8/4/11 * Sorry about posting these all at once, I have been keeping up with writing, but am only able to post these now*
After MANY days of traveling, we have finally arrived in Chipole. If I could describe Africa in one word so far I would have to say that it is stimulating. It has heightened every emotion as well as awakened each of my senses to a whole new level. But then, I suppose this is a common experience among those entering a drastically different culture. And Africa is just that: drastically different from the moment we landed. Different than I imagined, different than I have heard it described, and full of experiences I have never had before.
Visually it is overwhelming. Beautiful, heartbreaking, colorful, and intense. In a short blog post, I don’t think I could do justice to describing what I have seen thus far. Instead, I’d like to focus what I heard. A few sounds to help illustrate the day and two nights we spent in Dar, as well as the bus ride to Chipole.
6:30 AM: African sisters singing, heart and soul. Best alarm clock ever.
11:30 AM: Bell calling us to lunch. Ugali, cooked spinach, rice, beans and bananas.
2:00 PM: Car horns. They are absolutely constant while taking a cab around town to run errands. If there are any kind of traffic laws, I can’t figure out what they are.
7:30 PM: Swahili television. There is only one in Dar es Salaam that they all gather around at night to watch before going to bed. It is right outside our bedroom. Not exactly a lullaby.
4:30 AM: A small Tanzanian sister, about a foot shorter than me knocking at our door. It is S. Zita, who will be escorting us to Chipole waking us up to go catch our bus.
6:00 AM: Swahili radio. It blares from the bus speakers. I am exhausted and for the next few hours, the only sound I hear is coming from my ipod. A necessary dose of normalcy.
9:00 AM: Words in Swahili I don’t know. It is the bus driver. Everyone piles of the bus and squats in the bushes. I can’t remember what he said anymore but it must have been Swahili for ‘bathroom break.’
3:00 PM: People banging on the side of our bus. It is a snack break. The bus doesn’t stop, but loops through a town where venders chase the bus selling food through the windows as we are moving.
9:30 PM: Karibu! Karibu sana! In Swahili, this means welcome. We have arrived in Chipole. It is late, and has been dark for hours but many of the sisters are up to greet us staying true to their Benedictine and African ways of hospitality.
8:00 AM: The sisters of Chipole singing a welcome song to us in perfect harmony. By far one the best sounds I have ever heard.