Monday, 5 November 2012

A sleepless night

Sunday November 4th

I have been full of praise for the workmen from Moshi that have come to complete the YMCA hall, but I am afraid that last night I had other words for them.  Not their fault really but whoever decided that the job, having taken eight years so far, could be finished in two weeks wants shooting, as with official opening day rapidly approaching, and a fortnight of 15 hour days behind them, they decided yesterday evening that they would need to work through the night to get the doors finished.  These are made from the same tubing as the windows, so all night long could be heard the sound of the angle grinder, cutting the lengths, and hammering as they were assembled and the grinding done on the lower part.  My room is closest to the action, so I am afraid sleep was a non-starter as every time they stopped for a breather, it was like waiting for the other shoe to fall.  The only positive of the whole night was that when my favourite rooster started his testosterone driven warblings, I couldn't really hear him for the b***dy noise from the hall.

During my absence last night the big-wigs from YMCA had arrived together with more bodies to smarten the place up.  It looks like a party of women from the local village have also been recruited for the day as every surface is raked, scrubbed or covered, depending upon its use.  The local ladies have also been a constant stream passing by door (and no, this is not the norm), to carry collapsible chairs out of storage.  We don’t use coal, but I’m sure if we did, it would have been painted white.

The man in charge of the YMCA for Tanzania has arrived for the second time in my stay here and I don’t know what I have done wrong but so far he is the only person I have met in Tanzania that has snubbed me.  I have tried ‘salama’, ‘shikamoo’, ‘habari’, but whatever I say he simply blanks me.  I’ll try speaking up tomorrow as it might well be that he is like me and hard of hearing.  The German sponsors of the new hall also arrived tonight so I don’t know where everyone is going to sleep but I’m tucked in so tough.

The workmen leave tomorrow, so just to show there are no hard feelings, I stood them a round tonight and gave my practiced speech which I feel came over a bit like Mr Grace in ‘Are You Being Served’ with his “And you've all done very well.”  They deserved a drink for risking life and limb on the scaffolding, especially, as I now realise, my volleyball post was not just a scrap bit of wood that was knocking about.

Having lost a night’s sleep last night it’s early to bed tonight so –


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