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Karibu Tanya!

Posted by on May 30, 2011

I think I have finally adjusted pretty well to the time change. I’ve been sleeping better and awake to hear the call to prayer then fall back asleep pretty easily. It starts to get light around 6 am so I’ve been getting up around 6:30 or so. With so much natural light I haven’t had to set an alarm, which is the one thing I don’t miss about home.

Tanya was arriving at 10 am and I had to go to the airport to meet her since we only have one set of house keys. That meant that I had the early morning at home by myself. I did a bunch of cooking and made rice, chipatis and stir fried veggies; enough for a few meals. I got the water to boil easily this time; I think the burner I was using the other day doesn’t get that hot. Overall it was very successful and I’m happy to have some food to eat now.

The airport is very close by but I had Masoud pick me up because of Tanya’s luggage. We got there early and Masoud taught me a few more words in Swahili while we waited. I now know how to greet people, count to 100, and know the words for some food items. I know kidogo kidogo Swahili (a little) but I am learning pole pole (slowly).
We got to watch Tanya’s plane land from the top of the terminal. That may sound impressive, but I was only on the second story and there are only two air strips so it’s not very far away.

We returned to the house and Tanya unpacked a few things and showered then we were off to ZMCP (the office) to say hello to everyone before they went to lunch. We don’t believe in resting or jet lag here. 😉

It’s good to have someone around who speaks English perfectly to plan work and life with. Some things have changed since Tanya was here last summer so I showed her around a bit and she chatted with people then we made a game plan for the next few days. All next week, ZMCP is doing an active case detection, which means everyone is going to a few villages and will test all of the residents for malaria. If they are positive, they will be treated whether or not they show symptoms. This is a big event that happens every year and I hope to go and see it happen. For us, however, it means that we won’t have access to a car next week to go out and start our mapping project since all cars will be needed to transport the other employees.

Since a professor from Berkeley is coming in a few weeks to give lessons on the GPS software, we thought it necessary to have some data to work with before then. That made us realize that Saturday and Sunday were the only days we would have everything available to us. I guess we will be working our first full weekend here. Hopefully we’ll be able to take a day off during the week.

We stopped at the diplomatic supermarket on the way home and got a large container of water (yay for no more iodine water!) and a few other supplies (including the most expensive peanut butter I have ever seen). The landlord was there when we got back and he had a plumber with him to fix my sink and shower (yay for working plumbing!). We also got two USB modems for our computers so tomorrow we’ll get airtime for them and will have internet at home. Things are coming together slowly, but surely.

After Tanya took a nap, we went to Mercury’s to meet up with the other ex-pats for quiz night, which happens on the last Thursday of every month. Mercury’s is a bar/restaurant named for Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen who was born in Zanzibar. It’s right on the water, near the ferry so you can look out onto the ocean and see the cruise ships and stars. The view is really nice but it’s *super* expensive– $8-10 for a cocktail and $15-20 for an entrée!! I felt like I was back in San Francisco with those prices. I was really glad I ate dinner beforehand because I can’t afford to continue to eat out all the time.

For quiz night, everyone divides into teams and each person puts in 1000 TSH (about $0.75) to play. There are four rounds of questions each with a different theme. The themes were: Zanzibar culture, women, history and religion (which turned out to be just religion) and coffee (the owner of the Zanzibar coffee house came up with these questions). It was the largest quiz night in history, with 52 people participating. I was on a team with 10 other people, but really three guys dominated the conversation because they were way more into it than everyone else. Our team ended up winning and we donated our prize money to a charity that helps one of the local schools.

I met some of Tanya’s friends from last summer as well. There’s Paulo from Italy, David and Shane from Ireland, and Ranil from Hong Kong. Overall, a good time but a later night than I was used to; we got home around 11 pm and I was exhausted.

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