Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Habari gani

Hello and please forgive my delay in posting.  It has been incredibly busy and I find that by the end of the day it is all I can do to finish off some field notes and fall into bed.  Where to begin?  First of all, I am no longer a habari greeting--I have graduated to the status of sikamo--the greeting reserved for elders.  Rats.  I thought I still had a few youthful years left.  I am trying to receive such greetings gracefully, yet surrounded by so many university students who clearly are still worthy of a casual habari, it's a telling sin that I better get on with this research..time is not slowing down.

It has been an amazing couple of weeks (now in my 4th week here in Tanzania).  Watching the students settle into their program has been very interesting; as I am not in the position of leader, I am enjoying watching them struggle, celebrate, plan and enjoy everything about life in Mwanza.  There were some setbacks--typhoid, malaria and other parasitical maladies--but quick trips to the hospital put all on the road to recovery quickly.We took a 48 hour trip down to Ussongo to enjoy the beautiful countryside and some evening quiet (Mwanza needs to work on noise ordinances) and are now back to wrap-up this project.

The yoghurt kitchens and their place within the context of Mwanzan society is interesting--I am not really sure how to describe Mwanza except as a globalized city--it is not huge (I think under 1 million) yet it is positioned on the shore of Lake Victoria with visible global enterprises operating in fishing, mining & petroleum industries.  Two upscale hotels in town (Gold Crest & New Mwanza) cater to international business people.  My friend and I needed some different food (enough beans and rice!) so we went to New Mwanza last night--we were surrounded by Korean and Chinese businessmen. I really wish I knew what had brought them to Mwanza.  My mind returns to Darwin's Nightmare....

In the news, all the actors in East Africa seem to be progressing well save for Tanzania.  Perhaps conflict does pay.  Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and even Burundi are posting higher economic growth.  Corruption seems to be a theme in local news stories--and we know where that will eventually lead.  There are opposition municipal governments in several significant cities so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next national election.

I am off to meet with some of the gang.  We have quite a Western contingent here--a few from Ivey and of course, all the Global Health Promotions folks.

Take care all--thanks for reading.