I hope everybody had a great start to 2013 like I did. This month I got the opportunity to go to language school to learn some Swahili. Nina elewa Kiswahili kidogo. This means I understand a little bit of Swahili which is a major step up from before language school when I didn’t understand any Swahili or Sikuelewa Kiswahili. Language school was on the Island of Zanzibar which is off the coast of Tanzania. It is a much different place than Dodoma. The beach is never far away and the climate is much more humid. I went to KIU language school in Stone Town. Stone town is a city on the west coast of Zanzibar and it is where the local government is located. The geography is really interesting; it is a series of maze like alleys that are a result of all the buildings being built so close together. The buildings themselves are a mix of different architectural styles that are a representative of all the different cultural influences that have affected Zanzibar. It is also close to the water which is awesome. It is a very tourist friendly town; one of my favorite places to go for food is the Forodhani Gardens. It is located on the main waterfront in Stone town, every evening it turns into a market with great seafood and other Zanzibar style foods. I had a lot of fun in Stone town and I can’t wait to go back.
I also got asked a lot of great questions by my Uncle David and I am going to try to answer some of them. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. They local people I am with in my daily environment are my coworkers at Carpenter’s kids. They are Pastor Noah (CK Director), Noel (Deputy Director of CK), Daudi (Emergency Healthcare Administrator), Sarah (our Bookkeeper), Stanly (our accountant) and John Joseph (our Transportation manger). All of them are great, everyone always has a smile on their face and is always ready to laugh, I could not ask for a more welcoming group to work with.
It is about a ten minute walk from my house to the Ck office in Mackay house. On the way to work I pass by the railroad station, which is across the street from the New Dodoma Hotel, that has a semi-regular schedule for trains coming through Dodoma. I pass by a few groups Pikki Pikki’s, a Pikki pikki is a motorcycle and a lot of them operate like a taxi service you give the driver a few thousand shillings and hop on the back of the motorcycle and they take you where you need to go. I also pass by the Anglican Cathedral on the way to work as well. Almost every Sunday I go to the English service at the Anglican Cathedral, religion is a large part of the way of life here and the Diocese of Central Tanganyika is pretty big. It encompasses both Dodoma Rural and urban and has a population of about 1.2 million with a membership of about 500,000. The church service I generally go to is somewhat similar to the ones I am used to but they do not serve communion every week and the songs that are sang are not ones I am familiar with. The English speaking services are not very long; they usual run about an hour. I have been to a few Swahili services and they can be as long as three hours.
As for water and housing in the city center of Dodoma there is one central source of water. The water that comes out of the faucets must be boiled before it can be drunk. This is primarily to reduce some of the sediment that is in it. When you get farther away from the center of town water does not come from a centralized source, it generally comes from wells in or near the villages. Housing varies as well some of the homes are like houses back in the states and others are more like huts that are built with concrete bricks and aluminum roofing. The Markets are an interesting experience, they are open air markets and there is no set price everything is negotiable. If one stand does not have something the person running the stand knows someone who can get you what you need. It is a pretty cool experience but it does take some getting used to.