Monday, October 26, 2009

Photo Edition: Rainy Weekend

So Dar has been going through a drought, which means electricity is on the blink. Let me explain... Since Tanzania relies on hydroelectric power, no rain means no water and no water means no electricity. To avoid things becoming dire, Tanesco, the power company, has stepped in and set up a system of power rations to stretch the remaining water until the heavy rains show up. They divide the city into sections which takes turns being without power. For us that means as long as the dry weather continues we will have a lot of days without power and since indoor plumbing relies on water being pumped (by an electric pump) into the pipes from a huge tank, no power can mean no running water. The family I live with is used to this situation so we have tons of back up water stored in tanks and containers in an around the house. But as a spoiled American for whom lack of power and running water are extremely rare, these things can be maddening. My office usually runs on a generator so that we can still get things down with electricity but they are really expensive and they run on gasoline which means the produce lots of disgusting fumes and I read somewhere that gas cost something like $5/gallon here so most homes don't have one b/c its too expensive. We certainly don't have one.

Anyway, it seems like we might be looking at an end to the drought because on Saturday it rained and rained like crazy.

I had a 9 o'clock appointment that I was on my way to when it started raining. Ok, more like I was being stood up for my 9 o'clock appointment when it started raining. Needless to say, I was not happy. I had to wake up early after clubbing until 4 a.m. to travel through a typhoon only to be stood up! (The day only got worse as I paid a lot of money for disgusting food, lost my umbrella, had to pay a ridiculous price to get another one, got hit on by several creepy guys, and got begged for money by a street kid who has out-of-his-mind-high on God knows what, all within the same 6 hour period). My housemates and I had plans to head into town to do some shopping but when we saw that the torrential downpour wasn't going to let up we decided to head back home instead. We changed into dry clothes and spent the evening huddled in their room talking, reading, and listening to music (read: Tegan and Sara. I've got HanneSophie hooked). On Sunday they left for Zanzibar (where I will hopefully be joining them next weekend) and I spent the day preparing for Monday and hanging out with Sia. Being trapped inside for most of the weekend bored me out of my mind so I grabbed a camera and started snapping pics of anything that looked interesting. These pics should help you guys get a feel for what my house is like. Enjoy ;)

(The crazy multi-country adapter thingy my housemates use to plug their Norwegian appliances into the Tanzanian outlets).

The view from my back window during one of the rare breaks in the rain.

front window

stairs (pretty self-explanatory, huh?)

the dryer. lol.

upstairs hallway.

corner of the bathroom.

yes, the washing machine is in the bathroom. The big cylinder uptop is the water heater which makes hot (bucket) showers possible. In TZ the "bathroom" is usually only the tub/shower and a sink. The toilet and another sink are in a separate room. I thought it was weird at first but with seven people living in our house it definitely cuts down on traffic jams. (If someone's using the "bathroom", I can always use the sink in the toilet room to brush my teeth.)

lunch preparation.

most of the meat we eat is boiled in this pressure cooker. I'm still not sure how I feel about boiled meat. Both of my parents hate boiled meat so in my house it was always a no-no. Since I didn't grow up on boiled meat I would prefer baked, brazed, roasted, grilled or even fried but hey...I'm not the one cooking.

So I guess one good thing did come out of this weekend. I'm glad I got pictures of my house. I feel like in the future it'll be nice to look at them and reminisce about where I lived when I was in TZ. As for the weather the rain was a bit intense but I'm getting tired of the "power rations". I can't decide whether I'd rather have (more) consistent access to electricity or dry weather. We'll see what the rain gods think.

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