Category : Text

I got credit for performing a miracle

Normally I ride a dala dala home from school.

(A dala dala is a passenger van that is used as an inexpensive taxi service. Dala Dalas are packed tight, there is usually little air flow, and the drivers have a reputation for being risk takers, but it only costs me 13 cents for a 20 minute ride).

However, yesterday I gave my midterm exam and thus had about 90 essays to bring home, with each essay being completed in a 16 page booklet. So they were heavy and a bit inconvenient.

I contacted my friend Archibold and asked him to pick me up. He agreed. He had taken his car to get a repair done earlier in the day, so he arrived in a friend’s car.

Archibold got out of the car to greet me and closed the door… With the car running… And the keys locked inside!

So we tried the doors. None opened. We tried the trunk. It was locked. The windows were all rolled up.

So he called the owner of the car to have him bring the extra keys. It turns out the extra keys and the owner’s house keys were in the car. The locked car.

So again we tried the doors. Still locked.

So I start pushing on the door frame of the driver’s door… And all of a sudden it opened!

Archibold immediately gave me credit for performing a miracle.

Does anyone have Pope Francis’ telephone number?

Some kind of record…

2:53pm East African Time Zone on December12…

We heard our first Christmas song of the season. (Jingle Bell Rock).

And now song two at the restaurant is Jingle Bells.. Sleighing and snow, etc.

Just a side note. It is 90 degrees here.

29+ hours…

And it just came back on.

Why am I awake at 2am? Because it is too hot to sleep without a fan.

So now we are plugging in phones and soon I expect we will both be asleep, comfortably.

Over 24 hours without electricity

The power went out Wednesday night and now as of 10 pm Thursday night, it is not yet back on.

Much of the city is without power, but there are spots that do have it.

Coincidentally, the bottom apartment in our building has electricity, but we do not (nor does the apartment right below us).

Apparently a transformer somewhere had issues and they are trying to fix.

We spent the day on a city tour, then I had English club, and then we went for dinner with our friends from the U.S., so we have not been home to need power.

But sleeping last night was very tough, because the temperature was still in the high 70s/low 80s and with no fan and no breeze, we are covered in uncomfortable layers of sweat. (and no electricity means no water pump which means no real showers, but instead a splash of water here and there to try to fake being clean.)

And with no electricity, I can not work on and post photos from the past week.

First quick post about Nairobi

Non-human related: I got a kiss from an elephant, I gave a rhinoceros that used to hate me a massage, which he greatly enjoyed, and I ate some delicious filet Mignon.

Human-related: we are greatly enjoying our time with our friends, the Powers.

Photos (assuming I have any good ones and details about the massage will come soon.)

At the end of the third week of classes…

I learned:

1. There is wireless internet on campus. I discovered this by eavesdropping on what one of my students was doing and saw him connected.

2. Groucho Marx lives, or at least he is being channelled by one of my students. “Everybody uses Zantel [one of the cell phone companies], that’s why it doesn’t work.”

3. There is at least one person in the world who still thinks that television wrestling is real. Or at least he did, until I burst his bubble.


Regarding the election. People are being respectful and purposely not discussing the election. The few people who have said anything have said how disappointing the result is for America and for the whole world.


In August 2001, while walking back to the car near Pisa, in Italy, I got in to a conversation with the parking attendant. Once he figured out that I was American, his next words were, “George Bush. Bad Man. Very, Very Bad Man.”

In November 2008, Angi and I were living in Tanzania, a different location than where we now are. We voted by email, which in itself was quite cool. The day after the election, people in the street, my colleagues at the university and some students all expressed their excitement about Obama being elected and congratulated me on behalf of America. In the following days, cloth with Obama’s face on it was available everywhere in the town where we lived and throughout the parts of the country that we visited. And a few months later, while in Nairobi, Kenya, people were still happy to talk to us about how proud they were that America elected Obama.

This year, we once again voted by email from Tanzania. This week, some of my students and colleagues were asking about the election, and every single person I talked to, was looking forward to Hillary being elected. Even the people who can not fathom a woman being elected President of Tanzania.

I will see some friends tomorrow (Thursday) and I will return to school on Friday.

I look forward to hearing what Tanzanians have to say.

A few things I learned yesterday

Student M: “I’m glad you are teaching us British English.”

Me: “I don’t think I understand.”

Student M: “British English. You say the word “want” not “wanna” like Americans do.”


Student A: “All Tanzanians are equal.”

Same student a few minutes later: “Well no, she can’t be president. She’s a woman.”

I need a new wife…

Or perhaps multiple new wives.

At least according to one of my very traditional male students. Before Speaking class began, students were asking me questions (great practice for improving English skills) and a student asked how many children I have.

I explained that we have none and in America that is a culturally acceptable choice. (In Zanzibar, the more children you have, the more blessed you are… I do not know how people who are unable to reproduce, let alone choose not to, are viewed.)

He told me I need another wife because mine “refuses to produce” children for me.

I once again explained the culture differences, so then he decided that while I am in Tanzania I should get myself a few wives so that I can live a happy life.

I think I will just keep the one I have.

A few pieces of wisdom

1. When you live in a country that has official “Rainy Seasons” and it starts to rain and the locals scurry for cover even though the rain is a mere drizzle, join them in the search for cover. As I meandered, the rain intensified VERY quickly and I became…wet.

1a. Also related to rain. To dry our laundry, we hang it out on the clothes line. I heard the light rain starting and having learned something from the above piece of wisdom, I hurried outside to bring in the clothes. However, I noticed there was a woman a few buildings over who was continuing to actively hang her laundry outside at the same time I was pulling all of ours inside. And guess what, I really haven’t learned much. It did rain, approximately long enough for me to bring everything in. And then it completely stopped.