Wednesday, September 16, 2009

FB Status Updates from Tanzania 2009

jet lag pulls the lids down like the undertow of night dream waves. i wake to sleep and take my waking slow...don't want to wash the coast off my clothes...

in the middle of the night i wake up and can't be certain which world exists beyond my bedroom door.

heart breaking taarab music with rasta zanzibari omani fisherman, babu ali, where are you now?! dalla-dalla ride to paje, glittering white sand, turquoise water, sweet love and sleep in a tree house, women walk the low tide collecting seaweed, rustle of palm leaves, three hours on the porch for piko and hennaed feet, a ferry ride to dar hand in hand, good byes extended, dar to arusha, never want to leave...

reunion with hemedi khamis in dar, spice tour tomorrow, dinner at two tables tonight, sunset at africa house, swahili classes with teacher daulat, yet another marriage proposal from omani sisters (second wife seems to be the trend), and small run in with zanzibari police, revealing the seedy underworld of robbery, prostitution, and drugs here -- no worries, i'm a witness, not participant...well, sort of. long story.

swahili language classes at the institute for kiswahili language and culture, roof top coffees, strange re-verb from the past, incredible fresh fish, lush gardens, grilled octopus, soft dhows, sugar cane memories, winding roads, impossibly lost.

mombasa to takaungu to dar bus ride, remembering giriama disco in the middle of nowhere, palm wine, stars, muslim ladies, tawakal bus co. pride, bananas and cashews for sale by open window, arusha friends in dar, seedy air-con disco, fierce heat, ferry ride to zanzibar, arriving to a new reality here, single-cigarette purchase ten cents, women all dressed black, flip flop fashions remix, internet cafe in shangani

last & first days, corn fields & cows, narrow, winding pathways through banana tree forests, flickering electricity, indian buffet, masaii market sister-friends, sketch & shade, reality & trust, fierce sun, chapati. row boats and musical chairs, wet black boots, back-breaking dala-dala rides, the unknown, last show at school tomorrow, beautiful asmaha, conjuring inner strength, michael jackson kangas. seriously.

negotiations with yaz the sign painter, a long walk to duluti lake, distant singing voices in church cave, clouds on water, belly ache, heart ache, weird and great talks with too cool hard to the core teaching assistant, preparing for solo travel, question of visas, points of entry, permission, desire. dress rehearsal, tomorrow.

sipping whiskey with exiled black panther pete o neal in his living room, performing for u.n. tanzanian ambassador augustine muhigu, posing for a picture with rap star professor j (tanzania's biggie smalls), directing a scene where a monster of secrets and lies about hiv/aids melts and dies, learning tanzanian sign language. immersed, in it, fully. belly & all.

hazy evening market, ugali and beans, deranged missionaries, masai regalia, obama hand painted beauty salon signs, banana leaf umbrellas, rich coffee, freeze improvisation, theater is real life.

banana leaves, chickens & cows, flip flops, kangas, sky of stars, hazy smoke, masaii plaid, rolling hills of meru, ugali and beans, green lusciousness, rocky dirt roads, women with baskets on their heads, bustling markets, swahili everywhere, mambo! poa! vipi! safi! used clothing markets, piles of shoes, cardamon chai, sleep tight, mosquito netting, love love love the return. scotland: plaid. masaii men: plaid.

1 comment:

joyce said...

Amanda,
Your Tanzania blog resonates: I am heading back to South Africa tomorrow (Thursday 8). I lived there for a year in 2007/2008 and I am going back for a short break of 10 days to visit friends.I can already feel the sun, see the sights, smell the air thanks to your blog!
Meanwhile, still at work here in Grangemouth, we are celebrating UK National Poetry Day. The students you worked with wrote this poem at lunchtime today (Wed). The theme for National Poetry Day this year is "Heroes and Heroines". We all recited it like a rap, getting faster and faster and beating out the rhythm.

WE are heroes!

Batman
Superman
Batgirl
Robin.

Spiderman
Fantastic Four
Power of Five
Hulk.

XMen
Wonderwoman
Robin Hood...
Us!