Thought Bubble: Susan Reed's Blog

More Tanzania

Part 4

We have the morning off. It’s nice to catch up on sleep and tidy up the house. Breakfast is toast, yogurt, and tea. Maria, our hostess, drives us over to the Shanga. It’s a community for handicapped Tanzanians. They recycle glass and turn it into jewelry beads, mosaics, vases, and glassware. There is also a workshop for weaving and sewing. Most of the workers are deaf, mute, blind, and some are crippled. All are friendly and kind. After touring the workshops we go a bit wild in the gift shop. The girls get beaded sandals, I get some handbags and a necklace.

The afternoon brings more violin master classes. Our friend, Cate Howard, is here teaching for the year and her students are doing great. What a treat for all. They have a Bach Double project underway that we’ll get to collaborate with this coming Friday.

Did I mention the electricity goes off at least once a day? It’s more like four times a day… which brings us to books. Kate is reading The Golden Compass, Allie is reading, Unwind.

Part 5

Today is our day off. We head into the markets of Arusha with Mr. Hamseh. We drive through a bustling morning city- carts on the roads loaded with wood, machine parts, and building supplies. One man walks with an entire rusty muffler system over his shoulder. We see women with baskets on their heads filled with laundry, yams, onions, and bananas. Everyone is colorfully dressed, everyone busy and walking with purpose. The main road through town is paved. All side roads are dirt and have big ditches to one side for the rainy season.

Mr. Hamseh accompanies us to the markets. He is very patient as we look through stall after stall of African crafts. Kate is a ruthless negotiator. She scores big at the markets with jewelry and a belt. Allie has a lighter touch. She came out of a stall laughing saying she found herself bargaining for a carved elephant she didn’t even want! The natives are very convincing. Our next stop was the Cultural Heritage Center, multiple buildings filled with African art and also more shopping. Here the prices were fixed so the girls quickly sorted out their market tallies to find they did well. The art building was beautiful. Floors and floors of paintings, sculptures, and masks, both historic and modern.

At night we head into town with Cate to hear our drumming teacher, David, play at the Arusha Hotel. He also plays guitar and will be accompanying a visiting drummer and singer from Italy. They are hot! Just as we arrive they are playing Pata,Pata, a tune that we play too. People are dancing and meeting up for drinks. Kate and Allie can’t believe they are out clubbing with “old people.” Is that me they’re talking about?

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