Back at Mama Kilala’s I have settled into an easy routine and manage to be fairly productive. I write or organise photos and todo lists in the morning, listening to the sound of children playing or herta teaching English nursery rythms. Midday I head into town on my bike, stopping for lunch at The Food Square before popping into the Munich Internet cafe for a few hours or running errands at various shops. As sunset I push my bike up the hill in time for dinner at home, then we watch a movie or play a game before heading or seperate ways.
I plan to head back to Kisesa for a final visit this week. I will be spending Wednesday with Simon Ndokeji and then a couple of days with Laurian and co. First though I need to book a train out of here and think about how I am going to manage a week of gentle hedonism Zanzibar style. Laurian is adamant that I must stay with his sister in Dar es Salam. Other people can stay in guest houses he says. Not for you, you have relatives here.
A fruitless search today that left me hot and bothered. You would have thought that something as handy as a pocket knife would be an essential requirement but damned if I could find one. I visited plenty of shops that sold a variety of tools and odds and ends culled from various importers. Lots of chinese goods that won’t last out the month- some of them rebranded as American, Japanese or English- but don’t let that fool you! In the end I satisfied myself with a hammer and a couple of chisels that I intend to give to Constantine. The search exhausted me.
I also failed to book my onward passage to Dar es Salam as the Train is apparently fully booked until the 23rd July. Not sure I complete believe that but hey I might just splash out and take the plane. The other option is to take the bus and head to Dar via Arusha. This has the advantage of passing through the serengeti and although you pay $100 dollars for the privelege of entering the park its a good way of getting a cheap safari and seeing some animals. We’ll see. I still have some things to finish up here before I leave.
Meanwhile at the house of Mama Kilala there is some disruption this evening. Both her sisters in law were admitted to hospital this weekend, the older one with cancer, the other with Malaria and complications due to diabetes and a septic leg. The younger one passed away yesterday. IN Tanzania funerals are major events. All the family gather to discuss preparations and relatives are expected to hang around at the house mourning and to stay for the three days before the funeral. So Max and I are left alone for the night- though we have Mama Kilala’s ratatouille special to keep us company and a bottle of dodgy sherry that a friendly priest rescues from the altar supplies. Well they prefer the deep red stuff- reminds them of the blood of christ. Death is ever present here in a way I do not experience in England.
Having packed my PDA away when my Freeloader solar charger failed I today decided to resuccitate it with the help of a handy transformer I found lying around the house. (It’s supposed to power the shortwave radio but my attempts to find and keep hold of the world service signal have been singularly unsuccessful.) I generally don’t like walking around with headphones stuck in my ears- I prefer to hear what’s going on around me- but tonight I am treating myself. The sound track to the evening is the Chemical Brothers’s Come With Us, Belle and Sebastian’s Fold Your Hands with a sprinkling of David Bowie, Nick Drake and Jimmy Cliffe thrown in for variety. “It began in Africa” picks up a thumping insistent bass that has me jumping and skipping around the dark corridors of the empty mansion…
Later Max and I indulge ourselves with a double bill of “The gods must be crazy” a South African film (?) released in about 1980. If you haven’t seen the film check it out it really is very good. Remarkable performances from a family of bushman and some physical comedy that Buster Keaton would have been proud of.