes and 360 degrees view). You need to see well on both sides, straight ahead, and remember you driving on the left side of the road as well as dodging people walking, or sort of wandering in the road, those riding bicycles on both sides of the road as well as suicide taxi drivers who seem to drive anywhere they want.  Did I mention a lot of motorcycles? There are few stop signs or other roads signs so you are on your own!

The Ideal Vehicle to have in Dodoma

Our neighbor  has the ideal vehicle.  Its an older Toyota Land Cruiser (mid 90s) that has heavy duty leaf springs, 3 inch shackle lifts giving the 4wd drive plenty of ground clearance, a large winch on the front, turbo diesel, axle housing braces, excellent luggage rack on top and oversized wheels and 6 ply tires.  Its very comfortable, even has a sunroof and air conditioning.  It has a 24 volt electrical system, too.
      To give a perspective, if you wanted to go north to Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, you would need to drive on about 150 miles of dirt roads before you hit the paved road from Morogoro to take you the rest of the way.  Having gone north part of the way to visit the Catholic Retreat, it is a rough road!
This Sunday Charlotte and I will take a solo drive in one of the cars owned by the University .  Report will follow later!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Moving out...Moving In....Delivery in Dodoma

On Saturday we moved into our three room apartment.  What a difference a day can make. The university did paint our concret floors, fixed our missing window pieces, and delivered our stove and fridge (more about that later).  After visiting other homes in the area, I can say our apartment looks about like all the rest who work for missions or volunteer.
Most places have unpainted concret floors, one kitchen sink, a shower same level as the floor with a large drain, (very European I think), borrowed and mixed matched furniture, hot water until 8:00 am off until 5:00pm (Dodoma is conserving electricity and water), facuets that look like outside ones for hot and cold, well worn wall paint including drips,  and a trash hole and fire pit out back of your home. But it is home and once we get it painted ....things should look up. I wanted to do a  Home and Garden TV make over but the supplies here are limited.  Very little good paint that actually covers the walls and  brushes fall apart as you use them. I have painted the cabinets white with much effort due to the poor paint and brushes.  It took four coats and still does not look like one full coat.  When I have gone shopping the home selections have been confusing and limited.  Often making a person shop several small businesses in the market area for supplies...only to give up from heat exhaustion.

Now for the delivery in Dodoma.  Our neighbor, David and I had gone to two stores in Dodoma that carry high end items like real stoves and fridges. The preferred cooking tool is a two burner cooker that can sit on a counter or floor or a charcoal stove, neither will have an oven. Finally we all arrived at a joint decision and the university sent a voucher .  On the day of our move no one seemed ready to honor our needed time table for delivery. When the items arrived by special Dodoma way they were the wrong stove and fridge!! So our former host and now neighbor went back and delivered some old fashion western industrial talk to the owner about making the customer happy and delivering on your promises.  Soon a man in a delivery cart ( a man  pulling the cart about 3/4 of mile from downtown) appeared and exchanged the stove and fridge for the right ones.  (Pictures are below!  Enjoy!) What an exhausting day for all...but now we are moved in and I am baking bread in my new oven!  My Grandmother Fagerstrom would be soooo... proud!!
           New Fridge and Stove


The university still has not started but will slowly this week begin to assess students returning who failed a course or need to pay the rest of their tuition from last year and then take exams.  All in all it is still quiet out front.  Our place is right next to student housing.. about 800 of them when they come!! Right now we just have a couple of  African dogs (We nick-named "Mange" and "Flea"), a few university students, some faculty and two friendly gray lizards, "Fly Boy" and "Skeeter" (because they eat insects off our walls).  Soon another blog on transportation in  Dodoma.

Blessings, Charlotte and David