Scratchings in the Dirt

To market, to market…

…to buy a kanga!  Kangas are the pieces of cloth that African women use for absolutely everything – for clothing, for wrapping and carrying babies, for sheets, for balancing pails of water on their heads – you name it, they do it.  And so when we went to the outdoor market, I was not surprised to see many, many kangas for sale.  And lots of other stuff, too.  Shoes (made from old tires!), cattle, pots and pans, chickens, jewellery, dried fish, clothes (sewn on old treadle machines right out in the open) and the list goes on.  It made for some pretty colorful photos.

One of our group, Cheryl, bought some shoes for our driver, Adriano’s, children.  Here’s Adriano showing Father Joachim the shoes.  He was so grateful.  Father Joachim came along as our intrepretor and “haggler”.  It is the custom in Tanzania to barter, and we Westerners are really not that good at it!  Besides which, we had no idea of the value of some of the things there.

Here are some of the colorful kangas.  Look closely…

…and you”ll see the one that got away!!!

Arlene, another one of our group, had been to Ussongo last year and helped out in the medical center.  She helped deliver baby Julie, and she invited us along to meet the family one year later.  

With Arlene is Sister Happiness (yes, that’s her real name!) who was also there when Julie was born.   Here are Julie’s parents.

The family live on a farm some distance from Ussongo.  It was hard to tell exactly how far, since we left the so-called road and drove through fields to get there.  It was reminiscent of a drive with Grandpa Schan.  They have a small, three-room brick house (“sitting room” with two chairs, which they brought outside for us, a small bedroom, and a storage room.  This is Julie’s mother in their home.  

The cook house sits perpendicular to the home, connected by a fence.  It was pitch dark in there, with a small fire going, and another small storage room.  They have no electricity and no running water.  There were chickens and very skinny dogs hanging around the yard, and children herding cattle just beyond the yard.  

They had quite a nice garden, with corn (maize), cassava, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.  

Relatives and friends appeared out of nowhere to see the white strangers! 

All in all it was a very informative afternoon.  The grandmother presented Arlene with a gift of two live chickens, which she had the children chase down and then bound their legs with strips of a rag.  We also received a bag of rice, some eggs, and some tomatoes.   Tanzanians are a very generous and hospitable people, and I was constantly amazed at their willingness to give from the little they own.  We could take a lesson!

Thanks for checking in yet again!


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