Friday, June 29, 2012

06/29 - Museum and "muzungo" walking around town

This morning we had no official meetings.  A few of us decided to walk to the Museum here in Arusha and check it out.  One of the things I find amazing is that the museum here and in Dar as well both had significant exhibitions which they display with pride about this area being the place where modern humans originally evolved.  Yet if you talk to people (for example, our driver Deo in Dar) they will tell you they do not believe in evolution.  Strict creationist theory.  At any rate, one of the things that struck me about the museum (in a sad way) was the sheer number of typos and grammatical errors in the displays.  There were probably 50 school children running around the museum with notebooks copying things down off of the exhibits.  A couple of pictures of local people spearfishing were framed in big, nice frames with captions that read things like "Villagers with cath of the day"  This is just an observation from an outsider looking in, but it would seem that these would be easy things to fix.  The people here take such pride in the history.  They know their own dates and events surrounding their independence probably better than most Americans do.

This was the first day we have really done any significant walking (probably around 6 or 8 km total) rather than being driven.  I overheard us being called "muzungo" twice (term for white people in many parts of Africa).  One of the two times was from a baby who could not have been 2 years old strapped on his moms back as they passed us walking up the street.  The other was an older lady sitting on the side of the street selling her wares.  She clearly looked embarrassed when one of our group members turned around after hearing the term and she realized we knew what she was saying (thanks to our cultural training in Dar and our translator).

We also revisited the market today.  I did not buy anything but it is amazing how observant these people are.  One of the guys said "Hello my friend! I saw you at Via last night."  It was not until after I left the market that I realized my faded handstamp from the club was still visible, and I'm quite certain that this man wasn't there.  All the same, he saw the stamp and saw an opportunity to connect.  (I still didn't purchase anything from him).  They do not miss much.  If your eyes even linger on one of their items for more than a second, they will block you into the small booth and begin to haggle with you for a "fair price."

We are going to Moshi tomorrow.  Hopefully the weather will be nice and we will get some views of Kilimanjaro.  We decided against the bus because it was not going to be much cheaper than taking a van and at least with the van, we will have our driver to take us places once we get there.  (I also hopefully will not be sharing a bench in the bus with a chicken).  I am about to get some rest :-)  Pictures to come tomorrow.

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