Archive for the ‘Dar es Salaam’ Category

Blue Band: The Household Staple

I know that I have mentioned Blue Band before but I just wanted to elaborate a bit on this vital staple used in practically every household in Dar es Salaam and beyond.

It is sold virtually everywhere and is used as the household butter. However, this is NOT BUTTER! It is not even a margarine in my opinion, though it is more a margarine than a butter. It does not need to be refrigerated and even if it is it does not get hard. It has it’s own particular flavor and  if you use it too cook there is no mistaking Butter for Blue Band. It is used to cook everything here!

As much as I stood my ground at first and only used real butter, which costs 10 bucks for a regular size chunk of butter and spoils a day or two after being unfrozen, I too have now begun to use this mystery product. It is just easier and way more economically friendly.

"High in Vitamins and Fats"

After brainstorming ideas for new clubs for WYLD LIFE I came up with Blue Band Club, basically a modified Crisco Club or Spam Club. The team liked it and so we did it! It was INCREDIBLE!

We had Pass the Blue Band, much like Hot Potato, trivia about Blue Band,  watched Videos about Blue Band,  sang about Blue Band and we even had some hair styles made with Blue Band! The leaders had a Blue Band Hat making competition. So fun! I would venture to say it was one of our best clubs yet! I always love that the craziest ideas always become some of the best!  Here are some pics from the occasion.

Check these AMAZING Retro adds for this stuff:

(If they don’t work just search in You Tube for Blue Band Margarine)


Pushing the Dala Dala

So as mentioned in earlier posts, we travel by dala dala, old beat up vans that transport up to 30 people at a time. Dala dalas are not sent to the shop every 3 months for oil changes, or checked for leaks, or seat belts, or emissions testing. This all makes for cars that brake down quite often. Also, because the drivers do not want to waste any money they only fill up the tank for exactly what they will use that day.

These factors combined create a recipe for inevitable mishaps.

One day while riding a dala dala, all of a sudden it shut off. The driver and his co-worker, did not seem put off by it at all. He tried right away to start the engine again, but no such luck.  Of course we were dead in the middle of a major road in the middle of rush hour. What would your instincts tell you to do at this point in time? Get out and push!

Well as I was about to satisfy this instinct, a man who was hanging out in the dala dala and the co-worker, got out of the dala dala and started to push. The only catch was there were still 15 people seated inside. My mind could not comprehend the situation! The little voice inside my head was screaming “COMMON SENSE PEOPLE” It takes 10x the amount of energy to push a dala with 15 people in than if you ask the people to get out and then push. Culturally though, people do not want to see their money wasted. They had all paid for the ride even though we were no where near anyone’s destination. The driver and co-worker were not about to give up the money they already had received therefore, their only option was to push. It took every ounce of my self-control to not get out and help the two men pushing 15 people.

After a long, embarrassing trek to the gas station, the men sweaty and yet seemingly complacent about the whole thing, filled the tank with the equivalent of just 5 dollars of gas so they could get to their next stop. Undoubtedly this was not the only problem with the dala. The fuel injector was also not in the best of shape. After trying to start the car 10 times they decided they needed a push start to get the engine running again. So out they went to push again, all 15 of us sitting inside. A quick little push start and we were on our way.

As we headed towards our destination the car stalled time after time. The driver decided to take the dirt road because as soon as he took his foot off of the pedal there was not enough gas to sustain the engine. He thought the dirt road would be less stop and go traffic. He was wrong, all traffic in Dar, in the middle of rush hour is stop and go traffic. Soon we were on a dirt road with the engine quiting the second we had to stop, and the two men pushing us back into action once the traffic moved a bit.

Eventually, they gave up and pulled over to the side of the road to let us all out. I gave the man some extra shillings to make up for the ridiculous trials they had gone though during the previous hour or so.

I still can’t believe that this was culturally acceptable, but it makes me thankful for all of the times people have helped me push my car and that I was not the dala dala workers that day.

Boy and his Chicken

Not sure why but I was fascinated by this. I guess it because you just don’t see it in Tucson. I couldn’t get a really good picture because I was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible while taking it.

Boy and his chicken.

Here you can see his feet, wrapped in rope and the plastic grocery bag covering his body. Every once in awhile the boy would readjust the chicken and then there he was staring us in the eyes, oblivious to the fact that later that day he would become a tasty supper.

I think what interested me most was that it was so normal for the boy to be holding the chicken.  Obviously, I did not grow up on a farm.

A note about chickens in Dar:

Chickens here are common but not as common as beef  (this is because of the native Masai peoples who are cattle herders).  Many men who ride bicycles to carry fresh goods throughout town carry chickens. They have them in baskets with a top layer over them so that they do not escape. Otherwise they can be seen walking around the road  here and there, not nearly as many as you see in Kauai.

Dar es Salaam: Officially the 8th Filthiest City in the World

Yes, it is true. This was the headline of the Dar es Salaam newspaper just a few weeks ago. Dar es Salaam is officially the 8th filthiest city in the world.

They ranked cities worldwide based on levels of air pollution, waste management, water potability, hospital services, medical supplies and the presence of infectious disease.

The streets really are very dirty here. Trash is everywhere. When we first moved here I noticed it all of the time but now I wouldn’t say it is something that I think about much. There is no public trash company, such as Waste Management, who comes to collect your garbage every week to be hauled away.  Sadly, most trash is burned. Even our trash is burned in the back of our compound. This is not something I am proud of. We do our best to recycle all that we can and to reuse everything as much as possible.

Although there are many people who have started recycling companies and who are trying to change this, it will take a long while before this is no longer an issue here.

I could not find the list that the Dar es Salaam Newspaper had released but I was able to find one from 2009. Here it is:

The World’s Dirtiest Cities
1. Baku, Azerbaijan (27.6)
2. Dhaka, Bangladesh (29.6)
3. Antananarivo, Madagascar (30.1)
4. Port au Prince, Haiti (34)
5. Mexico City, Mexico (37.7)
6. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (37.9)
7. Mumbai, India (38.2)
8. Baghdad, Iraq (39)
9. Almaty, Kazakhstan (39.1)
10. Brazzaville, Congo (39.1)
11. Ndjamena, Chad (39.7)
12. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (40.4)

Looks like we are moving on up!  I am sure this makes you all want to come visit us right away.

Seriously though, this is a major issue that creates so many of the health problems in this country. Pray that this year something will be done to alleviate this growing issue.

Solar Eclipse

January 15th, 2010.

As we walked outside of our weekly assembly one of my students pointed to the sky and said, “Mrs. Baum! Mrs. Baum! It’s an Eclipse!”

I promptly responded, “No it’s not. I would have known about before hand if there was going to be an eclipse.”

However, I looked into the sky and discovered I was completely wrong! There was a Solar Eclipse, and it happened to be the longest one that will ever been seen by anyone living today. The next one this long will not occur until the year 3043.

We sat and watched it through a quickly rigged together, whole in the paper. Because I did not know about it before hand I had no preparation to really control the students and educate them on not looking at it. They were really amazed by it! The best part was that the clouds covered it here and there and we were really able to get a good glimpse of it.

After it was over we came back in and got a real lesson about what an eclipse is and how significant this particular eclipse was.

I remember so vividly, watching a solar eclipse in second grade, my teacher, however was a bit more prepared. I hope that this is an event that my students remember for years and years as well.

Check out some more pictures and info about it…..

Welcome Back!

Once we made it back to Dar es Salaam safe and sound, we were greeted with the news that our neighbors’ puppy fell sick a few days after we left with rabbies.
RABBIES! AHHHHHHHHHH! I had no idea. Living in Tucson I have had very little exposure to this awful disease, except everyone’s exposure in life with the classic OLD YELLER (it still makes me sad to think about that one. ) However, here it is real and right in our compound. They puppy was put to sleep just after the Rabbies was full blown. This was stressful to say the least for our poor neighbors.
The entire compound who had any contact with the dog went to the hospital immediately and began shots for the rabbies vaccine. Everyone had some minor melt downs and freak out moments, but at least we are able to get the shots here in Dar es Salaam.
This was not the calm we wanted to come home to after our time in Ethiopia, but it is what it is. We are just praying that another case of this does not come our way during our time here EVER AGAIN!

We Arrived!

Ok. We’re here safe! This is the official, and a bit tardy, post about us making it safely to Tanzania.
We arrived in Dar a week ago Thursday morning at 7AM local time here. After a quick swine flu form and some mix up with the visa process, we found all our bags and went outside to find our friend Steve waiting for us.

It was now 8AM and a perfect time to drive right through Dar es Salaam, the biggest city in Tanzania, to get to their house. Yeah right. Traffic is quite an adventure here. Fast and reckless LA driving is nothing compared to the skilled and often very brave driving tactics here. Let’s say we’re perfectly ok not having our own car to drive around at the time being. So it was a nice fun drive back to their house to see the rest of the family and have a bite to eat.

We arrived at their wonderful house to the open arms of Dyan (Steve’s wife) and their 4 awesome kids Tesfaye, Zoe, Caleb and Epiphany! We spent the next 5 days with them. They toured us around Dar and showed us how to get and do many things. It’s definitely quite different than many places we’ve been, but very fun to learn too. Their generous and loving hospitality was and still is super fantastic to have and rely on. We’re very lucky to have such awesome friends in Jesus here to welcome us as family.

Now we’re beginning to settle into our house after some days. We have some groceries, learned how to buy ourselves some power, are adjusting to turning the water pump on and off and finding ways to live with the ants just not as many of them hopefully. We’ve finished a whole week at school orientation, learning a great many things and finding lots of ways to appreciate HOPAC school. Amy will be teaching 5th Grade starting next Monday! I have already begun helping with some IT stuff. The school year should be lots of fun. We’ll update more on that next time. For now, here are a few pictures from the arrival last week. Enjoy!

There is us arriving, outside the airport in Dar
Some pictures of our house
First ride in a Pajoge (probably not spelled right), but a great form of transportation!
Our friends Steve and Dyan and us on the beach
Us next to a nice Baobob tree on Hopac campus
Amy’s Classroom!