The views expressed herein are mine and not those of the Peace Corps.



Useful Acronyms

PC Peace Corps
ICT Information & Communications Technology
PCT Peace Corps Trainee (pre-swearing-in)
PCV Peace Corps Volunteer (post-swearing-in)
PST Pre-Service Training
CBT Community-Based Training


It’s the season of clear blue skies. In the mornings there are often clouds in the valleys, sometimes clouds in the sky, but they former are gone by a few hours after sunrise, the latter by noon. In the afternoons the sun shines cold and bright and clear.

It’s the season of no rain. The soil that was mud a few months ago dries up, floats away. The roads are thick with dust. Walking, everyone is upwind of the road so they’re not covered when a car or bike goes by. Everything has layers of tan over it. It gets in through cracks in the windows, under the doors. It gets into my socks when I’m wearing shoes. I sweep every day and every day it’s dirty. And, just recently, it’s started to be the season of wind as well, which combines horribly with the dust to make an often-intolerable environment on the roads and anywhere where there are dirt paths where people walk.

It’s the season of passable roads. Dust is better than mud as far as cars are concerned, and the Chinese are building a decent road so they can exploit the natural resources out here as efficiently as possible. Cars speed down the main road through town, leaving roostertails of dust behind.

It’s the season of cutting down the trees. It happens all year, of course, but surely it makes more sense to do it when it’s easy to get the lumber out and to market, when it won’t be ruined by the rain. On my walk to Bulongwa last week I saw, with regret, that my favorite place near town had been destroyed: there was a beautiful lush green lawn with tall pines around it, but the pines are cut and the lawn littered with the pieces that nobody wanted.

Last, and least important generally, it’s the season of sugar cane. Huge tangles of it clutter one of the areas of the market every few days, waiting to be put into storage; people walk with it, using it like walking sticks (it’s maybe 1″ in diameter and looks like bamboo). They chew it constantly, and white chewed-out mouthfuls are strewn on the ground. It’s frankly amazing to me that any Tanzanians have teeth, given the sugarcane and the way they take their chai (as much sugar as possible) and their love of candy. Oddly, when we Americans share sweet baked goods, as often as not they eat them politely but without enthusiasm. Mystery!

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