Sunday, January 5, 2020

Day 3: Our first day in Iringa

Mambo rakifis! We started off our first day in Iringa strong (and very tired) with several people unable to sleep. Harrison, the best chef ever, started us off with a great breakfast, followed by Ken taking us on a brisk morning jog around the town.

He spun a brilliant tale about the infamous Iringa basket lady. Seen approximately once a blue moon, this woman was a figure of myth; with such fantastical tales we were left concerned for our ability to meet her. Meandering past the Market Square and the Maasai market, we discussed the nuances of bartering and occasionally doing the mzungu scuttle across the road; to be clear, it is right-left-right, not left-right-left.

After our adventure, we moved into our first Swahili lessons. While some overachieved and actually practiced before Tanzania, others (Paul) struggled. Don’t worry, the instructor struggled as well. With Will, Vail, and Jake all seated in a row, he struggled to keep them straight. Their old identities eradicated, Will and Jake became Mil and Vail and Jake became Mike. In the end, we all excelled and could competently introduce ourselves 30 percent of the time.

After Swahili lessons, we left for lunch. We split into different groups. Group one went to a poa (cool) place for lunch where Paul promptly called us all children. Another group made their way to The Clock Tower restaurant which was replete with food from across the globe. Unable to understand what each option was, everyone in the group settled on Beef Pilau. It was delicious and honestly we still aren’t quite sure what exactly we ate.

After lunch we prepared for our second lecture of the trip. It started pouring rain on our way to lecture, but only rained for 20 minutes. Those of us that opted for no rain jacket started class soaked, but at least not hot! Class served as an introduction on how to define the water distribution problems in each village. Starting from scratch is difficult, so learning how to tackle the problem was valuable; we also got fresh banana bread which definitely helped our focus.

After lecture, we were unleashed to explore Iringa. With the low pressure in the Maasai market, we purchased a full museum worth of art. Janelle earned herself person of the day when she negotiated herself deals upon deals. With her haul in hand, we continued our venture to find fabric that could be used to make our custom outfits tomorrow. We had very little success finding fabric, but don’t worry, we still seized many opportunities to take touristy pictures around the market.

On our journey back to the Lutheran Center, the infamous basket lady managed to intercept us. After politely explaining we had all spent more than our fair share on souvenirs for the day, she continued to sell us her baskets chasing us wantonly down the street. She was indeed as mythical as we were lead to believe.

While we had our fun in the market, our trusty instructors made sure to pre-order a delicious dinner at Saivilla. We had a delicious meal of samosas, curry, rice, naan, pizza, and ice cream (don’t worry parents, we aren’t going hungry). We made sure to update the day’s bug-kill count. Vail is in the lead with 11 points, Jake is close behind with eight, Rayna and Sam M. have a measly one point each, and everyone else with the exception of Janelle has a solid score of zero. Janelle made sure to save a bug (or beetle maybe?) earning herself a bug-kill score of -0.5. The beetle did perish later as it was flicked into a spider web. That’s all folks!

Correction from Day 1: A shoutout to Will must be given as he was day one’s person of the day.

Peter D.