Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gone fishing


We left our hotel early Sunday morning and travelled to Traditional Textiles. Mama Moshi told us that on any other day the trip would have taken over an hour, but because it was Sunday there was lighter traffic. Traditional Textiles manufactures clothing and housing items such as dresses, purses, table cloths, and curtains. They weave their own fabric using traditional looms and spinning wheels. The process is very tedious and very methodical. The company is located in a village in Dar Es Salaam. The classification of village is synonymous to a neighborhood in the United States. When villagers come to the city to live, they adapt their village, community oriented customs to city life. Stray chickens, roosters, and goats could be found roaming the sand streets of the village. As we were leaving Traditional Textiles, we got to play with children who had gathered in the street to investigate as to what a large group of Mzungos (White Tourists) were doing in their neighborhood. We were able to teach the children internationally renowned gestures such as the high-five and the low-five. A large bag of skittles was distributed and drained in seconds.

When loaded into the cars after saying our goodbyes, the bus carrying half our group got stuck in the sand road. The local villagers helped us dig the tires out and push the bus free. The phrase "TIA" has become common among our group members, for truly "This Is Africa".

After Traditional Textiles we travelled to the carver's market. Here we found shops filled with hand carved objects. We got to use our bargaining skills which we had mastered in Moshi. Students purchased a wide variety of objects ranging from wooden elephants to salad tongs. After the carver's market, we ate lunch. This was one of the most fillings meals that we have had all week. Don't get me wrong. The rice, carrots, and curried chicken have been good but our American stomachs crave some junk food after a while. My American appetite was quenched only after downing an entire cheese pizza and a cheeseburger with french fries, all washed down with an ice cold Coca-Cola Classic. My fellow travelers all enjoyed similar euphoric experiences. Some students were able to fight off sleep and travel to the Museum of Tanzania, while others returned to the hotel to rest. One interesting highlight of the museum was a sixty-five million year old fish that was once thought extinct. Upon finding this ancient relic of an animal, the Tanzanian government thought it would be a good idea to capture it, kill it, and preserve it in a jar in Dar Es Salaam, where it could be kept safe from future extinction. Wait...too late.

All in all these events made for another great day. TIA! I love you, Mom!

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