Monday, March 8, 2010

Mambo sawa sawa

Everything is alright. Since we last wrote, we’ve been getting very comfortable in Karagwe. We’re becoming accustomed to the pace of life here; we like the forty minute walk into town along the red clay road, we love the hikes through the hills. We don’t admit it before we’re drinking coffee, but even the practice of building a fire to boil water in the morning has it’s charms (enhanced by the fact that we only need to do this by ourselves once a week). We’re very actively appreciating the sun, the calm, and the monkeys.

Yes, monkeys!

We don’t see them often, but to our delight we have spotted a few playing around in fields and in trees while on our ventures through the cultivated terrain surrounding Mavuno. They seem particularly fond of eucalyptus (which is understandable; it smells fantastic). This monkey, however, was not photographed by us. If you look closely, you’ll notice a rope tied around the little guy. Amizade’s site coordinator, Stephanie, captured this image while the monkey was being held in captivity. It turns out that with their highly effective brains and fingers, these fellas are troubling pests who excel at thievery. Locals will capture the monkeys and kill them to prevent the destruction of their crops and disappearance of their belongings. This particular monkey got lucky and was purchased by someone who eventually released him.

Monkeys are not the only charismatic pests in Africa. We are really fond of our geckos; few-inch long ubiquitous lizards that roam our walls and munch on mosquitos. Geckos > spiders. That’s all there it to it. (Not that there aren’t any spiders... we’ve got plenty. A tarantula even showed up in our bedroom last weekend.)

On the other, absolutely-not-enchanting end of the pest spectrum are bed bugs. We’ll spare you the details, but do want to share our at-least-somewhat effective solar bedbug reduction technique, pictured here:

What else have we been up to? We’ve continued to assess water containment tanks and create tip taps . Here’s a Graham action shot:

Later today, in honor of International Women’s Day, we’ll post an update on what we’ve been learning and doing related to women and water in Tanzania.

One of us had a birthday since our last post, which was celebrated with all due pomp and circumstance, including a surprise dance with the district commissioner (!). A fire-baked cake, gifts including a package of markers and can of diet coke, and a rare red wine treat were greatly appreciated. The day was rounded out with a gorgeous walk in the hills where we met up with our neighbor Manase and some of his friends.

They really enjoyed playing with our camera, and we really enjoyed watching them play with our camera. They captured lots of fun images, including this one:

And, Dad-in-Iowa, this gratuitous shot of the hills is just for you:


  1. The immediate results of my bedbug-googling lead me to think you guys are probably out of luck unless there's another mattress to be found. If I send you a large hammock, will you have somewhere to tie it?

    Pictures are awesome. Love you guys so much!

  2. I am really appreciating your posts...I check often, and am excited to see/read new posts. To know the two of you are there, seeing and experiencing what I have only read and heard about is just....crazy, really.

    The tarantula in the bedroom...the two of you are brave, brave souls:) I shall not visit.