October 30, 2009

Mosquito Nets.

Arguably the most decorative facet of my hotel room in Moshi is the mosquito net tied into a neat bundle over my single bed frame home to a rather thin and unforgiving mattress. The first night here, following 36 hours of travel between 1 cab, three airplanes, 1 people mover, and 1 land cruiser, I crashed into bed succumbing to the functional rather than decorative use of the mosquito net mainly born out of a fear of unknown African creepy crawly things that may be lurking in the darkness.

My second night here following a distracted afternoon gazing at Mount Kilimanjaro, I crawled into bed with approximately 27 mosquito bites covering my ankles and wrists as evidence of my distracted, jet lagged state. Again I looked to the functional purpose of the mosquito netting, only to awoken moments later by the telltale, deafening buzz of a mosquito.

This brought on a range of emotions.

Confusion: Am I hearing this from inside or outside of the mosquito netting?
Fear: Is that bugger carrying malaria or not?
Relief: Sustained silence.
Doubt: Is he gone? Are they nocturnal?
Defeat: Buzz. BUZZ. Even louder than before.
Resignation: This will be a sleepless night.

Strange defeat.

About the Title of this Blog.

I married the love of my life on September 11, 2009. Much to our pleasant surprise, President Obama commemorated this date by naming it a Day of National Service. It seems we were not the only people trying to positively transcend the significance of this day beyond doom and gloom.

Through a simple civil ceremony at the DC Courthouse, we were legally conferred the titles of husband and wife graduating up from the youthful titles of boyfriend and girlfriend and graduating away from the gender ambiguous titles partners. It became quickly apparent the state holds a pronounced preference for the former title, as we were greeted with an onslaught of newly conferred benefits from the state, irrespective of our uninterrupted feelings for each other as we moved seamlessly from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife.

Strange Victory.

Less than 7 weeks after the date of our marriage and legal union, I left the country to pursue an opportunity in Tanzania made possible to me through generous fellowship funding from the U.S. Government.

However, apparently the state benefits conferred to those legally wed have limits and boundaries. My husband continues to seek either health care coverage or full-time employment, or both, as the case may be, to join me on this yearlong adventure. And thus, I am here alone until further notice. In the mean time, this blog is designed to provide a medium for me to communicate my experiences in Tanzania to him as well as any other friends and family back home curious to share in my experiences.

Strange Defeat.

And so it seems, life, as aptly described by David Berman, is a series of strange victories and strange defeats. I anticipate this year in Africa too will represent a succession of victories and defeats, ranging from unfamiliar to peculiar to unexpected to extraordinary to mystifying to perplexing, all sharing strange characteristics. I remain hopeful the balance will come up positive, and thus, this blog has been named Strange Victory.

This blog is dedicated to the special someone in my life who gifted me a camera to visually capture my experiences here.

October 29, 2009

Mountain Lookout: View from my hotel room balcony.

My yearlong journey in Tanzania starts at the base of Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest mountain that you can simply walk up. Next stop is Dar Es Salaam, a seaside port town on the Indian Ocean. And with that my blog – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea – was born.