Week 1 Volunteering...
Bagamoyo Travel Blog› entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
20 June 2007
It is hard to believe Iâ€™ve already been in Bagamoyo for almost a week now! I am really starting to enjoy the village I am in. We 5 girls have said more than once that we are really glad weâ€™re not in a bigger city like DarEs Salaam. Things just seem more authentic, slow, and quiet here. There are very few cars. Everyone either walks or rides a bicycle (myself includedâ€¦I rented a bike for 2 weeks for about $12). When you walk or bike down the street, people greet you with â€śMambo!â€ť (Whatâ€™s up?), to which you respond â€śPoa!â€ť (Cool!). It is just such a neat culture. Everyone is always outside their house, playing together or talking, and greet those that are passing by. The people are amazingly sweet. Bagamoyo is a very artsy city. There are two art universities here: a sculpture school and an arts college. That is really neat because you see artists all over town working on their art, and displaying it for people to purchase. A band lives right next to our house, the Bagamoyo Spirits. It is not uncommon for us to wake up to someone playing the guitar or drums right next to our house (or a rooster!...I donâ€™t think that Iâ€™ve heard such a perfect rooster crow beforeâ€¦but now I hear one every morning!) The culture is so interesting in the fact that it is so primitive. People raise their own chickens and goats, and then prepare them to eat. People buy fabric and then take it to a seamstress for her to make a dress. Robbi and I actually brought one of the seamstresses, Pele, some fabric today! She is a sweet lady! I think she charges about $3 or $4 per outfit that she makes. I am having two sundresses and a shirt and skirt outfit made.
The last few days have been good. Weâ€™ve been getting to know our surroundings. As geographically challenged as I am, I am just finally figuring out where everything is, and where I am in relation to that. Itâ€™s kinda nice J
On Sunday, we went into the big city about an hour away, DarEs Salaam. We took a daladala. What an experience! It is a large van which will probably seat about 20 people comfortably. The trip to Dar costs $1. We left Bagamoyo with about 23 people in the van, and at one point there was actually 30 people in there! They just kept picking people up! Theyâ€™d stand, or half sit on someone else. Right after that trip, I came home with a cold. I wonder where I might have picked that up ;-) Dar was fun, but we realized after we got there that a lot of the shops are closed on Sunday. We went to the mall to get some things that we needed. By the time we made it to the mall, we were sooo hungry so we just went to the deli of a supermarket and picked up some rice and curry with samosas (fried things with meat and veggies inside). We couldnâ€™t find a place to eat it, so we 5 girls camped out on the floor in the corner of the mallâ€¦pretty obnoxious, yes. We kept looking over at the security guard, wondering when they were going to kick us out. Robbi got up to take a picture of how ridiculous we looked, and the security guard came over. We were thinking, darnâ€¦I guess this is it. Robbi asked if she could take a quick picture first, and then took one. The security guard said, â€śGirls, actually I come over here to tell you that you canâ€™t take a picture in the shopping centerâ€ť. We apologized, and then were laughing when she left about how it was fine to just create our own picnic area though J Then she came back over a few minutes later, and said, â€śOkay, if you want to take one more picture it is okay. Now give me a biscuit.â€ť We were totally confused!! We didnâ€™t have any biscuits, but were feeling pretty funny about the conversation. Haha
On Monday there is a market in Bagamoyo. We checked it out on Monday, but were a little disappointed to see that it is a lot of household items. I think it was Robbi who described it as â€śWal-Mart brought to you!â€ť It was interesting thoughâ€¦They had a lot of old clothes that they were selling. The clothes looked like they were clothes from a clothes drive in the States that had been sent overâ€¦They were a lot of American brands. Ohâ€¦On the way to Dar the day before, I saw a man wearing a â€śHutchinson Plumbingâ€ť shirtâ€¦ I thought it was pretty funny. I wanted to ask him about it, but he was a few rows up. I am assuming it came from a clothes drive as well.
This morning on our run, Robbi and Shayna and I decided to take a little different routeâ€¦About 15 minutes down this great road (it was up from the beach a little bit, so we had a great view of the sunrise over the beachâ€¦beautiful!), we went past this house. Three dogs came bolting out of the yard, and started running after us, barking and snarling. It was really scary since one of the guys in our program just got bit by a dog with rabies the week before we got here (that dog is dead now from rabies). But I guess a lot of the dogs here have rabies. So we were pretty freaked out!! We were all in a circle with our backs to each other, the dogs surrounding us, snarling and barking. Then a lady came out of the house, and got the dogs away. I am not sure if they had rabies or notâ€¦I would think that if they would have wanted to bite us, they probably could haveâ€¦but still just really scary!
The last few days at the school, we have been doing a lot of painting. We put two coats of paint and trim in a classroom. We are excited to paint some colourful pictures in one of the rooms in the next few days. The classrooms are pretty much outsideâ€¦big open windows. Iâ€™m not even sure how long our paint job will last since itâ€™s so wide open. One of the teachers said they had just painted this classroom weâ€™re doing in April! I hope that is not really the case :-/ One of the teachers, Hadija, was giving me Swahili lessons one of the days. She seemed really excited about it. I loved it. She is really sweet! I think I am getting my numbers down J
Well, that is my update of the last few daysâ€¦A lot to say! Everything still seems very new, but it is really starting to feel like home. When we came back from Dar (after being there for only the day), we all said â€śOh, it feels so good to be home.â€ť J And I think Iâ€™m getting more used to the geckosâ€¦and other small critters. The other volunteers are telling me that the squeaks we hear at night are ratsâ€¦but I am sure that is a fabricated lie, right? J
This weekend, we have arranged to go to
Thanks for reading the ramblings! It is quite an adventure, and a place and people that I will not soon forgetâ€¦