Well maybe I should spell it "saloon", because I would say 50% of the time I see it spelled that way in Tanzania.
When I first came here to Tanzania, I wrote about all the barbershops in Mwanza. I never did give the details about the one I would go to in that city.
For 1000TSH (about 75cents), I would get a line up and a full facial. I mean, massage, wash, lotion, the whole shibang. And in a ligit barbershop with tv, chairs, a/c, and people talking garbage 24/7. I even had my own barber who knew exactly what I wanted without me even saying a word. All for a whopping 75 cents.
Now in Arusha, for the same 1000TSH, I only get a line up and I have to sit in an office chair circa 1981 with no air conditioning. I'll admit I feel a bit cheated considering I would get so much more for my money in Mwanza, but considering at home it costs at least $5 (without tip) for a lineup and a dude spraying old alcohol on your face, I really can't complain.
So today I decided to splurge and go to the salon up the dirt road from Sakina Camp and get my hair done.
My hope was to get it locked, but they didn't have a latch hook, so I just got it twisted. First, I got a nice wash and scalp massage. Then I got to sit under the dryer and read "Adam" a men's magazine out of Kenya. And finally, while getting my hair done by two ladies, I was served tea.
And the price for all that?
It was 11,000TSH (about 7 or 8 Canadian dollars).
Considering the prices for people to get their hair done at home, in the long run it might be cheaper to book a ticket and fly to Tanzania for your next weekend hair do.
Man, just the other day I was writing my "One Month In" blog post. Time flies, my friends.
So what has changed in the past three months since I've been in Tanzania?
Have I adopted a White Mzungu baby? Nope.
Have I started my own NGO with the hope of saving Africa? Nope.
Have I started my own dalladalla company? Nope.
Did I buy a goat? Nope.
Did I start my own crocodile farm? Nope.
Is Steve Irwin my hero? Nope.
Is "Cliffhanger" my new favourite movie? Nope.
Will I shun shoes when I'm back in Canada? Nope.
Will I donate to Worldvision? Nope.
Will I star in a Worldvision commercial with fly children? Nope.
Do I hate White people? Nope, but see below.
***I know a lot of people are probably wondering what my thoughts are now on Mzungus - Wazungu is the proper plural term - here in Tanzania and at home. I'll save that post for another day.
Do I believe in White Guilt? Yes. Without a doubt.
***I've seen how White Guilt can destroy a country. I call it "White Guilt For Profit". See my post on NGOs from January.***
Have I united Black people across the world with my belief in Moja Watu? Nope.
Have I written a definitive monograph on global Black History? Nope.
Have I spread my belief in Christopherism? Nope.
Have I converted to Rastafarianism? Nope. (But it's tempting)
Do I believe myself to be a Tanzanian? Nope.
Do I believe myself to be an African? Nope.
***To avoid hassles here and to have some fun, I just tell people I'm Ugandan. I was told that I speak english like a Ugandan, so I just run with it. It's a lot easier than having to explain Black history in Canada or that Barbados is an island near Jamaica or where Rihanna comes from.***
Have I eaten pork? Nope.
Do I still like Mountain Dew? Nope.
Do I cook any of my meals? Nope.
Has my identity changed? Nope.
Have I lost a whole lot of weight? Yup.
Am I black like I've been tarring the 401 from London to Mississauga? Getting there.
Have I as a Black Canadian, with Bajan roots, become a Pan-Africanist? Maybe.
Has life in Tanzania become my new "normal"? Yes.
I guess not much has changed about me. I'm just a whole lot less miserable (and that's saying a lot).
I know I haven't written much about the Yogurt Project and WHE (at all since coming to Arusha - my blog is not a good forum to discuss my issues), but I would like to take this opportunity to give a big shout out to Shannon for all the hard work she puts in every single day (and I mean every single day) to WHE and the project. With pretty much little to no support, she's managed to navigate the Top-Down bureaucratic blindness of self-indulgent NGOs. Or as I like to call them, WGFPOs (White Guilt For Profit Organizations).
Sorry for the delay, but here are a few photos from my stop in Tanga.
That's no shadow - I'm almost as dark as my shirt.
The view from my hotel. It cost me 30,000TSH a night to stay at The New Dolphin Inn, which is on the higher end of local hotel prices here in Tanzania. And what is 30,000TSH approximately in Canadian dollars? About $20.
Dar is pretty much like any major city you would come across anywhere in the world. Lots of traffic, lots of people, and lots to do. I'm a big fan of the club and music scene there and if you have a chance, youtube some music that comes out of Tanzania, specifically "bongo flava". Oh ya, Dar is hot. I mean hot and humid and this is the rainy/"cold" season. I was cooking.
Some photos of Dar es Salaam.
The tide is way out
So hot even I'm wearing shorts
Those two buildings belong to the Bank of Tanzania
One of the main reasons I always wanted to come to Africa was to see the old slave forts of the west coast from the Transatlantic Slave Trade. I have seen where Africans were sent to in the Americas, but I always wanted to see and experience where they left. It's one thing to learn and read about it in books, but a completely different story when you experience it for yourself. I still have yet to set foot in West Africa, but I was able to see and go inside a former slave fort in Tanzania at Bagamoyo (which means in a very loose translation "a place to die" or "to leave your heart") during the Indian Ocean Slave Trade (in a few weeks I'll see those in Zanzibar).
This experience was something very important to me.