Wednesday, July 24, 2013


We woke up disgustingly early and packed our bodies into a cramped little airport.  I started to have a panic attack, drank Sprite out of a satisfying glass bottle, watched The Sopranos on my laptop, and all was well.
We boarded this stupid small propeller plane and flew for two hours to Mwanza.  Mwanza, also known as “Rock City,” has jutting inselbergs that balance like Stonehenge.   It’s a view worth smushing your nose against the airplane glass for.

We land, and five of us press ourselves into a car for the 3 hour drive deep into rural Tanzania.  A red cloud dust picks up behind us.   I can’t see anything out of the back window.  Swahili loops around the car and I look out the window.

Our hotel is down a long dusty path.   The red dirt is cleansed by shocks of red and purple flowers.  Our rooms were bright.  A bed, a mosquito net, a desk and a toilet.  Sparse enough for me to lay under the floating net and pretend I was in Africa. Birds flew into my window with a bang.  They were stupid birds. 
I prepped for my day by writing up a few checklists and an interview guide for our trip to the clinics.  The hotel owner brought my fresh papaya juice she had squeezed.  We had to ask for dinner 2 hours in advance because she first had to catch the chicken and pluck it before she could begin cooking dinner over an open fire.

Gabriel, Peter and I went for a walk into the village and skirted around the edge of a town hall meeting.  The pastor rang a loud bell and all the families came to sit under the tree to listen.  A few children chased us down the street.

We went back to the hotel and sat waiting for our dinner, listening to African pop, feeding our skin to the mosquitos, and talking about philosophy and politics.  The “P” topics are always the most satisfying when sitting outside at night.  Dinner was Ugali (maize and water mixed into a dense ball) beef in a red tomato stew, white sweet potatoes and green with onions.  You use the ugali to leverage the soppy stew into your mouth.  It’s amazing.

I slept heartily.



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