Friday, March 23, 2007

Seven hours of bad road

Steamy Dar es Salaam. I don’t do well in humidity. I never cooled off the entire time we were in Tanzania. Just too hot and moist.

We woke to a pouring-down rain on Sunday morning that soon cleared to leave – you guessed it – even thicker humidity. And what was facing us? A 6-hour bus ride to the Tanzanian capital of Dodoma. With no air-conditioning. Packed to the hilt with people and bundles of stuff. In a seat with broken springs that tilted me down and to the left. Well.

I was convinced that if I hadn’t died on the way to Umtata, I would surely expire (as I perspired) on the way to Dodoma. But you know what? I didn’t die there, either. In spite of an ungodly road that realigned my back with its craters, a constantly-honking bus horn warning folks walking or riding bikes along the side of the road, the bus slowing down periodically and people on the roadside thrusting bananas, cashews, potatoes, candy bars through the windows for us to buy, eventually we did make it to Dodoma. But not in the promised 6 hours. No. It took 7 hours.

Yes, it was a character-building exercise. I now have great, whacking storerooms of character. I think I’ll put some of it up on eBay and make a fortune!

But this must be said. The Tanzanians are the kindest, most hospitable people we met on our journey. Very open and gracious. After the steamy bus ride, the staff at Msalato Theological College laid on a real spread for us. And even though I couldn’t bring myself to eat the fish-heads, the rest of the food was de-lish.

We were only in Dodoma for one short evening. Early the next morning, we boarded a teeny airplane and flew to Nairobi. Don’t know if I like bouncing around Mt. Kilimanjaro in a paper airplane, but at least it was air-conditioned. And again, we made our destination in one piece (or should I say “peace”).

Now, who’s up for bidding on a bit of extra character, hm?

1 comment:

Liz said...

I can do without character, thanks. I do not envy you your travelling experiences!

But it'll be good to have you home and settled in NY - for now at least, until your masters send you somewhere else.

Anyone would think your job entailed something to do with mission work!