Monday, 3 June 2013

Like I previously mentioned, I really haven't done much since I've been back in Tanzania, but I'll fill you in on a few things which I have been up to. 

I've only been down to see Mama Mary twice in the two weeks which I have been back. The first time was early last week. I managed to get the courage to hop on a couple of dalla's with my arm in a sling. It wasn't too bad, just a bit painful on the bumps when we got to the bad road. However, it was definitely worth it. I always love going to see Mama Mary, she's so welcoming, and seeing the house there is nice too. They are all doing well, Vicky and Agripina are still in school and their English has improved! They need some new school jumpers and shoes though but I will buy those for them this week. Mama Mary of course wanted to cook for me but I explained to her that it's not a problem and that I would get some food at the school. I took the short walk down towards Golgotha after saying I'd see Mama Mary later on. I limit my time visiting the school nowadays, I find it quite stressful. There's simply to much to do, and without the help from the director anymore it's too hard to get it done. I couldn't take on the stuff that needs doing there with the other work that I'm doing so I find it easier to just go down every now and then. It was nice though, and I spent an hour or so with class three and taught them how to write letters. They each wrote me one saying how sorry there were about my collar bone and asking me how England was. They are all lovely things to have and I will treasure them. 

Today was the second time that I've been to see Mama Mary. I tried yesterday, but I couldn't get a car so I gave it a miss. Oh yes, I am driving now, my collar bone has been much better recently and I can do pretty much everything now without any pain! Luckily when I woke up this morning the car was free. I asked Mike if I could use it for the day and he was cool with it so I left shortly afterwards. I took it to the petrol station first and filled it was 20,000tsh (about £9) worth of diesel. I got about five minutes up the road before I was stopped by a police check point. I knew I was going to have to pay a fine but I wasn't ready for quite how much. The car I borrowed from Mike is a Toyota Landcruiser pick up truck, and it's not in the best shape. It's missing one wing mirror, it has no seatbelts, a cracked windscreen and numerous other issues. The policeman picked up on all of them, including the fact that I didn't have a fire enxtinguisher. I tried to offer him to solve the problem there and then i.e bribe him a little bit to let me go, but he wasn't having any of it, and he said that we need to go to the police station. I decided that I wasn't going anywhere without any help from some local friends so I called Adam to come and help me out. He came along pretty quickly with some other friends and they spoke to the police officer for a while. They managed to persuade him not to fine me for each offence but just for one, which I was sort of OK with, bare in mind that it's not even my car! I drove the police officer and Adam to the police station. We handed over the keys to the watch guard there whilst we went inside and paid the fine. It all went pretty smoothly but I definitely wasn't in the best of moods. When they asked me for the money I threw it down on the table and gave the corrupt officer and nice stare. She wasn't best pleased and asked Adam why I was acting like this, I didn't say anything. Just as we were about to leave, Adam started to panic and told me that we needed to leave quickly and that the head police officer was coming to check the cars. I reversed out of our space, slammed it into first but before I could get anywhere the police man shouted at us and told us to stop. I knew we were in shit when I saw him. Big old  boss bollocks strutted his stuff around the vehicle and started shouting at us immediately in Swahili. I couldn't understand a word that he was saying apart from license so I pulled it out. I hated this guy immediately. He was the typical power tripping corrupt police official wanker. He shouted at me for not having an international license, whilst Adam stood in front of the non-existent wing mirror so he couldn't see that it was missing. He told me that I would have to pay another fine on top of what I'd already paid, I couldn't do much but say yes and get on with it. But then Adam decided to go and have another word with him, he explain to him that I'd only been driving in Tanzania for a couple of weeks and hadn't realised that I needed a international license. He was a bit nicer with him, but explained that he wanted to see my passport so he could be sure of when I had entered the country. I called Jason up he was at home, and he drove over with Aubree and her sister Kelsey to drop my passport off to him. We had to wait a while, but eventually we got it done, and we were able to leave. I didn't go on with Adam, I let him take the truck home, and I went with Aubree, Jason and Kelsey for lunch. I was too pissed off to be driving anywhere. 

Once I got home from lunch, Adam was there, and we decided to go down to see Mama Mary. The main reason I wanted to go down is because I want to get Mama Mary a small business started so that she can support the family without depending on hand-outs from me. The most important thing after having a secure home is being able to support the family with food and water etc. Mama Mary decided that she would like to start selling vegetables, and have her own small shop close by to the home. We spoke about any good locations, whether there was much competition and whether Mama Mary thought she would be capable of keeping her books and making sure that she gets her margins right. She spoke about a spot which she new close by, so we decided to go and check it out. Adam advised that I didn't come, as it was likely that he would have to negotiate with somebody about renting the small bit of land, and if I was there they would have upped the price by a lot because I'm white! The spot was good, and Adam agreed on 20,000tsh for three months of rent for the small bit of land. We're going to try and get the table built tomorrow, and get down to Mama Mary's as soon as possible to get her started. I will be investing a total of about 100,000tsh in setting up a small business for her. I hope it works out! 

I really haven't done much else at all. After Mama Mary's today I drove with Adam to meet a lady who is supported my Project Rehema, a local NGO, and see where she lived. She's HIV+ and supports two kids. She's not very well so Adam likes to pop in to see her when he gets the opportunity. It was crazy driving there, the roads are so bad, and I've never done driving like it before. It was exciting but pretty difficult to control! No mistakes though which is good! 

I'll update you all in a few days and let you know how setting up the business goes. I'll be visiting Mama Dora again soon and possibly getting some quotes for the build of the next home. Please donate if you have the time!

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