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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Monday, 20 Apr 2009

Location: Kahama, Tanzania

MapApril 19th

Today, we decided to spend the day catching up on paper work, journaling, sorting/editing pictures and of course, emailing. After I caught up on the Planet Ranger writing, Pola and I headed down to the Marine ĎHotel,í memory stick in hand, to use the Internet. We left the girls at the Pine Ridge Hotel to order our lunch. Some of our meals have taken up to two hours to be served so we figured we would have time to go into town, go on the Internet and then bike back out to the Hotel before our lunch was served. We used my favourite mode of transportation, the 30cent bike Ďteksií. The boys love to take us and if you gesture that you only need two bikes, in an instant, there are 6-7 on front of you. As we ride, cheers, whistles and shouts of ďMzunguĒ follow us! Iíve warned the girls that theyíll feel a little let down when they go back to Canada where donít people run up to them wherever they go, smiling, waving, yelling and crowding around. We arrived at the Marine only to find out that the Internet wasnít working; Iím getting quite used to being disappointed. We grabbed two more bike-guys and headed back to meet the girls.
While we were eating a group of Canadians from Barrick Gold Mines came in to grab a quick beer. They were so surprised to see 6 white women sitting there. Iím sure they wouldíve loved to sit and talk but had to head back to the mine. They told us that they only get one day off per month and then, on that day, have a very strict curfew punishable by firing. We had wanted to go up to the mine; the more contacts the better, but just ran out of time.
Val, Pola and I spent the rest of the afternoon visiting Nesphory and his family. Neema, Nesphoryís wife is a wonderful seamstress and had offered to sew Val a shirt from some fabric she had purchased here in Africa. We had a great visit with and I got to quickly get on the Internet and post my Planet Ranger.
We settled in at the Resthouse for the night and after I had gone to my room a vehicle pulled in. Dr Subi was here to see me. Iíd had a problem with a plugged ear for the past week and Val had mentioned it to him. He had said that he would call me if he had time to see me but I hadnít heard from him. Here he was now and he said to me, ďA good Doctor doesnít miss appointments and I missed mine with you. I have to leave at 5am for Dar so I realized that I had to see you tonight.Ē He borrowed a headlight from Pola and gave me a quick exam at the Resthouse and then asked us to come with him to the hospital. Pola and I climbed into his jeep and off we went. It was embarrassing to pull up at this time of the night for such a minor ailment. Every time we ran into someone, he would be talking in a fast Swahili but I could hear the words Ďear wax.í And then they would look at meÖ. I just wanted to turn around and leave. Dr Subi gathered two others of his team, a sterile surgical kit, booted up and off the five of us went into the OR room. After a painful few minutes of him digging around in my ear with the help of his two assistants, (Pola has pictures..) He pulled out a plug that Iím sure had been in there for months. I know this is kind of disgusting but itís a good story and afterwards, I couldnít believe how well I could hear! We all had a good laugh when we got back to the Resthouse and showed the others the pictures.
I was a little nervous going over to my side of the Resthouse because I thought I would be there alone, Major Matala was not home yet. I had Pola come and help me check out all of the rooms but then I didnít know if I should lock the outside door. You feel so safe when you know there is someone sitting right outside your door all night, gun in hand. I was happy when I heard the Major drive in and the doors were bolted for the night. We had another good conversation about the future of TOPP here in Kahama and I must say, Iím really feeling the pressure to deliver now. He said that heís been talking to his colleagues about me and that they need to do whatever they can to help us. He said he will give me his personal email and encouraged me to email him whenever I need something or have any problems. As far as his role as District Commissioner, he has quite the job ahead of him. I donít know how heíll keep up the pace that heís been on; heís out of here everyday at the crack of dawn for meetings and not back until late at night. Usually when weíre having our nightly conversations, Iím encouraging him to go to bed because heís falling asleep and clearly exhausted, but he insists heís Ok and says he likes to talk with me. He is a very dedicated, hard-working man and will do good things for Kahama Iím sure!
Next morningÖ.I was laying here thinking that when we leave tomorrow, itíll be so nice to be away from the loud-speaker thatís down the lane. Itís one thing to listen to the Muslims chant at 5am but they broadcast what I assume are prayers/sermons throughout the whole neighbourhood two times before it even gets light. There are also packs of dogs prowling around here that obviously donít get along because they always seem to be trying to kill each other. Iím sure itíll be peaceful as we cross the Serengeti.