Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Internet and electricity

Tuesday October 31st

I’m having mega problems with technology at the moment.  I have broken the screen on my laptop, as you know, so have to work in my bedroom with a projection on the wall.  The electricity is such at the moment that I sometimes wonder if I’m sitting in a disco with a strobe light on, although to be fair I think part of the problem is the angle grinder and welder that the workmen are using.  And then today the internet gave up the ghost and said my dongle/modem could not connect.  As they say life is a beach and I might as well be sitting on it instead of worrying.

The staff here are working flat out at the moment.  As I left for school this morning the whole team was out with pangas cutting the grass.  Obviously there is still cleaning, cooking and washing and the usual chores and then when I returned this afternoon Vicky was still grass cutting, Mama Gladness was painting the new steel windows and Eva and Lucy were lugging great piles of timber on their heads to a dump right at the end of the site.  It seems the new hall has its official opening next Monday so everything has to be ‘just so’ for when the dignitaries arrive.  Once again the work was still going on when I went to bed and I think everyone will heave a great sigh of relief when Tuesday comes.

In the classroom too the problems of Africa are present.  I have just started a section on geometry with Form I that involves using a protractor and I was not surprised when I asked for a show of hands and found we had the chance of about five between the class.  To be honest, I wouldn’t do much better at Carleton, but at least there I could go to a cupboard and get a set out.  Not here.  By going round the other classrooms, I got up to nine which, with the couple that I had brought from the UK, gave us nearly one between two so the lesson could go ahead.  Compasses needed next to do constructions.  I daren’t even ask.

It came time to go home this afternoon and I discovered what every cyclists dreads; a flat tire. No worries; you can’t buy kuku in Pangani and there isn’t a bank but if there is job you want doing that is labour intensive and requires little outlay, you can’t move for help.  Mr Mmarri quickly deputized one of Form II who lived locally to take me across the road into Boza village and we soon came to a hut where a young boy had my bike upside down in no time. He set to work with a cut off bottom of a big bottle to hold the puncture finding water, an old tire to cut a patch out of, a tube of glue and a handle-less knife as his only tool and within a short time I was back on the road.  The cost, I was told, was Tsh 400 but I only had a 500 note so he was delighted at his tip and my last 100 coin for my guide left him happy too.  Totally outlay Tsh 600 (24p) and we all parted with smiles on our faces.  Ain’t the free economy a wonderful thing?


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