We made chilli and tortillas this weekend. The tortillas turned out a lot better than my everything-burrito tortillas of two weeks ago, and I figured out that it was mostly due to the replacement of some of the water with oil. The fat definitely makes them softer. The fresh cilantro makes everything amazing. We had to go to the market on Sunday to buy some of the ingredients and definitely got mzungu-priced on everything. It does get a bit tiring after a while, but half the time I can’t be bothered to argue, unless the price is totally outrageous (4x the regular price, for example). We bought a bunch of veg and managed also to buy kidney beans and peas. Cut up some pilipili (hot peppers) and didn’t get chilli pepper burns on my hands which was a plus. The chilli was made better by the judicious application of lemon juice (since we couldn’t find limes), though the lemons here are deceptively green and knobbly:
I’ve pinned down some of the data collection for the multicriteria portion of my analysis which is good. I met with a professor today and will meet the institute director tomorrow, and then go to City Council on Thursday to deliver a letter with fancy letterhead and signatures that looks important in order to obtain the cartographic information I need. Things are moving surprisingly fast for Tanzania, though I expect it will be another two or three weeks before I actually get some data – the professor is going to Dar for a workshop for one week, so I won’t be back at City Council for a while, though it’s the perfect opportunity to start recruitment for my interviews.
Sometimes the best way to get things done is to talk to people. It’s even more important here, otherwise if you do not go visiting or talk to people, you won’t get as much done. I’m also working on my Swahili, and my incompetent stumblings are seen, at least I hope, in a somewhat charmed light.
Every time I wake up in the morning, I wake up to the sounds of these African sparrows. The sparrows sit right on my window sill, and don’t seem terribly afraid until I approach them with a camera. Then they fly onto the railing and I am sad. I haven’t seen many other creatures other than the herons at sunset and the street dogs by the flat, but last night I found a most horrifying large grasshopperesque thing just chilling out in my bedroom as I was going to bed. I knew I could probably just leave it, but my mind said “I’m not going to sleep with this thing in my room.” So naturally, I took a photograph first, and then caught it in a plastic bag and took it outside. I’m probably too humane, but it’s also out of a certain squeamishness. I mean the thing was huge.
In any case, the street life is at least fairly active here. There are the shops which sell generally all the same thing, though some have deficit where others have stock (for example, when the power was out I had to go to the shop across for matches, but two shops down for candles). I particularly like the corn sellers who come out around evening across the street. However, on buying a cob of said corn, I found it to be hard, like popcorn wotsits.
I feel as if this post is rather disjointed, but my past few days seemingly have been. I also forgot to mention I met with Anouk, my new acquaintance, twice for lunch this week so far, but she has to go out into the field for the rest of her time here. I hope that I will get to see her in London, as I find her very interesting.
Anyways, ta-ra all