Thursday, 16 June 2011

Dar-es-Salaam

So last night we landed in Dar and we're all super tired, jet-lagged and hot as hell. It was 9pm here, and apparently the winter, but the temp was 72. We debated whether we'd really chosen the right PC location. JK :)
So we had our quick intro to the staff, took our first dose of malaria proflyaxis (spelling?) and were told what to expect in our rooms. Still, we probably weren't prepared enought for the tap water we couldn't drink (I washed my face with bottled water...yeah), the lime encrusted shower head, and the toilet with a button that says "Stop" and "Flush" on opposite ends. So, welcome to Tanzania!
It didn't actually feel like we were in Africa until the morning though, when I woke up to (not my watch alarm clock...which apparentally isn't not loud enough to wake me up) the sound of the birds and the sun. I rushed out the door to our breakfast at 7:30 only to be greeted by a TON of fried corn and rice concoctions (so the rumors are true...hmmm...oh no). I tried some of the chapati (fried dough that looks like a super dense pancake...and kinda tastes like one too) with marmalade, some gross muffin-looking but actually drenched in oil thing that I tried and that was the end of that, and bananas and apples. Apparentally there are a lot of bananas here. Who would've guessed.
After lunch we shuffled to the conference room (really just a big open long class-room looking room) where we got told what to expect and what was expected of us. Andrea is our country director and so far she seems great and upfront. It's amazing the lack of BS you have to deal with when you leave behind a minimum wage job. I forgot the real world was decently grown up. :)
Then, to business! We got told about the rest of our vaccinations, our medical interviews, our bank accounts that we were to open that day, how to get a phone, how to spend money, when we'd meet our host family, about being sworn in (as official PC volunteers..Andrea said that not everyone makes it...) and how much Tanzanians are going to laugh at our butched Kiswahili.
So, most of today was spent dealing with those logistics. Also, I learned that "I love you" means "Nimekuzimia", so I'll be using that a lot now :) Yay!
Oh, and I also had my first adventure outside the compound when I realized I didn't bring enough toothpaste and one of the PCV's here (we are techinically PCT's ... Peace Corps Trainees) had to take me to a little store (if you can even call it that) outside the wall and help me buy some. The brand they sold was called "White Dent" and looked pretty classy :) And it was approved by the TZS...whomever that is.
(Okay, i'm going to post this now b/c the power goes out and I don't want to lose all my work) I'll continue the rest in a minute.

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