Monday, November 1, 2010

Dust: A Rant

Today is the first day of November.  This is significant because everyone in Tanzania tells me that November is when the rains begin.  Alright then, rain.

We did not wake to a torrential downpour.  No, we woke to another sunny day that is obscured by only the 100 trillion particulates in the air known as dust.  Ugh, the dust!!!  Why does it have to be so bad?  Why can't it stay in its behind-the-sofas and on-top-of-unread-books home?  Why does it have to reside in my throat, on every flat surface, under the fingernails, upon the computer keyboard and all over the resident toddler in the house?  Oh, right, because hardly any of the roads are paved!

A short cut around traffic.  Picture not even taken through the car window.
Not to paint you a primitive picture of where we live.  Far from it, in fact.  We have the "World Wide Web," wi-fi no less, and even laminate flooring in our house!  There is even, wait for it, a washing machine!

But just beyond the doors of this technology mecca is a dirt road.  Actually, many dirt roads.  I would say about 70 percent of the roads in Arusha are paved.  Not bad considering just 10 years ago that number was probably more like 20 percent.  But those roads are mostly in the commercial areas.  All residential areas and "short cuts" have graded but unpaved roads.  Which as you can imagine generates a lot of dust in a place that hasn’t seen rain in about 6 months.  A less conceited person might wonder "Oh no, what about the crops?  Isn't agriculture the major industry in Tanzania?"  Yeahyeahyeah.... what about our nasal passages, people!  Dust + 20 month old petri dish = lots of colds! 

You're probably thinking this situation warrants some kind of humanitarian intervention that should be addressed by a little spare change from Mr. Gates?  Well, that would be nice.  But we'll settle for you joining us for this little glass of whine and maybe a prayer or two for some rain before bed.  In fact, if you need a reason beyond this self-centered moan, a good downpour would help disperse the masses who are gathering in town to celebrate/contest the pending election results from yesterday.

More perspective on The Dust from our good friends here, 66% of whom have already gone back to 'Merica.


  1. That dust looks like an utter menace! I think I'd go dang near crazy--ugh! Sending rain vibes your way!

  2. If it makes you feel any better I very nearly froze getting into bed last night. After a week away with the thermostats at 55 degrees and the latest cold snap (it's been around 40 degrees these past mornings) my 'rents house F-REEZING! I'll do a rain dance (in an effort to warm up) before bed tonight.

  3. The afternoon thunder taunts of rain are killing me. I see it and smell it in the distance somewhere, but it never seems to make it here. Ugh!

  4. But then when it rains how do you deal with all the MUD?