I’m back, I’m fine, I’m busy getting things all sorted out, don’t have internet where I’m staying (with friends) but I’ve found a flat and should be moved in and hooked up by the weekend.
I’ve made it back to Bristol – in one piece!
One piece, minus my appendix and a litre of mysterious unidentified pus that had been in my abdomen, the last remnant of an infection that I’d probably had for weeks if not months. We’re still not certainly what exactly happened – typhoid fever? bacterial infection? – but appendicitis was only a secondary infection to the peritonitis. It was the last straw to finally get me to admit I was ill. I’d put the fatigue, cramps, and nauseia that I’d had on and off for weeks down to
I went back to Kikatiti. We found the kikaiti Happy Watoto Home.
I took my brother – three years younger than me, exactly the age I’d been when I went there three years ago – to find the orphanage. We just dropped in; none of the contact info that I had was still working. I’d seen the orphanage, or at least Continue reading
“No get-up stand-up for your rights, here in Zanzibar,” said a tall dreadlocked man who invited himself to join us three days running at a habor-side restaurant that seemed to be the closest thing to a Reggae bar in Stonetown, and one of the few places that locals and tourists interacted outside of the salesman/customer, hunter/prey relatonship. We never learned the name of the restaurant; the man was called Rashid and wandered through the days seeminly stoned and the nights slightly drunk.
The restaurant was hidden behind a typical souvenir and crafts shop – we’d only stopped because Brian had noticed some illegal shells in the display outside, near the shark jaws – through an area of pool tables, and consisted of a scattering of no nonsense plastic chairs… Continue reading
The dig at Songo Mnara already feels like another lifetime, or another world.
It was amazing. The site was incredible, the island was gorgeous, the people were great. The sun was unbelievably strong, straight down on us, and if the wind wasn’t blowing sand and dirt straight into your eyes, it was only because you were downwind of the sieve and getting mouthfuls of it. The minute tonal difference between the types of soils, trying to identify them, to distinguish between them, was infuriating – almost painful – and hours spent looking for traces of decoration or finished edges on pottery fragments had me hallucinating bases. Continue reading
… which the anthropologist strains to read over the shoulders of those to whom they properly belong.” – Clifford Geertz
I ate dinner last to the Muslim call to prayer, heard in surround, from the roof of the Pyramid Hotel. The calls came from three different mosques. They started on a slight delay, one after another; out-of-sync, nearly harmonizing. Ascents and vibratto wrapped around each other. The crackling bull-horn speakers turned the male voices into horns – deep trombones and lilting saxophones playing minor, off-key, beautifully. They grew in strength and more seemed to join in – there may have been more than three to start with, it’s hard to say; there seems to be a small neighborhood mosque… Continue reading
Kawe seemed smaller and calmer than I remembered. I don’t know if it changed or I did. They tell me that Kawe has grown in people and expanded geographically, but everything seemed to have shrunk. I remembered an insane flurry of color stuck in a deep mud pit, straining to hold the people in – and we drove into a sedate, seemingly organized, relatively broad street that was as much dust as mud.
It took us a few hours to get from the airport to Kawe – between a tire blowing out and the Dar traffic (there are, supposedly, a handful of traffic lights in the entire city; I think that their existence is an urban legend) – but it was a nice slow drive… Continue reading
Africa has not let go.
I have not seen Africa. There are few gross generalizations as odious as the Western simplification, amalgamation, of an entire continent’s cultural plurality, socio-political diversity, ethnic multiplicity and historical discrepancy to a single noun. I have not been to Africa; no one has; there is no Africa.
Three years ago, however, I spent six weeks in Tanzania. Tanzania has not let go of me, nor has its promise of a window – an entry to the mythic Africa – let go of my dreams.
I am returning. In a month’s time, I will land in Dar es Salaam.
I am going back because I must; I wish I could explain why. I wish I knew why. I am a travel-junkie. I… Continue reading
One of these days I am going to be in an internet cafe long enough to respond to mails as well as to just send them out – but it’s not today.
I am in Kikatiti now (well, the internet cafe is in Usa but I am staying in Kikatiti) at the Happy Watoto Home. It’s a great place – the kids are wonderful and the surrondings are really beautiful. The are five other volunteers there; Cory, an American from the Bay Area who has been there three weeks already, and four Irish girls who only just arrived this afternoon (and who have only been in Tanzania a few days, so they are very disoriented).
It… Continue reading