This week I visited a language area I have never been to before. It was one of the most unpleasant journies I have been on, on account of the dust. The place itself was hot and dry, with lots of mosquitoes. If it wasn’t so hazy, you would be able to see Lake Rukwa spread out in the plain below, as it was, you could just see the edges of it and the sun glinting off the water through the dusty haze.
Amusing moments on this trip included seeing my Tanzanian colleagues looking as if they had turned old after the journey as a result of the dust in their hair turning it grey! We had a good laugh together about that. The dust didn’t show up on me, but it was definitely there, I could feel and smell it.
Discouraging moments included feeling unable understand conversational Swahili or to communicate my thoughts clearly. (I’m not sure how much of that was due to my lack of vocabulary, tiredness or my mind just being elsewhere!)
Best moments included walking out at sunset and seeing the red sun dropping down and going out at night and being able to see the milky way…my highlights are often connected to God’s awesome creation!
Fun moments included trying some new food, called sharif. It was like a giant samosa, fried in another layer of batter, and with an egg in the centre! It was so filling, it kept me going from breakfast (yes, I had it for breakfast!!) until 4pm, with only a soda in between.
Unpleasant moments included lying in bed and hearing the mosquitoes buzzing all around (though fortunately I was well protected under the mosquito net).
Tiring moments…well, it can’t really be called a ‘moment’ because it was constant – using Swahili all the time – that’s tiring. Most of my trips I make with English friends, but this time there was no chance for me to use my Mother Tongue with a fellow mother-tongue speaker (though my Tanzanian colleagues speak very good English, so I could revert to it if I really needed to).