Tony's Tanzanian Trip

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Thats It

Well... I'm gone.

I'm now in Bracknell just outside of London.

My last week in Tanzania was great, for the most part - I did have to appear in court 3 out of my last 5 days and the trial is still proceedings painfully slowly, but at least I got to give my statements to the magistrate.
Saying goodbye to everybody was so hard, harder than saying goodbye when I left Canada because I dont' know when I'll be back - I will definitely come back, but it'll probably be several years.
Everyone else who has left told me that the shock of leaving didn't hit them till they got on the plane, but that didn't happen for me. Instead it was starting to hit the two or three days before I left since many people were away travelling so I had to say my goodbyes early to many of my closest friends. Also for my last night a bunch of us drank at Udassa for a couple of hours and then went to Bilicanas (pole sana for those of you who dont know or like this club - you know who you are!). On the way there David's friend came up from South Africa with his convertible Ferari which we cruised in to the club (more stylish than I've ever been!). So when I got to the airport at 7am after a 20minute nap at home the shock was slightly dulled.

But last night I went out for some drinks with Ruth (dont ask me how we are related exactly) in Bracknell.... and thats when it hit me: white people are fucking weird!

So the adjustment is starting, unfortunately.... i'll have to start waiting in lines, accept prices as stated, and worst of all hold back on Swahili.


Its been Great. ninamachunguu tele kabisa! ninasikitika pia!

Kwa Heri Nchi Yangu Pili! (au, sasa, kwanza).
Kwa Heri Rafiki Zangu, Kicheche Wangu, Walimu Wangu, na Watanzania Wote!!!
I will miss you all.... and i will say now with sincerity: Tutaonana!! Naandika Ukweli! Nitarudi Nyumbani, Tanzania!!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

10 Years and 1 Language Apart

This is Gloria Gumzu. I met her in Korogwe. She lives in one of the houses built by Habitat for Humanity with her niece. I love Gloria.

When I first met her to interview her so that we could use her in our 'homeowner stories' and for a video shoot that was coming up I didn't know what I was getting into. At first she was just quiet staring, figuring out the situation. But when I started to try to talk to her in kiswahili and she would answer back in a furry of hilarious cynicism (which had to be translated for me) I realized I was i over my head. She's crazy. So funny (everyone is always dying of laughter around her) friendily as anyone I've ever met (when I told about my love of chipsi mayai she proudly dragged me to her chicken coop and explain how good they were) and independent (no one, not even the booming Mississippian director could order her around).

I decided on my last trip to Korogwe that if she was 10 years younger and if I could speak better swahili, I would marry this woman. This is one more person I will very much miss when i leave here, but at least meeting her made my normal routine a whole hell of a lot more fun!

Bye Gloria!!

Boda Boda - The Only Way to Travel

Finally got my pictures developed - this film camera is a whole lot more work.

In Kigali and Kampala the bodaboda motorcycle taxis were the most fun way to get around, and were relatively cheap... and apparently (as everyone warned us) very dangerous, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I was amazed at how well this photo turned out (most were not so good on my crappy camera) I took it form the bike in front. It was especially fun using them in Kigali since the city is built on such a steep slope so all of the roads zig-zag up and down.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Less than 3 weeks

Friday I was in Korogwe, Tanga. I had been there all of last week working with a filming crew and a Global Village team from the states. That morning I was having breakfast with Maggie who I was working with on these projects - when it hit me.... i leave in 3 weeks. I dont know if i'm ready.

After i booked my ticket I was sure I was ready to head back to the True North Stong and Free, to enjoy the convience, choice and plentifulness of the dominant civilization (sorry, just read Huntington finally), to walk around at night without getting robbed, and to walk around in the day without being a spectical for everybody elses humour. But now I dont know. I've gotten used to speaking broken swahili, to standing out in a crowd to watchin my pockets at all times (even though that took some time to get used to). More importantly I've gotten used to not carrying about physical, personal space - if we're on an empty bus and you take the seat right next to me, that fine! I've gotten used to dressing how I like and not caring about others opinions because no body cares! I've gotten used to being able to stop and talk to a complete stranger without any awkwardness or taboo. And of course i've gotten used to the Chipsi Mayai, Wali Rosti, Chapati and the other wonderful foods here.

I am looking forward to coming home.... but I will definitely be back to East Africa as soon as I get the chance.

I have two weeks left: coming up will be hanging out in Dar and enjoying the city for the last time, then for my last weekend here its off to Zanzibar for one last weekend of silky beaches and endless sea.....then London, UK... then South West Ontario, thats gonna hurt the ol' pysche....


Again, sorry i've taken so long to write - but ya know... the laziness.

I'm still waiting for most of the pictures from out Uganda-Rwanda trip cuz they're on matt's sweet camera and my crappy film camera could only be used so much. But luckily when we "RAFTED THE FURIOUS RIVER NILE" (must be said like an announcer at a Monster Truck rally) many pictures were taken of us flipping over and struggling against the craziness of the waves. Matt, Erici and I had been travelling together for a while by this point and hanging out a lot even before so by the time we got to the 'RIVER NILE" (again - monster trucks) we had so many stupid jokes that had been going on for so long we must have seemed very strange to the 3 Danes and onc Canadian girl that joined us. The Zimbabwean guide was definitely weirded out, but he was cool..... for example on of our joke's was using that Monster Truck rally voice to talk about everything not just the River, by the end of the day we were clearly the stereotypical, loud abrasive North American travel - but at least the ride came with free beer at the end.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Border

Here we stroll through the no-man's (or no-woman's land for you feminists out there) between Uganda and Rwanda. The scenery in Rwanda was amazing.... I have better pictures of it than this, but you'll have to wait for my hour long slide show series i've been preparing. I really really loved Uganda, and Rwanda was beautiful but strange - the worst part was that you didn't know what language people would speak so I just got into the habit of approaching everyone saying: "Hello, Bonjour, Habari Yako?" It seemed to work... unless, of course, they responded in French. Luckily Erici is a good Canadian and bridged that old lingual divide I won't touch with a ten-foot pole. (fine I'll admit it, I feel a little guilty about it)

Three White Moons

Well after spending a day in Kigali we headed out West to find a beach on Lake Kivu (we could see eastern DRC from out position... but its not so obvious in this picture). We couldn't find the beach, so we found some rocks near some reach ex-pat houses and chilled out by the lake. It was actually kind of crazy how similar the geography was to rural Canada out in that direct. Aside from the searing heat and palm trees --- i'm serious!
By the way i think i'm getting love-handles.... jesus christ.... this is like a life-alterting moment...

Silly Hats in Kigali

Well I just returned from my trip to Uganda and Rwanda. I was away for less than 2 weeks, so I didn't get to see as much as I would have liked - especially of Kampala - but it was still a great time. Here are the two fools I travelled with Matt (Mak in swahili) and Eric (Bwana Erici in swahili). This is during our touristy afternoon in Kigali trying on the hats in a souvenier store - Erici's is clearly the best!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The People of Chaani and Me

After a day of interviews and walking around checking out the place we had one last big photo shot. It was really nice, at first all the kids were scared to have their pictures taken, but they loved it by the end. Heres a fun challenge see how long it takes you to find me in this picture then challenge your friends at home.

My Job

Well I have been working at Habitat for Humanity Tanzania as the Resource Development and Communications Officer (sounds real professional, eh!) for 3 months now. And here a couple pictures to prove that I haven't been just sitting on my ass (although I am, ironically, sitting on my ass in the above picture). This was my first trip to the field in the village of Chaani in Northern Zanzibar where I got to interview the women we work with there about how they felt about our project and, more generally, about their lives and what/how they want to see them improve. (I then take this fascinating information and boil it down to a heart-warming story about a family in need so ya'll open up your wallets - but i'm not here to judge)

Karibu Ms. Fowler and Happy Earth Day (be-lated)

Well I'm an ass so I forgot to announce that my good friend/photographer/film-maker/clown (literally, contact her for more details) has now been living in Dar es Salaam for over
a month. She was in Kenya for many a month before that. Sarah's now doing an internship with Roots-and-Shoots (Jane Goodall's organziation... but unfortunately she's still out with the chimps at the moment). Well in good hippy fashion we celebrated Earth Day here in Dar es Salaam by cleaning up the oh-so-nasty beach front in front of Jane's house. This is just one of the many many many wheelbarrow fulls of trash we collected, and its a great action shot of Johanna, Sarah and I fighting to keep the thing from tippying over - not exactly a top quality barrow. Also in good hippy fashion we only worked for a total of maybe 3 hours that day (probably less) cuz it was raining on-and-off. Luckily the local media wasn't concerned with minor details like that and so it was recorded in the Citizen as a bunch of concerned students worked from 8 am till 5 pm cleaning up the beach. (most of us were still in bed at 8 and were out buying beers by 4). YAY EARTH DAY!!!!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Caution Again - Don't Get Sick

So on our last night in Lushoto (when we most certainly heard a political uprising passing by at 3 am) I developed this horrible lip... I dont know how, but damn was it scary. I thought spiders had laid eggs in my lip. but it fixed it self as most weird bodily phonomenon here seems to do. The picture captures my attitude at the time pretty well though.

Caution: Do Not Buy Tents from Wal-Mart

So matt, being the genious that he is, brought a tent from home, bought at WalMart (kansas-style): a two-person, junior tent. I barely fit in it by myself, it was less than comfortable with two. Of course, had we not left things to the last moment, then drink instead of getting ready before we left (getting ready in this case means opening the tent for the first time before going camping with it) we could have borrowed Eric's 3 person tent

Super Sweet Hotel

Right at the peak was this super sweet hotel that we stopped to have a beer at..... Kachizi kama Ndizi


As we were walkin along our guide jumped into some random bushes and jumped back out with this little guy. Crazy little things with velcro-like feet. This picture was taken right before Matt noticed taht it was shitting on his hand, apparently thats good luck, Matt didn't seem so comforted by that - weird eh?

Irente Point

Again, sorry about not up dating this thing in so long, but I dont have my own USB stick any more (still held as evidence) so its a bit of a pain to get the pictures to the internet cafe, and i'm lazy

I look like a fool here, but you get the perspective of being a kilometer straight above plains and villages

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


So after that ridiculous night Matt and I woke up at 5:30 am and dragged our sorry asses to the bus station. While on the bus ride (about 7 hours) to Lushoto (and speeding along the edge of a mountain veering back and forth - i was a little tense) I realized my knee was sorely bruised - probably from the fight over the good chair Eric and I went through the night before (damn Vancouver Islanders). Well the scenery was beautiful, but it was painful to reach it, but I'm glad we did. This is the first peak we reached looking over the small villages we walked through and towards the next peak (Inrente Peak).

It just wouldn't be the same without the Green

here's Matt and Li-SA showing off their green tounges - which resulted in green stool the following day - Pole!

International Ridiculousness

Here is Lisa (pronounced Li-SA") who is from Sweeden, but is basically an Aussie - so clearly fun to drink with

Happy St. Patty's Day Mr. Kikwete!

In proper Irish spirit (which was difficult to explain to people) we dressed in green and drank heavily! Of course my love for Jakaya Kikwete (our new honourable and glorious President!) was on display, walking around the streets however got a lot of people to stop and stare - but hey, thats something used to!

New Era

So its now a new epoch of Tanzanian life - I work 40 hours a week, I live in a super SWEEET house off campus and all of the wonderful people from other countries that I became so close with last semester are gone (Flo Flo left yesterday.... by kaka!). But I still manage to travel.... my trip to Zam, Bot and Zim has no pictures cuz I forgot my camera in Dar. But it was fun I can assure you......

So now I've been making some new friends and still travelling - a couple weeks ago I went to Lushoto, a small village in the Usambara mountains with my buddy Matt (he's from Kansas, but I've done my best to overlook that fact). But of course, the day before we left was St. Patrick's day... and thats where it all begins

Sorry for the Slack

Hey Everyone, well its been a long time since I've updated this thing - some of you have been kept up to date through emails and what not, but no picture - Pole Sana.

In part its been my laziness, and in part its been the absolute ridiculousness of the past several months.

After a shitty January I went travelling to Zambia (with Matt and Mercer) then to Botswana and Zimbabwe (by myself).... thats when I met Farai, who then travelled with me back to Dar es Salaam and proceeded to befriend me so he could then steal a couple thousand dollars from me. I didn't know it was him that stole the money until a month later (the beginnin of March) when he had come back to town to "look for a job" (i.e steal more from my white ass). But my bank called me (props to TD!) and gave me some info that guarenteed that it was this bastard that stole my money.... well the next day i got the police (after several hours of arguing) to go and search his room.... and we found all my stuff - we're now awaitng the trial set for the 21st. More on this later....

Also during that time I was struggling to find something to do - I applied to at least 20 different NGOs and after 2 weeks of nothing, I was about ready to pack up and go back to coldness of Ottawa. Well at the end of all that I got three interviews in two days and got to choose where to work. I've now been interning as the Resource Development and Communications Officer for Habitat for Humanity Tanzania - which I love: most of my time is spent in a comfortable airconditioned office, but I get sent out fairly regularly to remote villages to talk to people about how they feel about the houses, about HfH's work and about development and life in general (then I turn these into sappy personal stories to get Westerns to open their wallets - but hey, at least I'm not whoring myself out on the street corner anymore)