Thanks to all those who visited the Dodges Ferry artisan and produce market and donated money for us to bring over here with us, (and to those who donated to me personally). So far this money has been directed to several communities and individuals; a Rwandan dance troupe, a five year old girl (school fees for 2 years), an Indigenous community in Rwanda, and a local fella to help facilitate and translate the discussions and giving. Here at the Baobab Home so far the money has been used to paint a mural with the children in the kitchen.
I am conscious of the arguments around aid and giving. A prominent figure here in Africa has just been quoted as saying, they give you aid so that you glorify them and depend on them, they keep using it as a tool of control and management.
I remember an elder (and ex- ATSIC commissioner) in Australia once saying to me when I asked how I could help, he so bluntly, with kindness said something along the lines of, when we are ready, step aside and let us walk our own path.
As we found in Rwanda, giving is not always easy, as giving to many is giving to many opinions and ideas about what to do with money and how to receive it. Thanks to our local facilitator and interpretor, he did an awesome job to make sure the money we gave was invited and received with dignity in tact.
Bagamoyo is so less electricity dependant than the west. As we spend our second night here with no electricity, and not knowing when it will come back on, my daughter and I enjoy a warm candlelit evening to the sound of percussion and chanting bellowing in from the streets below (more often than not drums and dancing are symbiotic). Dancing is so common over here, mixed with the rhythm of the drum it is hypnotically uplifting to hear and watch. I am reminded of a quote a volunteer in Hobart that I worked with used as her email signature,I am not sure who said it but it went something like this, “if I can’t dance I don’t want this revolution”.
Arrival into Tanzania was blessed with a helpful taxi driver who took us from Dar es Saalam to the local daladala stop so we could continue our journey to the Baobab Home in Bagamoyo. In the taxi the driver’s first words were ” Tanzania is a very peaceful place”. Rest assured we both felt a tad nervous when he wedged us tightly into our seats on the bus (daladala) by stuffing our bags on top of us and using them to tuck us in saying “be careful, be very very careful” as he exited and walked off.
Having eased us into our trip we did feel a tad vulnerable along the way. This feeling subsided a bit when an old blind man and a young couple with a new born jumped on.
Here we are, in an internet shop in down town Bagamoyo, looking out the window I am watching woman walk past with exceptional posture, as they balance not only one massive bucket but 2 buckets on their heads, lovely choice of bucket colours too. These woman would be a hit at the Tasmanian Circus Festival for their gravity defying feats.
The colours here are so rich, makes me ponder on the sea of black that inhabits downtown Hobart. It is so fun to be sporting multiple colours each day, I wonder how long I will last when I get home before I am finding myself in all black clothes again!
Water and electricity is so intermittent here, am not sure how soon it will be before I will be able to get back on line.
Our morning ritual consists of heading down the road and buying the sweetest, juiciest pineapple off the street from a woman called Happy. We tried to get through one in one sitting but they are too big. Happy is insistant on me not being shy to talk Swahli…hmmm why did I come to a foreign country with no words in the native language! I was fine in Rwanda, |I had French as a back up and could communicate there somewhat, but here all I can do is grunt and smile. Leuca is like a jewel, everyone wants to shake her hand, ask her name and look at her, she reckons she never wants to be famous!
Times up, jumping on a peeki peek (motorbike) to head to the Baobab Home. It,s a 15 minute ride, on a dirt road the trip is a bit rough if you forget to wear your sunnies. The feeling of your face vibrating like the skin on your face is about to fall off is something else! I don.t think helmets hold much weight here, (sorry darling if you are reading this)!
More about the Baobab Home and yoga next post.