A day in the life #8 (2010)

Time check to start the day

I borrow an ember from next door to kickstart my charcoal so I can boil some water.

Last adiml featured a tattoo artist, this adiml has a graffiti artist. Does that look like me?

Im a bit skanky and only have one pair of shorts here, so when it is a trouser day then I give them a wash. I was ashamed by the colour of the water when I’d finished.

I get a cab to my destination – the adult blind rehabilitation centre. Its a collection of 11 houses inhabited by 9 families, each with at least one blind adult.

I meet these two gents there, they are local community leaders and dont live in the centre.

We join up with a couple of other blind and head to church. Today is the baptism of baby Imogen. She was born during my last trip here and as a sign of thanks she was named after my sister.

And here is the church. I was tempted to move the plank to see if the church would collapse.

Its hardly the biggest of places. I always sit at the back for things like this but people always try and force me to the front – a woman was insistent I sit in the proper chair at the front, facing the congregation as a guest of honour but I refused. 3 hours of people staring at me is too much – I get stared at enough as it is.

The guy on the left is playing a marimba (a finger piano) and the guy in the middle is on the ze-ze (a guitar type thing). Music is important to the local Wagogo tribe, but more of that later.

The baptism. Imogen is up first and you can hear her name a few times. The father is Jared in blue on the right and the mother has the scary eyes on the left.

Im featuring more in this ADIML that in any others I’ve done from here. It comes from finally teaching people how to take half decent pics – although the occasional finger still strays into shot.

I check how the cooking is going.

The locals are gathering. I had intended to arrange a party at the centre cos times are always so tough there that it is good for the spirit to sometimes just have fun. It all fitted in perfectly combining it with the baptism.

A local Ngoma band is here to entertain us. They were fantastic and highly entertaining. The things on their shoulders are made from monkey fur.

Chow time. There was barely enough food – you’d think Africans only eat a little – but it is a little known fact that their entire torsos are made of elastic and can contort to accomodate huge quantites when required.

This time there was no escaping being on the top table. Id only eaten a third of my food by the time everyone had finished. God knows how they do it.

Now we had more music outside. This was some weird shakey hand song.

Which I did not manage to escape from.

Afternoon time check

This shows how many hungry mouths got fed. During my last trip I supplied the cooking and eating utensils to one of the centre’s families so he could rent them out as a micro-business. It is progressing well and the plus side meant we got free use of them today.

One of the blind.

I went for a meeting with John who lives in the centre. My time here is nearly up so we are tying up loose ends.

I go back and listen to more singing, but find time for a photo op.

I get a ride back in this thing – it looks like a car but in fact is a trike with a funky body shell.

As always there are kids playing at my house. I show one of them the wonders of the iPhone.

We then watch a slideshow of photos of themselves which I took during previous visits. That is Tech who is cringing in the middle – he has featured in a couple of adimls in the past – he has just seen a bad photo of him.

I get a visit from this woman and her daughter. The daughter is deaf and attends a free primary boarding school for the deaf a couple of hours away. Although it is free, her mother has to pay for the transport to the school, as well as things like soap, uniforms and so on and as such she hasn’t attended yet this year. I have a constant stream of such cases visiting my house each day after help. I have a small pot of money I raised before coming here which gets put to use for things like this, though I have to turn half the people away for one reason or another. Its sad to think someone’s future hinges on just a few dollars though.

Two of the boys who come to my house need a haircut – its not as if their hair is long, but they go to a strict school where everyone must be shaved. Again it is sad to think someone can miss out on an education cos they can’t afford a razor or the $0.40 it costs to get a haircut.


And now food time again – chip omelette is about the only thing you can get eating-out in the village. It is pretty good with chilli sauce.

I join some of the teachers at the nearby bar. I do alot of work with the guy on the left as he is the regional representative for teachers with disabilities and the guy on the right is the regional co-ordinator for the Tanzanian League for the Blind. They are very good guys and there arent enough like them out here.

Evening time check

I head back with Mr Omary as we live fairly close together.

And final timecheck before bed. Im not usually up this late, but it was a day of partying.


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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