Last days at the Sisters’ House

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We spent our fifth day at the sisters. They offer us since a few days lunch. What they cook is very tasty. However, we eat only vegetarian for more safety. The kids are getting used to us and obviously most of them prefer Nino. She always has nice ideas to entertain them. One of them wants always to stay with me. His name is Osea. I think he suffers of consequences of poliomyelitis. He is however every intelligent and knows quite some English.
On the way to the sisters, the children get as well used to us. They now run to us 2 or 3 times a day to give us five. It is always a lot of fun. Adults are greeting us too. We do not feel anymore like a curiosity but feel slowly accepted. We start making photos of family. Some people do not want to be photographed, however for children it is always a game seeing themselves on the camera once the photo is done 🙂
Since today we go and back exclusively with the bus. It is much cheaper and we dive even deeper in this country. Actually, sometimes I tend to think that this is a kind of paradise. Here you get so many good will and good wishes despite the city seems to frighten many tourists. On my side, going along beaches of 5 stars hotel make me no fun. Such places are similar everywhere and missing such great moments as we live here is really a pity.

Our sixth day is the day where Nino got her new local cloth. We bought local drapery and asked a man working in this poor street leading to the sisters to design a local cloth for Nino. It lasted somehow 4 days and cost 10000 Tsh = 5Euros. Really cheap. The job he made is really good. Today we stayed only half a day at the sisters. We were very tired as we could not sleep very well the previous night. We slept the whole afternoon.

We noticed that the hotel has many insects inside. Hence we decided to move back to our previous hotel. It is much further away from the center but at least we had not seen any insects. Furthermore we have Internet available most of the time. Since we left we could almost never connect as most of the places are closing quite early … and we are back from the sisters quite late. Furthermore we prefer taking a shower before getting out … this leads to quite late hours .. most of the places providing Internet are already closed by then.

We went eating outside to the nice pizza place. Nino is starred at from many many people. With her new cloth she got so many compliments today. It is surprising how people like her style here. I proposed her to apply for Miss Tanzania but she still has some doubts:-) Many women look at her with such a desperate look. I had never seen that. I have to say, women in Tanzania are really beautiful and they have no idea how much success they would have in Europe. Furthermore they are not arrogant at all. Through the way they are looking at Nino, this is for me even a greater compliment that my girl friend is so beautiful … which I fully agree 🙂

Thursday we arrived at our previous hotel. It was like coming back to a known place 🙂 At least we have Internet here and people living in the hotel are nice. The bad point is that we are much further away from restaurants…

Friday, as usual, we took the bus going to Mburahati, the place where the sisters are staying. In the bus, the places close to the driver were free. I took the opportunity to film the street in Dar Es Salaam.See here one of the films:

We like this city really much. There are many people everywhere, it is somehow chaotic but the constant smiling, welcoming and politeness of people is amazing and makes everything so pleasant.
Midday a young man joined us to drink something in the bar we rest where we take our midday pause. This guy just finished studying and was wondering how to start his own business selling hardware. We talked almost an hour together. I explained him how I would do. Added to his own experience he seem to be really interested despite I have no experience in this area. However, it was nice changing ideas. Hearing what people think of our countries. Quite positive about France as we have many people from many cultures.

Our last 2 days at the sisters tired us quite much despite nothing special more happened. On Saturday, it was first day of one week vacation for adolescent living there. 6 Adolescents grew at the sister’s place.
As they had quite many homework to do, I took the opportunity to help one of them. There cultural level is really high. At 12 years old they are supposed to know quite a lot about anatomy, physiology and pathology. Furthermore they are learning physics, mathematics, English, story and even french 🙂

They are at school from 8AM to 3PM. They told me there is no rest day. They are studying all days long. There are 2 month holiday: 1 in December, one in June and 3 spread holiday weeks over the year.  Generally speaking, people here are working a lot when they get offered a place to work. Unemployment is unfortunately high. However, the downtown of Dar es Salaam gives the feeling things are changing.

Very last day was much more quit, most of children were at the church. Just a few were still there. We played a little till the ones staying at their place. Then at the end of the morning we left and said good bye to most of people. Leaving we met another couple fighting to adopt a child. Strange enough that adopting a child can sometimes be so complicated. Actually the parents are both teachers, she is from England and he is from Italy. Hence I would say there is no reason to fear anything. But OK this is bureaucracy …

We plan to go and visit another house of the sisters in a village. We may not help much there just saying hello while visiting. We will check all details at the tourism office.

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The fourth day we moved in a new hotel. In order to have enough time we stayed at the sisters only in the morning. Nino found a better approach to get a cheaper taxi price. Ask for the amount, divide by 2 and say you do not want to pay more. The taxi driver does not agree and say you no. Start leaving and you will be recalled for 1000 or 2000 shilling more than requested.

At the sisters most children were at the church. Only a few were at their place. Maybe because they are Muslim. We played with Andrew. An incredible young man. Always smiling sharing such a peace around. He cannot speak, and cannot stand. He can hardly do a few things because he is very limited in his motions. However, he shares so much good will and energy…

We also greeted handicapped women. Most of them cannot stand and stayed sit in a rolling chair. Many cannot even talk. However, they show how happy they are when they see us. This was a wonderful time. One of them can stand and came to me taking my hands and kind of dancing from one foot to another. I tried to dance some salsa with her and was amazed how easy she understood my way of driving her. Simply with the position of the hand she would immediately understand what direction to turn and how much. I tried even complex figures that she succeeded worst case the second time.

A few time before we left children were back. We took the Dalla Dalla (mini bus) to go back to the center. Really nice. What we love here is the authenticity of this country. No exaggeration for tourists as they are not used to see them where we stay. There are many places where we would like to take a picture but we do not feel comfortable enough with this yet … despite most of people do not fear like us in Europe appearing on the Internet … actually exactly the other way around.

The new hotel is OK, it does not smell very good. A few dead animals are laying outside from our window panorama. A restaurant is also inside the hotel. However, this evening we tried a pizza: a vegetarian one … really good !

An interesting point are the people staying at the hotel. Most of them are from Europe or the US. Some of India. However, they hardly answer when we say hello. Quite amazing, coming to a country like Tanzania and missing its absolute greatest part, the open minded people. On our side, we try to dive every day deeper in this atmosphere and culture. We talk with anyone talking to us. Sometimes, people talk a few minutes with us just for fun. Other times, they try to know what we plan to start a kind of business. In such cases we simply stay very unclear but we are always polite. They stop after a few 100 meters giving us their best wishes. Politeness is certainly one of the highest quality of this people.

We tried a new place to eat pizza. Really disapointing … similar to cheap european restanrant … just very expensive for a local place. Pizza had no taste and some vegetables were almost not cooked. We left most of it away.

Next day to the sisters was as usual very nice. We try to become kind of business men fighting to get the lowest prices from taxis. People tend to think we are very rich. We are certainly much more as they are, however we try to be very careful with our money as the travel just started and money is somehow flying away … but OK tomorrow we go by bus, the so called Dalla-Dalla: the mini bus. Dar es Salaam seems to be very developed at the level of public transport as so many bus are driving. They are incredibly cheap. As everywhere here, people inside are not complicated, smiling at a first hello. The stress from european countries tend however to develop through rich people: Looks like the town is getting richer in very few time: Huge cars are being driven: Inside; people tend to care more about their ego than about this culture… It is a pity. With tourism developing and people of our countries expecting comfort, security and quite holiday, it is hard to believe this so pleasant atmosphere will still a long time survive.

A few more feelings during our volunteering stay

Starting at the sisters’s home

 

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The second day was quite taf. After standing up we ate a few bananas and ran to the heir cut. There Nino made her rastas. The guy working there was quite impressive, talking very good english, french, quite some words of italian and spain … His dream is to take a chance in Europe especially in Germany. Interested ? Then send him a mail: Kenny Johnson, tozy_bright@yahoo.fr.

After this we searched for the restaurant Epi d’Or but could not find it. Hence we stopped at the Alcove: an indian restaurant. Really excellent.

Friday was our first day at the sisters. It was really nice. They care about small children, handicapped persons males and females of any age. They also care of too old people not being autonomous anymore.

Like in any place of the Missionaries of Charity, it is really peaceful. Everything is perfectly clean and one can hardly believe all these people cannot wash themselves as they are so clean.

The sisters separated all people according to their health and age. Old people are really nice. People having mental disorders are extremely soft. All happy to see us and greeting us. Being of white color in such a place is often seen as a curiosity 🙂 Arriving at the place of the children, it was amazing, they ran to us, jumped into aour arms and did not want to leave us. That was a very great emotional experience.

The sisters then asked us to care about the handicaped children. Some children are suffering of this hyperactivity syndrome. Most of them are however mentally and bodily handicaped. They are all very nice persons, and show us a lot of love. One feels they are missing parents education.

The time to serve is 9AM to 11AM and 2PM to 4.30PM. During the pause we were asked to find our way outside the house. It is located in the middle of a long road bordered of a kind of slum. Maybe slum is exagerated however people live in almost nothing.

Going along this road which joins a bigger one, we met so many children and adults that may have never seen white people 🙂 Just saying hello, children were so happy. Some of them came to us to shake our hands, seeing that many others laughed.

Men and woman seem really amazed from Nino. With her Rasta she has a foot in their culture but her white skin and very cool way of being seem to be extremely appreciated.

Arriving to the main road, we found a kind of place where beers and coke were sold. They play as well local music. Very simple place which would not follow european hygienic rules but here all is much simpler and people are far less complicated than in our cultures. By the way Tanzania Music is a great Music, great rythms, it would certainly have a lot of success in european countries.

The first day we ate bread and bananas. We have no idea what we can eat. We know our intesties may be very reluctant to some bacterias running here. As a drink we start our trip exclusively with bier and coke. These ones should be OK for us.

We stayed in that simple place a few hours and then came back to the sisters. Seeing us again, children started to came to us. Nino wanted to take a few pictures of them. They were so happy seeing us taking such photos. Many laugh. It is great to see children that are not taken in this spirale of consumption but simply children laughing and playing with whatever they find. Obviously, the horrible counterpart resides in the health. I doubt they have such good medicine access as we have.

Going back to the sisters we played again 1 hour with the children and then came back home. We now found our way not to pay too much for a taxi: As a taxi driver for a way. Say he says 15000 Tsh. Go to another one and ask for the same way for 7000Tsh. That way you will get it for 10000Tsh. We noticed, the default price asked to tourists seems to be 50% more than the normal price.

We then went around in the city and found some material for clothing for Nino. She wants to make a local dress. Their are dresses for tourists but to get a very local one some special texture will have to be bought and the cloth must be handmade … there are no local clothes ready made 🙂

We also found another hotel. Our current hotel is in a nice location but we are paying 25$. Inside it is quite old and some how would need to be renewed. We visited a room in the other hotel. They are more comfortable, the bath is even better than ours but mainly, the hotel is located close to restaurants for tourists. This was our main requirement.

Fourth day in Dar es Salaam. We are very happy with local people. Furthermore it is so great to discover a culture where we do not see any tourists. Today we went again to the sisters. Again we walked along this street bordered from slum. Again we saw many children greeting us. I love this road for this. People are so nice.

I have some pain in the wrist since a while. On the way a kind of non medical practitioner is proposing herbals treatments. When we entered, the guy was so surprised to see us 🙂 I had read in our travler book a few words to explain my problem. He performed some massaged with some special herbals. I have to say that it helped 🙂

Today the sisters proposed us to eat with other people. I was very happy to discover what they eat. They had prepared vegetables in some oil with pollenta. It was very good. I obviously added some bread and bananas. Nino preferred not to try.

After lunch we met 2 people from west countries having adopted a child from mother Teresa’s house. To adopt a child, one must live in the country since at least 3 years. Then after adopting, regular controls will be preformed to make sure the child is being educated in good conditions. The parents were really nice persons.

This is our last night in our first hotel. We are then moving to the other one tomorrow. We will take all our things to the sisters tomorrow morning and then back to the center moving in in the hotel in the evening.