In Tanzania once again
Friday, February 24, 2012
Where do I begin? I have so much to write, I do not know where to begin…
This place has a hold on me. I don’t know what it is, but I find myself here again, ready to face the challenges that come with this country. It has been a difficult couple of weeks. There have been some great successes and great disappointments.
My first 36 hours here were difficult. I was robbed, yes, tricked by some crazy street boys. It was the first day I took our car out for a drive, I was on my way to visit some of our vendors when the incident took place. Somewhere between the Clock Tower and Shoprite. Someone tells you that there is a problem with your car, they call their accomplices to start the chain…someone else told me there was a problem with my car, and then another and another. By the time I reached McMoody’s 10 people told me so I pulled over. One person came to the passenger side to tell me the problem was with my exhaust, then someone came to the drivers side. I turned my head and the street boy on the passenger side grabbed my bag. I didn’t even realize it right away. It was when I reached Mt. Meru post office that I realized I was the victim of theft. That is where I had a nervous breakdown. Right there in the middle of Arusha, I was screaming, crying and could feel my entire body shaking. I wanted to die.
In all reality…I was in great despair. In that bag was all of the organizations money, my credit cards, passport, work visa and both my Massachusetts Drivers License and my international drivers license. I was full of anger…mad at myself for being so stupid.
Let’s face it, this is not my first time here…I should have known better.
Good Samaritans, some Tanzanian some tourists came to calm me down and then I had to go back to the Arusha police station. I am not fond of this place…yet, it seems every time I come to Tanzania I have to visit. Why me?
My husband sent me some money via western union and my daughter stopped all of the credit cards. I was so grateful for their help. I was really stranded. I had nothing.
At first the police were hopeful that my personal items would be recovered…however four days later nothing was found. I had to go to Dar and visit with the US Embassy. This was not my plan…I was suppose to be in Kenya!!! Tanzanian immigration told me I can’t leave the country until I get a valid passport and I can’t stay here without the proper documents.
There I was flying to Dar es Salaam on Monday evening since it was Presidents day and the US embassy was closed in honor of the USA holiday. It was a great four hours at JRO airport, I met so many wonderful people and sold 30 of our Christmas ornaments while waiting for my flight. I told everyone my story about being robbed, helping artists etc..the ornaments were selling like hot cakes.
I met some really nice folks, two men from Zambia who work in Shoprite shared a taxi to the Missionary Sisters who hosted me for the evening. I was very grateful. Many wanted to prove to me that not all people in Tanzania were unscrupulous.
I had a wonderful visit with the Missionary sisters. It warmed my heart.
Getting a new passport entailed visiting the US Embassy for ten minutes, filling out a form, stating an oath that I am indeed a US citizen and paying a $135 fee. It took a total of 10 minutes, now the waiting game begins, my passport will arrive in another 7-10 business days. It will be sent DHL to Arusha so no need to spend more time in Dar. I spent the next day in Dar visiting in Tandale with Akeza and Ingrid at the other sisters house. It was so nice to spend time with people who really care. The next day I was to visit Deepak at the Duty Free shop at the Dar International Airport.
Dotto and Neemah visited with me while I was in Tandale. They are going to spread the ornaments amongst their colleagues and associates in Dar. Another affirmation that not all Tanzanians are corrupt.
Being here in Tanzania is not easy, it is hard for me. I miss the comforts of home, I miss my family but am humbled by those I know their kindness.