Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back to Arusha

Saturday and Sunday, July 19th and 20th

I was excited to head back to Arusha this weekend. Between my trip to Dar/Zanzibar and the laundry list of things that I’m trying to finish up in Moshi, it had been a while since I had been there (which everybody happily reminded me). On Saturday I went out to dinner at the G&T Hotel with Jodie, Daniel, and Joseph. The boys exchanged stories in Swahili while Jodie and I chatted about almost everything else, in English of course. We’ve gone to this restaurant quite a few times now because the guys are obsessed with their pork, and their chicken is really good too. Usually it takes at least an hour for the food to be prepared—I know, good food takes time. But I guess the combination of the good conversation and the steaming pot of fresh tea made the time fly by. I’m definitely going to miss these Tanzanian meals. Back at MIT I rarely spend more than 15 minutes eating lunch, and then I’m probably racing off to class or a meeting or a study session. I forgot how nice it is to sit down and simply enjoy a meal with good company.

On Sunday I met up with Jodie again to do some souvenir shopping. We went to this crazy craft market which is just stall after stall of people selling wood carvings, paintings, earrings, and everything under the sun made from beads. It’s absolutely crazy and you have to be prepared for some serious bargaining. And although I’m not the best bargainer, I did make a few good purchases. I’d tell you what I bought but most of them are gifts and I don’t want to ruin any surprises.

In the afternoon I went over to Daniel’s house because I had a little gift for his son (little Joseph) who is about 2 and a half. People are always selling these crazy DVDs in town that have like 80 different movies on a single disc. I have a few of them so I’ll try to bring them home, but I heard sometimes customs confiscates them. In any case, I found this awesome DVD with The Lion King, Madagascar, Over the Hedge, Ice Age, Robots, and a dozen other great cartoons. The Lion King even has some Swahili in it (the main character’s name “simba” simply means lion). Little Joseph was really excited, although I think he may have been more interested in the DVD case than what was actually inside.

Daniel and I started chatting about my project and the new MIT Mobility Lab and the future donation network that some of my classmates are currently working on. And before I knew it almost 3 hours had passed. Seriously. Daniel is extremely knowledgeable about everything I’m working on and it was great to get his perspective on everything.

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