Alarms may have been set to make sure we woke up, but really not so necessary. The morning call to prayer saw to that at 5:15am. Also any parents out there who didn’t believe that their child could wake up of their own accord before noon will be amazed to find that all of them were down in the lobby at the prescribed time. (So, its clearly just a case of finding the appropriate level of threat when trying to control the behaviour of teenagers – must remember that!)
We set off from Dar Es Salaam just after 6:00am on the way to Dodoma, through what was becoming the hustle and bustle of morning traffic in Dar Es Salaam. I find that one of the best pieces of advice I might ever give anyone may be this:
Don’t drive in Dar Es Salaam.
Lane markings – advisory only.
Overtaking policy – If you want to, do it; pay no attention whether it may be possible or not.
Traffic lights – decorations.
Traffic police – obey only if they can see you.
Safety precautions- get a bigger vehicle than everyone else, then apply the previous rules.
Speed limits – DO stick to these. This is the one rule that seems to be adhered to.
Google maps indicates that the journey from Dar Es Salaam to Dodoma is 400km and should take 4 hrs or thereabouts – I cant understand what these folks from Kids4schoolsare talking about in terms of 9 hours!
As I write this, we are 5 hours in and nowhere near halfway (without encountering any traffic jams). I’m going to be writing a strongly worded letter of complaint to the good folks at Google – or better, have them try to drive from Dar to Dodoma at 60miles per hour and see how they get on.
So, its now 3pm and we’re around the outskirts of Dodoma. There are a few observations I have made along the way.
There are no bedroom showrooms in Tanzania – everything is on display along the side of the road
You can get almost anything on a bike or motorbike – 2m bales of cotton, 2m bales of firewood, front doors. Its not the riding with them that’s the problem, its what happens when you stop!
You can get 5 or 6 people on a motorbike. Its all about loading
There are a lot of accidents on Tanzanian roads – maybe not surprising based on what we saw in Dar Es Salaam, but on country roads this usually means a truck on its side in a big ditch.
Adherence to speed limits is maybe not as strict as I first thought.
As white people, we are conspicuous. We are always noticed as our bus drives by. Some kids wave at you, but everyone looks.
At a truckstop when you are trying to find the toilets and you hear a load of shouting and laughing from the locals, don’t assume they are making fun of you – they may just be trying to kill a snake!
We arrive at the kids4school lodge at 3:30pm, very happy that we can stretch our legs. We are greeted by Jackie and by John and Grace (two missionaries who have been here for a few months but who are leaving next week). We go through the plans for the next 2 weeks and recalibrate what we had been told vs reality on the ground – which is very welcome. The main variation is that we will split into 2 teams during kids clubs, with 1 team running a club for about 50 in the morning while the other team paints and then swapping over in the afternoon with another group of 50 kids. This means that over the course of the 2 weeks where we have been programmed for 4 days of kids clubs, we are going to see 400 children rather than 200. (Hope the Haribo hold out!). We have home visits/food distribution still as planned and a visit to the special school to do games with these children and then on our final day we will have our football competition between the three local schools that kids4school support. (While they support more than these 3, the distances between them and lack of transport mean that getting more would be logistically difficult).
A tasty dinner over, we did our evening devotions – including songs which sounded all right. Everyone acknowledged the importance of witness and the preparation required and the growth it permits in our own faith.
I got the first listen of our guitar accompaniment as they were practising and it sounded good. The vocalist who shall remain nameless, was compared with the call to prayer which we heard from our Dar hotelroom this morning (that is not a good comparison!)
A comment from one of our group this evening was “ What happens in Tanzania, stays in Tanzania”. When you see this person next, see if you can work out what stayed in Tanzaina.
Its an 8am start tomorrow morning, so that’ll be it for this evening.
(I hope that the sound of munching and chasing a feeding bowl across the floor is one of the three dogs on site, but I’m not going to investigate!)