Saturday, 24 November 2012


Friday November 23rd

Not a lot to report today as I spent much of the day sat, and stood, doing one of the most boring jobs invented for man; invigilation.  I have been very lucky over the years, because for most of my life I have done a job that interests me; a job that on occasions can challenge, excite, exasperate, depress, and many other verbs but very rarely bore.  That is until you are asked to watch a group of students for three hours who are doing an examination. Time stands still!

I did see Mr Mari as I rode to school though.  He was on the back of a pikipiki, or rather he was sat on the luggage rack of a motorbike, whilst his wife sat between him and the rider who was controlling the bike.  His wife, I now find, had a hysterectomy during the birth of their last child and now has developed septicaemia, so is on a course of anti-biotics; hardly the ‘Holby City’ way of transporting a sick lady down to see the doctor at the local hospital.    Certainly the transport infra-structure in Tanzania is a major cause of problems.  I joke about the pikipikis, daladalas and the basi, but if this is your regular life it can have a profound effect.  You know that getting a job 100 miles away from home will most likely mean you do not see your family more than once every two or three months. You know that for your 14 year old child to have a chance of a better education you might not see them for three months at a time.  And as I have said above, you know that a trip to the local hospital or, as in Mrs Mmari’s  case, a trip to the regional hospital at Tanga because the local ultra sound scanner has stopped working, means a four hour round trip on sub standard transport and roads. 

The day ended, as usual, with a drink and chat to Denis and the other friends that I have made at the YMCA and whilst we were talking Denis got a phone call from Karim to ask about the direct road up the coast to Pangani.  It appears he has to bring a party to Pangani and as his taxi is a standard Toyota saloon, he wondered how suitable was the single track unmade road through the Sadan National Park.  This cuts nearly 100km off the journey from Dar as you don’t have to go North to Tanga, only to turn round and come South to Pangani.  Whichever way he comes I hope he finds chance to call in at the YMCA.


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