Guess where I am?
So I’m sitting in Gold Crest sipping an iced rooibos (3500tsh/$2.25) and chilling with my new bff I can have more than one… Caren. This week I finished more interviews – I have one more kitchen to go (in terms of talking to the mamas) and then maybe 30 more interviews (though the majority of these will be fairly short). I am waiting to talk on Skype with mum and dad, but there’s another few hours to go until they’ll be awake.
On Sunday Caren and I did the Gold Crest sunset thing, and we did it again on Wednesday for karaoke, and my brain is a bit scattered, so I can’t reeally remember which day these are from:
Mayor’s Cup at Nyamgana (?) stadium
A blurry picture of a kite. Caren got a better one.
Obligatory sunset pic
Yet another sunset (from the apartment)
I had a hamburger there again (12000tsh/$7.75) and asked them to put avocado (parachichi) on it, which greatly improved the dryness issue. My favourite part of asking for things here is that they’ll generally say yes (like the avocado) and sometimes they bring you something that you just might not expect…
Vinegar which I asked for. In a bowl. It’s fine.
Caren was reminded of this when we ate at Pizzeria and she ordered an egg roll. I think she might have been expecting something like a contained roll type thing. But what she got was different.
Egg roll reaction (actual reaction). Caren and I took happy/sad photos with her food
Wizened by this experience, Caren ordered a regular sandwich on Wednesday at Gold Crest, and was clearly much happier:
Caren with her regular sandwich at Gold Crest
Anyways back to interviewing stuff (since mum wanted to hear about it…). I did three kitchens this week. I especially enjoyed getting to the last one, which I did on Friday, which was in Mahina. To get to Mahina, you have to go on a bicycle taxi or a pikipiki. We elected for pikipikis on the way there (after riding a cargo bajaji (three wheeled motorcycle truck) part way after a daladala).
The kitchen’s sign
Inside of one daladala
Looking out a daladala window
Inside the daladala sweatin’
The cargo bajaji (a really flattering shot)
The interviews went really well in general this week at each kitchen, though I’m starting to worry about the viability of the program, especially given the dismantling, or rather shoving under the Foreign Affairs carpet, of CIDA. It seems that the balance is quite delicate, but it’s starting to lean one way, and may eventually fall. I’m glad that the participants opened up to me, and in one case, I hardly even asked any of the questions set out in my interview checklist. Sometimes it is just better to let the person talk, especially if they seem to have a lot to say. Even if I didn’t ask another question, that participant kept talking about it, and told me a lot about the history and current state of affairs. I can see all the narratives for my thesis coming together. I know I have to try to right the balance (the participant asked for my help), but I’m afraid that I won’t be able to do very much.
On the way back, we walked with a streetleader, who took us to his house on the way back to Nyakato National (where the daladala stand is). He fed us a lentil-bean-cassava stew type thing (though it was very thick). It was very, very nice. His house was big, and not quite finished, but my translator told me that people often construct incrementally here. The walk to Nyakato was quite long, but I was excited since I got to see the more rural parts of Mwanza by foot rather than in a daladala or a car. I didn’t take any photographs, but I got to go through fields and houses and over a river by some rocks. I felt adventurous.
I also bought another kanga, whose saying I’m still a little unclear on, but everyone says it’s good. I need to study harder. I chose this kanga because of its aesthetic, though I did make sure it didn’t say “Mungu” (God) on it, since I didn’t want to have anything overtly religious…
I’ve been spending a lot of time at Mama Zagaluu’s shop, chatting with her and I really do feel that my Swahili is improving, though. I can mostly get people to understand me on (nonabstract) concepts.. I ran around a lot last night asking about hotels for the girls coming from Rwanda (though they didn’t need them in the end…) and eventually I was understood. We had to go pick them up at Nyegezi stand which is pretty far (as far as the airport is, but in the other direction), at around midnight (which luckily turned into 10:45pm). The interesting part about booking the taxi is that Swahili time is different than Western time by six hours, so midnight is actually 6:00, but you would say “saa sita usiku” (six at night) and then for noon, you’d say “saa sita mchana” (six in the day). It’s hard to get a grasp of when you’re asking people to do things, but it worked out.
Some crazy happenings actually went on about the taxi – we’d asked Jane, who was back from taxing around the country (Musoma, Shinyanga, Geita, apparently) to drive us in the morning. We had a series of visitors in the time leading up to our departure to Nyegezi. First, Jane came to our apartment in the late afternoon to tell us she was still there (and she also told me when I was at Mama Zagaluu’s shop that she was waiting there until the time to go). Then later, after dark, Baba Zagaluu, Mama Zagaluu’s husband, came to our apartment and told us that Jane, the driver, had gone home and that he would take us to Nyegezi instead. We were confused, since Shannan had just been outside to buy water, and Jane had told her she was still waiting no more than five minutes before Zagaluu’s evening visit. Then we said ok to Zagaluu, and he left. Shortly after that, Jane came back to our apartment, visibly upset, and we explained (well mostly me, since my Swahili is a bit better than the others) that we were still using her to drive us, since we had asked her in the morning, and that it was bad for Baba Zagaluu to have told us that. So then I made her some tea (well I set the kettle on and then Caren made it), put out some sweets, and then we went outside to explain to Baba Zagaluu that he should go home and that we promised Jane we’d use her. I told him next time we were going far, we’d ask him. So then everything was ok, and Jane had actually gotten a new car, which mean it was much more comfortable than the older one. Interestingly, like all cars here, it was Japanese, so the radio stations were still preprogrammed onto it – J-Wave, NHK, and so forth. We finally got the others who came on the bus from Rwanda, and drove back to the apartment. They’ve actually arrived here at Gold Crest too – one of their wallets was stolen from their bag as they walked through the market. I think Rwanda has less crime, so they were not expecting it. It had her cards in it, so it probably will lead to a lot of inconvenience, since she won’t be back in Canada until September. I’m glad I haven’t had anything stolen yet *cross my fingers, punch wood, salt over the shoulder, etc.*
We’re meeting with Mama Mary later to sort out the house and hopefully we can go tomorrow, since the apartment is getting really crowded, and a bit uncomfortable. Now I’m just waiting for mum and dad to get on Skype, sipping (hot) rooibos now.
Want to talk to mum and dad. Tea. Sadness. Scarf.
I can’t wait for them to get here. I’m excited for our safari together and then being in England. I’ll be glad for a break from working too. Distractions are nice… Speaking of which:
By my friend
My friend showed me this piece he did today, which I really like. It reminds me I have to find a board so I can stretch my watercolour paper, so I can paint. I’ll look in the market, I guess.
OH YES. MARKET SHOPPING AND MY AMAZING BARGAINING SKILLS
Anyways, I have exhausted my mind, so I won’t write any more. I did actually Skype with mum and dad, which made me feel a little more awake and happy. I got to see both of them on video thanks to the wifi here. Mum brought Brutus but he looked really unhappy, fuzzy and adorable.
Contemplating the deepness of his existence
Brutus is just like Henri, le chat noir:
Anyways, I’m going to listen to Envy (song below) and read more exciting articles on the forefront of geography.