Oh boy. Didn’t get much sleep last night, woke up at 6 to run (kimbia) with Omari, Trent, and Kunal. By far the best 8 miles of my life. We started up this beautiful mountain, and kept building speed, Omari and I shoulder to shoulder ahead, and Trent and Kunal following behind. Omari runs often, and he runs fast, but the exhilaration of striding out 7 minute miles up a beautiful African mountain was enough to carry me up.
There’s also hardly any humidity here, and the air is cool in the mornings. We reached the top about a mile or so ahead of the other two, and circled back to pick them up, enjoying a nice 4 mile downhill stretch back home. One of the best parts of the run was when a group of young kids on their way to school started running behind us on the way down, for about a half mile. It felt like a scene from a movie.
At home I a huge breakfast, courtesy of Christina, changed into work clothes, filled up a water bottle from the SAFE Water filter in our room, and headed down to the factory at around 10 am. Electricity had been working the night before, so the lumber yard near the factory was able to cut the last pieces for our first shelf, which we finished easily. We almost finished shelf II by lunchtime, and had started shelf III as well.
After lunch Omari walked us down to the main road where we got on a dala-dala, basically a public van, and headed into downtown Arusha. We wanted to buy some “modems,” basically slow 3g cards, that would let us get internet at our home. It took about ten minutes to get downtown, where we got our money changed (1600 Tanzanian shillings = 1 USD) and bought 2 modems (about 45,000 shillings each for unlimited internet). I’m using it right now to upload this. Later we went to a “Shoprite” supermarket which is about the closest thing to anything in the U.S. we’ve seen so far. Even the way people walk is different here. Instead of hustling to get to wherever they need to be, people take they’re time on the city streets. Tanzania’s motto should be “run fast, walk slow.”
By now, we’ve learned a few essential Swahili phrases: “asante sana,” thank you very much, “mambo,” what’s up? “chakula,” food, and “mzungu,” white man. We hear that last one a lot with the kids, who find our skin color very funny. We bought some cookies (biscuits) and delicious ginger soda called Tangawizi at Shoprite, and went across the street to a little market area, where we got a real soccer ball for the kids for a few thousand shillings, and I got a Tanzania soccer jersey.
The dala-dala ride home was packed. The van seats (very uncomfortably) 16 people, but Omari told us that, on a busy day, they can fit up to 25 people in one single dala-dala. When we gave the kids in the village their new ball, they celebrated by tossing it around and playing until sunset. After that we high-fived, hugged, picked up, laughed, and played trivia games with the kids in the village. Their geography is outstanding. When I asked them to sing their national anthem, everyone stopped what they were doing, put their hands by their sides, and sang very well. When they were done, we sang the Star Spangled Banner and they cheered and laughed at my dramatic cymbal crash sounds. We learned the Swahili words for face, hands, sun, and stars, beneath a beautiful full moon. We had another delicious dinner, and headed to bed.