Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Go USA"

Just to try to get a sense of the dala dala

So I am fully aware that I am about to use this word in the wrong context but I only include it because it was the source of a funny conversation between Rachel and I and it’s a good way to remember that. We have begun the process of our ‘desensitization’ of Africa yesterday. We went into Arusha for no particular reason other than it was Rachel’s day off and we didn’t want to sit around and do nothing. We ate at the Masai cafĂ© (has nothing to do with Maasai) but they have excellent pizza, and went to the Maasai market (does have to do with Maasai) and did any final shopping we wanted. So in regards to the word that I was using, we have never seen so many white people in Africa as we saw in Arusha, hence we are getting used to seeing white people again. As I told Rachel, “we are getting sprinkled white people so that we aren’t so shocked when we get back to the states.” Also, we saw this man at the Maasai market and he was wearing a camo shirt. Now we realized that he absolutely had to be from somewhere we knew so Rachel asked and he was from Alabama. He was with a group that had been on a mission trip to the south of the country and they were just doing some shopping in Arusha before they left. At the end of our conversation he proceeds to say, “Go USA.” Rachel and I kind of smiled and then looked at each other like really? It was incredibly funny to me in the context of where we were standing and what we were doing. We then went to buy some money for the phone (you don’t buy minutes, you buy money). All the way walking there we kept seeing white people and it finally dawned on us that it was Saturday (we don’t have any concept of time or ‘weekends’) and that’s why it was so crowded. We witnessed some more funny interactions with white people and had to chuckle to ourselves to realize how long ago it seems that we were those white people who don’t understand the money, wouldn’t ever venture without a group somewhere, were hounded by people on the street about “a great price on a safari”, and were too afraid to speak any Swahili to the Tanzanians. We feel like old pro’s in comparison but also realize how much there really is left to be seen. I feel that I can no longer say “the most crowded dala dala ever” because I keep getting amazed at how many people can fit into such a small van. Rachel and I really got the delight of a crazy crowded ride back to Usa. I really wish it was safe/appropriate to take out my camera and snap a picture of the scene but it’s not so we are left to trying to be descriptive. There were at least 18 people sitting and probably 10 people standing (me being one of them). I wasn’t entirely worried about falling over/out because I was so squeezed into the middle that I couldn’t have moved if I tried. Oh how I will miss that!

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