Hamjambo my friends,
It is 11.25am Saturday 28th September 2013 by my watch. This means at the time of writing it is 09.25am in England and 10.25am in Norway and Spain. OK now the punch line to a strange opening:
It is 5.25am in Tanzanian time
Never before have I experienced a country with a different clock to the rest of the world! The official given time for Tanzania is GMT plus 2 but the locals operate to the Tanzanian clock which is six hours adrift of my watch! Take a couple of seconds to think about this because it really is strange, like living in two timelines at once. Hmmm very Doctor Who … I sense a story! There seems as yet to be no clear explanation although it has been suggested to me that the times centre around farming and working hours IE: 06.00am by Tanzanian time is 12 noon by my watch.
Imagine my surprise to be handed a school class timetable to find my first session would be a staff meeting at Monday 02.15am, are you getting my drift now?
At this early stage in my Tanzanian career I am resolved NOT to use telling the time as a class theme!
Anyhow it is now (for my sanity) 11.35am and the sun is just breaking through the clouds and I am experienced enough to know that this afternoon will be hot hot hot. I am sat at my desk in the lounge of my new Tanzanian home, I have been out to the local supermarket already and started the job of stocking up on provisions to ensure self-sufficiency. The closest recommended supermarket is a 20 minute, very pleasant walk that takes me through my local neighbourhood and up onto the main Arusha – Moshi – Dar es Salaam road. Later today I will make my way to town and brave the local market for fruit and vegetables and find a butcher for some meat. I may brave the dala dala (local bus) for this, we will see!
From home to Amani is a 30 minute walk via a back road shortcut which Leonard showed me yesterday afternoon. However, I am not confident of finding my way on this route as yet and so will probably go past the supermarket as this morning and continue along the main road to the turnoff for Amani. I estimate this route to be about 50 minutes but if I time it right I can catch the staff bus at the turn off and save myself the last 10 minutes.
I left the girls at the hostel on Wednesday morning with a promise of returning on Sunday to make the promised trip to the Honey Badger lodge where we can lounge by the pool and have lunch for the princely sum of 15.000 Tanzanian Shillings. This extravagance equates to about £6.00!
My landlady, Mama Ndossi, is also my neighbour and has been more of a hostess so far, I have enjoyed dinner and breakfast with her and her husband in my first few days and their hospitality has been wonderful. Having moved in Wednesday evening after work I then had my trip to Arusha planned for the following night and so was not back in my new bed until last night, Friday. The house is wonderful and it is great to be back in a double bed and have hot water showers readily available. Plus of course I have internet! I hope to blog a lot more regularly now and also to set aside time each day for either new writing or working on the redraft of Finding Fadela, this is the plan and as I know from experience it will require discipline to achieve it!
I am writing a separate Amani blog post which will bring you up to speed with my working life and hope to post this later this week, so in the meantime I would like to take this opportunity to send a heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Gina and Bill who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on the 24th of this month and were my the first of many sponsored days. The kids at Amani send their love too!
This collage is just a snippet of the collective talent we have at Amani, there will be more as the weeks pass by but for anyone wanting to get a good feel of the kids and place check out the Face Book page.