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

Naenda; Narudi; Nakosa amani

I get on the coaster around 8 A.M.; we leave Njombe city limits around 8.45. A coaster isn’t the quickest way to travel, stopping as they do at every middle-of-nowhere bus stand to pick up and drop off passengers, but I’m in no hurry. I love this drive.

To my left are the Kibena tea fields, regimented rectangles of the greenest green I’ve seen, the color of the young wheat back in Makete, practically glowing with life. On the right, the forests of a lumber company, rows of trees ruler-straight. As we drive by I catch flipbook glimpses of the landscape beyond. The flipbook shows me a silver cyclops sun staring out over rolling green hills and a grey sky, both stretching as far as the eye can see.

On the way from Dar to Iringa, I can barely keep my eyes open. My bus seat is too small (five people across instead of the expected four) and I doze discontentedly, head resting on the back of the seat in front of me, wishing it wasn’t so hot. I like to break the trip up into two nine-hour days when I can, Dar-Iringa and then Iringa-Makete, instead of doing the twelve- or thirteen-hour ride to Njombe all in one day.

The road between Njombe and Makete isn’t bad now that the rains have stopped and the huge pot-holes that the mud caused have been smoothed away. The bus’s brakes squeal like a scared baby pig whenever the driver uses them, air escaping somewhere. I try to ignore the noise and focus on the view out the window. Everyone near the road stops what they’re doing to look–half watch the bus; half watch me.

I get home, exhausted. Four of the past five days have been spent traveling nine hours, to get to Dar so I could fix my glasses and resolve the headaches I’ve been having (turns out my left eye improved, including ditching its astigmatism, and that was the problem). With a new lens in my glasses I walk in my kitchen door, greet the cats who are clamoring for attention, and start to unpack. I pull out my Kindle, which I’d packed in the backpack because I thought it would be safer there, and turn it on to check my e-mail.

The top inch of the screen is blank. I refresh it; it stays blank. In my head I run the gamut of English swear words but conclude that they won’t improve the situation at all. I wish I could curse in Swahili–that might help.

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