A day in the life #6 (2009)

An early start for me was made earlier by a dog kicking up such a racket I was worried someone was trying to break into the guesthouse I was sleeping in.


I passed 30 minutes by watching an episode of Weeds.


The shower was basic but amazingly it had hot water. In my house I tend to wash using a bucket so this was a luxury, despite the lack of plaster.


My friend was sleeping in the next door room and was running late so to kill time I read some of the New Testament in Swahili. The Gideons get everywhere.


And here is Omari. He has appeared in at least one previous ADIML. He is the regional co-ordinator for the Tanzanian League for the Blind and he helps me find the people who need help.


I really liked Mpwapwa. Its a decent sized town and yet still feels like it is in the country. As I took this photo a beggar came up to me, she had old burns all down her arms and legs and what I could see of her neck and torso. She also pointed out a giant gaping wound on her ankle. It was disgusting. I’m a mean so and so though and didn’t give her anything.


I had to change money in the bank. It took ages and so I went outside to sneak in a photo. Some bandits had recently raided the town and so I had to be covert. Seconds after putting the camera away an armed policeman came up to me. I thought I was in trouble but he just wanted me to buy him some tea.


Then we went shopping. We hired a taxi for the morning which was a great help.


And here is the Mpwapwa branch of the Tanzanian League for the Blind. I had met the leaders the evening before and arranged for a dozen blind to gather in the morning.


These two helped me distribute some maize flour and beans amongst the blind.


I also had some white canes to give out.


And some talking watches. There is also a timecheck in there.


I don’t seem to be making many appearances in my own ADIMLs, so here I am.


At the end everyone gathered outside the office for a photo op.


And on to the next destination.


Fuzzy timecheck.


We went to one of the seconary schools which has a unit for the blind. There are around 50 blind students there, a third of whom went to the primary school I’m living at. I chatted to a few and gave out a sack of soap powder and then headed off to my next destination.


The guy in black in the front is John Kapingo.He lives in my village and we’ve been friends since my first visit in 1999. When I got here in October he had a really nasty cancerous wound growing on his head. I got a missionary doctor to get him a diagnosis and then sorted out the treatment. His family wanted to meet me to thank me and that was my main reason for visiting Mpwapwa.


Hello again.


Lunch. Coke gets everywhere on the planet.


We then went to catch the bus back to Buigiri. That’s our bus in the background.


It’s a bad photo due to the dirty window, but it gives you some idea of the semi-arid landscape in this part of Tanzania.


John on the bus with Omari behind. Fortunately we had seats for the return journey – I was standing on the way. It takes around 3 hours on dirt roads to get to Mpwapwa.


Back at my school. These two were playing ‘goalball’ which I guess is like softball. Not that I really know what softball is.


I look somewhat gormless here.


Erasto. He has had some nasty disease thing eating away at the skin on the top of his nose and on his upper lip. Almost every blind kid has some kind of non-eye issue like skin disease, dodgy organs or even AIDS, though generally those with AIDS die before reaching school age.


Stefano and Jose. I wear a talking watch and Stefano is totally blind yet his fingers always find their way to the buttons on my watch.


Nico. Ive never seen a child using a stick before out here as they know the layout of the school but Nico was using one on this day. Last week I ran a sweepstake for the Arsenal Vs Man Utd game and he won it and got a Coke and bar of choccie.


They like to see how many of my knuckles they can make click.


Although you cant see it from this picture, Laurent is holding a propellor that was spinning in the wind.


I then headed down to the shop and played a few games of pool. Each game is 200tshs (10p or 17c) but cos the rains have failed there is no spare money and I’m the only one who actually pays for the games.


I pass some of the local sighted children on the way home. This is Samson and he always grins.


I hear some music and look in on the choir rehersal.


I’m outside my house here. I had a mango which was about to go bad and I knew I wouldn’t eat it and it very quickly found a home.


Best outfit ever. Well, in Buigiri.


Nom nom.


Timecheck


I fire up my DVD player. That is Barracka on the right – he had his very own ADIML some time back.


And whilst the children watch the film, I cook. I had some left over bacon as two nights previously I had given someone a full english breakfast (followed by jelly and ice cream) as he wanted to taste English cuisine and that’s the easiest thing for me to cook on my single hob. And yeah, it’s disgustingly dirty, but it is a heck of a lot cleaner than when I arrived.


Can you name the film? The kids loved it.


After the film I sent one of the children to fetch me water. I pay them 200Tshs (10p, 17c) for a bucket which is good business for them as this guy’s dad probably earns triple that for a full day’s work. Does this count as child labour?


And now it is evening.


So I head back to the bar and meet Tech on the way.


My camera always gets plenty of attention.


The pool table slopes, seemingly in all directions, so we tried to correct it but without much success.


I head back for an earlyish night around 10pm


Tech


I’m a giant.


Final time check and bed.

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About Imo & Tom Feilding

I'm in my 30s and work for the University of Bristol, I regularly visit Buigiri Village slapbang in the centre of Tanzania in East Africa. It is a very poor semi-desert area. I spend much of my time and money helping individuals improve their situation and I write about it on here.
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