Culture shock?

Well, first of all, let me apologize for being retarded. I was so sure that I carefully recorded my phone number and sent it out, but no. I left out a zero. Sooooo for those of you who wish to call my cell in Tanzania, the real number is (no longer valid) from the US. It’s free for me to receive calls, and Arusha is 10 hours ahead of California.

Also, I had my dad mail me something I’d forgotten, not realizing that there’s no such thing as a mailman in Arusha. Everyone’s mail is delivered to the post office, and businesses/people with money have private PO boxes!!! So I will go there on Tuesday (tomorrow is Labor Day here) and see what’s up. I almost cried when I found out that after trying 3 banks in town, even waiting in line for a spell, and then taking a taxi out to Barclays (only a $2 ride, but still) to get money for my work permit (which the gov’t is now demanding GSC provide for all volunteers) I was supposed to pay it in US dollars!!!! Wow, so this is what they mean when they say that the USD is the standard currency for the world!! Holy Shamoly. So one of the GSC employees walked me over to a “Bureau de Change” which was actually a very small hardware store, which happened to stock some $$$ for exchanging as well. Any passer-by would not suspect it, so it was very amusing.

I had some posts pre-written, but because it’s Sunday, and the cafe where I can plug in my own computer is closed at 2, I’ll post those later. Today we went to church, it was an Anglican church that Sister (the title used for nurses, not just nuns)Margareth goes to. It was really fun, the singing was beautiful, and I was excited that I could tell when they were reciting the Nicene Creed, just by the cadence. Even though I have rejected my parent’s faith, it was nice to be there for them. We were asked to stand up and the preacher (who very closely resembles an ex-boyfriend of mine!) introduced us to the Parish. I read in a Kenyan paper that the CATHOLIC church actually admitted that the use of condoms is a far lesser sin than the travesty of living with HIV, and that they are considering allowing condom use for the prevention of HIV. I just about fell over. Man, if they change their view on condoms, I’ll take back every bad thing I ever said about Catholicism, and maybe even join a convent, just to express my gratitude for them finally waking up to the realities of modern life. Next Sunday, Margareth will take me to the church that does a “high church” ceremony, aptly named “Christ Church” (the name of the Anglican church I was raised in).

I’m pretty bummed that I can’t just wander the streets at night, especially alone. Mzungu (white people), especially with a purse or backpack, are common targets. I had been avoiding the Dala Dala (local busses, actually minivans) because they are very crowded and it is easy to be robbed on them. But Margareth and I were together, and I figured I’d be safe with her. They escorted me to the front seat, just the same, as I was the only Mzungu on the bus.

I am bummed that I’ll be missing Fontana and Sears Point AMA races, but hey, there are plenty of other distractions…

2 Responses to 'Culture shock?'

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey there!

    Just caught up with your blog. It’s all very cool and I love the transitions from Atlanta to Paris to Tanzania! Congratuations on the silk stockings…I think you showed me an ad for them. Fed Val yesterday and today and told him you were thinking of him. Have fun and continue to play it safe. -Carole

    • pinkyracer says:

      Re: Hey there!

      Thanks Carole! Yes, those are the stockings. I hope all’s well with you! Please don’t let the board sell off all the bicycles before I get home. I got Mark’s e-mail too. Otherwise, say hi to everyone for me!