Friday, July 4, 2008

Catching Up

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. Things have just been so incredibly busy… which is a good thing. I don’t have time to write about everything that has happened and you probably wouldn’t have time to read that much anyway, but I’ll try to give you the highlights.

On Tuesday morning the last two small-business wheelchairs were finished and we organized a little party to deliver them. We gave it a 4th of July theme which was an excuse to make hot dogs and French fries, which everybody loved. Plus it’s watermelon season here. Agnes and I made the French fries from scratch. She made everything look so easy and I’m sure I slowed her down a bit, but I’m starting to catch on.

After lunch we called each of the new entrepreneurs up to present them with their new small-business wheelchairs. Mr. Beads will be expanding his beads shop and has already found a place in town where he is planning on “opening up shop.” I met him last year which I visited him in Monduli, a mountainous town about an hour outside of Arusha. Daniel hadn’t told me his name, only that he made things with beads, so I kept referring to him as Mr. Beads and it looks like the name stuck! This is the first time that Mr. Beads has ever had a wheelchair and it was absolutely awesome watching him hop in there and wheel around MobilityCare with a huge smile on his face.

Our last businessman is a young guy named Ebeneza who will be making shoes. He likes to work under a tree that overlooks a carwash, so he called his business Waterfront Shoemaker. I guess you could consider the carwash a waterfront view! I don’t know if he makes womens shoes, but if he does I’ll certainly be a customer.

Wednesday morning I started my long safari to Dar es Salaam. [“Safari” is actually a Swahili word that means “journey.”] It took about 9 hours on the bus which is considered fast. As we got close to Dar it occurred to me that my bus had been overtaking every other vehicle on the road, and not a single car had passed us. The bus stopped for about 15 minutes when we reached the halfway point, which was just enough time to check the tires and grab something to eat. I tried to sleep but it was too bouncy, and I was afraid I would miss something out the window. The scenery changed quite a bit, from Baobab trees to bush to palm trees. Every now and then we would pass a small town with people milling about and trying to sell us things through the window. Somebody suggested a hotel called The Sleep Inn, whose slogan is “for a great tomorrow, be our guest tonight.” I love it.

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