Friday, 5 October 2012

The chucks

Thursday October 4th

I promised chucks, so here we are, or rather the chuck; singular.  When we stayed with Cliff and Jane in Dar last year we got used to an early Tanzanian alarm call as the Muslim ‘Call to Prayer’ echoed around the streets just before dawn, but that was nothing compared to the insomniac cockerel we have at the YMCA. As I've said earlier, dawn in Pangani is at 6:15 without change every day.  I wish someone would tell this bird.  Every morning at 3:30 he decides to exercise his lungs with a cry to the world to announce that it is nearly three hours before the sun rises.  He then has a breather for an hour and repeats the dose at 4:30 before finally heralding the dawn an hour later.

My Nemesis outside my room

During the day he struts around with his four lady friends and I am sure he sees me as some rival for their affection.  He throws his chest out as he passes me, giving the odd crow, and if I should decide to go in and shut the door for a lie down, I swear he puts his beak to the keyhole and lets out a tremendous cry.  There are two other quieter cockerels who are obviously cowed by his presence and I am trying to convince the boss lady, Mama Gladness, that three males is far too many and we could easily have chicken for dinner without enduring the trip to Tanga.

Mama Gladness

A little late for today’s missive but we have had no electricity for 36 out of the last 48 hours.  I woke this morning at 2:00 and realised by the temperature that the ceiling fan was off, no electric.  Nipped to the loo and pulled the lever, no water.  Then as I climbed back into bed with the drumming of torrential rain on the roof and painstakingly tucked my mosquito net under the mattress all the way round, I’ll admit I did have some choice words.  Especially as I had deliberately put the sim card from the dongle into my phone to dial a number I had received, that would give me web surfing from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am for only Tsh 200.  A right waste of 8p that was!!

The day obviously improved and I had another dip after school and acquired another student.  Although a fishing town, most of the people I talk too, including the local fishermen, are unable to swim.  The sea presumably is there to provide food and income and not for relaxation, and the feeling is not restricted to the locals as Denis almost blanches at the idea of entering the waves.  It was with some surprise then, when I told Deo, the handyman at the YMCA, that I was off for a swim he said he would come too.  He splashed around in not much more than knee high water but it was obvious he wanted more and I soon realised that he wanted to learn how to swim.  Lesson one today and I’ve got another nine weeks to make a swimmer out of him.  Wish me luck.


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