Friday, July 3, 2009
Yes, we have indoor plumbing and no, we don't live in a mud hut
I don't know about Roger, but I have not been diligent about correspondence since I have been here and there are many outstanding questions you all have. But to my credit, we don't have a fast internet connection (but we pay as if we do!!) and I'm trying to juggle the many balls in the air at the moment. Not to name any names [Millie] but some of us require a lot of attention [Roger].
So I thought I would put my masters degree to good use and use economies of scale to update you all through the blog rather than through multiple emails. A bit impersonal, yes, but for the general stuff it will have to suffice, so let's get underway:
Weather - as Arusha is situated in the southern hemisphere, it is now winter time here. Our close proximity to the equator combined with the 4400ft elevation makes for very pleasant weather. The day begins cloudy and about 55 degrees F. The sun comes out around 11am and the day heats up to around 70 degrees. The rainy season just ended so it is fairly dry but still lush and slightly dusty in town.
Our house - Roger found us a great house in the Njiro neighborhood of Arusha. It is east of town and about a 5 min drive to the center of town when there is no traffic - which is never - so it's more like 15 - 20 min. We live in a duplex - we occupy the bottom floor - of a 3 br, 2.5 ba house. It's quite spacious and modestly furnished (but what's here is nice). There is a small garden which is maintained by a gardner named Mseferi. We have security guards provided by the UN and a housekeeper named Christina. The power goes out every third day for a few hours - part of a rolling blackout by the country - and we're trying to procure a generator from the UN. Millie has her own room but the only furniture in it is her pack and play and some toys. We (and our backs) hope to find a crib and changing table soon. We have hot water, but that's another blog post.
Transport - we don't have a car, but we're looking to get one. It's common to lease cars here and so we're trying to find a 4x4 to lease. There are lots of Range Rovers and Land Cruisers for sale (used) but $15,000 cash we do not have! In the meantime, we're using cabs and a very reliable and helpful driver, Rashid. There are a few paved roads in town, but many of the side streets are not paved, thus warranting the 4x4. Even the street to our house is unpaved! Plus, if we leave town and go on safari a 4x4 will come in handy.
Food - we are working on figuring out our meal planning but for the most part we're eating foods familiar to us in the States, such as grains, beans, pasta, veggies, fruit and some meat. As I have mentioned before, Arusha could really use a Super Target! There is a good grocery store called Shop Rite where we can find most everything we need. Of course, we pay a bit more for the convenience, but for many things it's worth it. The produce is best from the Central Market but that place is a total cluster and we just send Christina in to get what we need and we avoid it altogether. Our meat we get from a butcher shop called Meat King, which is owned by Danish people. Come to think of it, food should be a blog post of it's own.
Day-to-day - Roger is really the only one that has any routine to his day at this point. A UN shuttle picks him up around 7:45am and he is at work until 5 or 6pm. Becky, Millie and Melba start each day with a blank slate for the most part and any schedule we follow is dictated by our commander-in-chief Ms. Millie. Since we're still setting the house up, Becky frequently runs errands to town either by herself (driven by Rashid) or accompanied by Christina. Now that we've been here a week, we're trying to get Millie on a good sleep schedule in an effort to make all our lives more predictable.
Language - English is not as widely spoken as we anticipated thus behooving us to learn Swahili. Roger took classes for two weeks at the UN, but those classes are over and Becky is going to start taking private lessons (with her friend Katie) with Roger's teacher. Christina and Rashid speak English pretty well so they have been helpful in teaching us some words to get by (and no, the words don't involve clicking sounds!).
Still with us?? We will tell you more later!
Posted by Rebecca at 3:31 PM