WH Chronicle No. 1.08

Ed, Debra and Hale family

Sept 22, 2010

We have safely arrived!!  And the details are difficult to assess at this point…

 But for those of you that have been anxiously awaiting, here’s a rundown of our adventure:

 Sept 11, 2010

10:30pm          Last note of our performance of Schumann 2, Beethoven Piano #4 with the Austin Symphony.

Sept 12
4:30am           Lug 16 bags out the front door to the curb.

4:45am          The front yard sprinklers automatically turn on and sprinkle us.  This made a lot of noise.

5:00am        Chunk all 16 wet bags into the blue Super Shuttle.  Wonder if the sprinkling made our bags heavier.

5:45am      Tip the shuttle driver. Check our 8 bags (400 lbs) at the curbside check-in. Tip the porter. Proceed to gate with our 8 bags (800lbs) of carry-on.  Dry out.

11:40am       Arrive at Washington, D.C.  Tip the porter.  Board the Super Shuttle and ride to the hotel.  Realize that Tom left his new water bottle on the plane.

12:40am       Tip the driver.  Realize that the hotel has an entire flight of stairs just to get to the front desk and the hotel has no porter to help (or to tip).

1:20pm        Get all of our bags to the front desk and check in…but our room’s not ready.  The clerk realizes that all of our bags take up the entire lobby—so our room is then ready.

Next 2 days         Walk, walk, walk.  Smithsonian’s Natural History, American History, Air and Space Museums, Carousel, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, White House, Capitol, and eat at Subway (sandwiches) three times.
Right before our Subway sandwich dinner.
Right before our Subway sandwich lunch.

Sept 14
2:00pm             Lug all the suitcases down the hotel flight of stairs, load a Super Shuttle

3:00pm           Unload, tip driver.  Flag down porter, pull luggage to KLM stand. Tip porter.  Pray that all bags are under the weight limit of 23 kg (50.5lbs) now that they are dry. Then pray that we see the bags again as they each disappear on the conveyor belt.

Sept 15
7:30am             Arrive in Amsterdam.  Sit and wait as everyone is grumpy, jet-lagged and tired. Mr. Chicken, Sam's stuffed animal, saves the day with a song and dance.

11:00am          Depart for Dar es Salaam.  Have multiple pillow fights on the 11.5 hour flight.

10:30pm      Arrive at Dar es Salaam.  The KLM flight attendants all wish Mr. Chicken farewell.  Fill out our Visa papers, tip Porter. The wonderful Ed and  Debra escort us to the beach resort.

11pm          Tip Porter

Sept 16 (Daryl’s Bday!)
10:00am            Wake up, play on the beach, let Daryl rummage through the suitcase  that is riddled with little birthday “Squinkies” et al.

Next two days           Embassy visit, research clearance house visit, cell phone purchase, play on the beach. That's the Indian Ocean, kids!
Mbezi Beach

Hangin' out.

 Sept 19

9:00am               The amazing Randy Stubbs (my supervisor) escorts our family (and luggage) to Arusha.  This is a 10 hour car trip, if everything goes smoothly.

2:00pm              Lunch--the only stop (30 minutes) a place that resembles an outdoor Rudy's BBQ.  The kids experience their first Tanzanian public restroom --- this solves the break problem for the remainder of our trip and probably for future trips, as well. Think "hover".

7:30pm              Arrive at Makumira University (in Usa River). The Stubbs family feeds us the first of many wonderful meals. 

9:00pm                We walk over to see our new house (50m from Stubbs family) and Daryl begins to cry.  I think she is disappointed that the empty house doesn’t look like the beach resort.

10:00pm          We all sack out at the Stubbs' house until we can get mosquito nets,  sheets, towels, suitcases, kitchen wares, etc. set up in our empty house.

Sept 20
9:00am            We tour campus—it is really lovely. The Stubbs children now have two shadows named Daryl and Sam.  They milk the goat (Bella Voce), gather greens for her and baby (Mulberry).  Then the kids go to the market right outside campus to purchase bananas and eggs.

11:00am        All activity stops for “daily chai”.

2:00pm          Sam is chased by some bully monkeys.  Everyone thinks it’s kinda funny except for Sam (or Samweli, as he is now called).  Reggae, our gardener gets him a stick to carry while walking around campus.  Godfrey, a grounds keeper, was shooting monkeys with a homemade slingshot.  Samweli will need some slingshot tutelage.

10:00pm      Lights out at the Stubbs' house, hope we will be in our new house tomorrow.

Sept 21
9:00am           Drive to Arusha (50km) Shop, shop, shop— this is quite an adventure.  First the Metumba (used stuff ala Goodwill)—Select linens=5 minutes; Barter over the price=40 minutes.  Tanzanians LOVE the interaction of bartering.  It is considered 'building community' in their culture.  We brought Megan Stubbs (a.k.a. “motormouth”) with us.  She is 16 and amazingly fluent in Swahili.  I have no idea what she said, but all the local vendors gathered around and were laughing their mtacos (butts) off.  She was diligent about the appropriate price and had us depart the shop without the merchandise.  It was then that the vendor, carrying his own weight in our selected linens, began running down the road after our car.  He met her price and made his largest sale of the day.

10am      Shopright, Kitchen store—flatware, kitchen stuff, and home furnishings (pillows, flatware, mosquito nets).  The price at Target=$50; at Shopright=$150 Purchase produce at the local market—very cheap and yummy.  I experience my first passion fruit. It's very sweet but looks like frog eggs on the inside. Back to Usa River.

1:00pm          Lunch, and recovery from sensory overload.

2:00pm     Install nets, clean dishes (even this has a learning curve when using  potentially typhoid laden water), set up drinking water filter, arrange beds,  wash sheets—hang them up to dry in the attic (so the mango flies can’t get to them, another story), unpack all 16 suitcases. 

7:00pm        Eat dinner with the Stubbs—they’ve now generously served us countless delicious meals.

8:00pm        Go 'camping' in our new house.

Sept 22                                 
4:00am           Tom has a case of the ‘splats’, but feels fine afterwards.

8:00am           We survived the night and managed to cook breakfast and have coffee.  We meet our house lady, Mama Mary.  She comes each day at noon to help with lunch, cleaning, and one hour of Swahili lessons for which we will pay her about $70 a month, a large sum.  She is wonderful with the kids, as are most of the ‘mamas’.  They smile and hug the children.

9:00am       Tom is a blur as he sets up house.  I’m in a daze.

2:30pm      Daris has a case of the ‘splats’ and tries to take a nap.

6:00pm     The first dinner at our house--grilled cheese sandwiches (peppermint tea for 'Mama Daryl'* as I'm referred to by the Tanzanians).  Then several games of Uno before bed.

Tom’s been ‘remodeling’ our new house by pulling nails from random places and reusing them in more essential ones.  I gave him a hug and told him that I couldn’t do any of this without him—he said he wouldn’t do this for just anyone.

The knife and multi-tool from Tammy and Bob have been invaluable.

The kids are in bed, all tucked into their mosquito nets.  It’s not crucial, yet, as it is not mosquito
 season, but good to get into the habit.  There’s a kitty meowing/begging for food at the
backdoor.  The sounds at night are unusual.  There are raucous insects, virulent cat fights, monkey
howls (like the ones you hear in '50's jungle movies), beeping birds, roosters who crow all night, and some other unsettling movements outside caused by unidentified animals.  Luckily, we live on campus and there are 12 guards patrolling that set my over-active imagination at ease.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures we’ve taken of the African scale issue—Texas ain’t got nothin’ on

That's a poinsettia (6ft) and an ivy (12" leaves) at our house.

A very large banana--"fingers of the elephant"--as big as his forearm.
Our view of Kilimanjaro.
What's a "Music Bank"?

Cross-eyed and bleary,


*Tanzanians consider having children as a high status to women.  One is referred to as "Mama" and then the name of your first born child.  There is an art to naming your children--as "Mama Beauty", employed by the Stubbs, knows well.  

PS Feel free to post questions--it'll be fun to explain all the stuff I don't know.

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