But I do! I bought a TV back in June or July and had four channels that come in from the rabbit ears on the set. Three of them broadcast mostly news and music videos. The fourth is a gospel channel. All four are primarily in Swahili, which I still don't understand well enough for TV-watching, even if I were interested in that content. Last week I snagged K2 on a rare day off and convinced him to help me get a satellite dish installed. I needed his help, because the customer has to pick up the fundi (technician), provide a ladder, and take the fundi back to the office after the installation. Usually, fundis don't speak much English, and in Tanzania, something is bound go wrong somewhere along the way.
Back in July, I'd asked our Maasai gate attendant if we had a ladder in the Nyumba Sita compound, and he showed me a homemade wooden one. As we drove out of the compound on TV day, K2 asked about the ladder and told him we were getting a satellite dish installed. The askari (guard) on duty wasn't the main Maasai, but one of his small group of Maasai friends that hang out and help him at the gate sometimes. He said yes, the ladder's still here. When we came back with the fundi, the main Maasai told us the ladder was broken. He tried to borrow one from the neighbors, but no luck. But it turned out we really didn't need to reach the roof.
The fundi mounted the dish on the ground in the back yard, and the signal turned out to be fine. The cable was already dangling from the outside corner of the roof, so he didn't have to climb up for that either. He drilled holes in a concrete slab, bolted in the stand, and attached the dish, then attached the cable.
I think this might be the cover of the septic tank. So of course I have to say...yes, the satellite dish is pulling in the same old crap here as at home. It costs $29/ month and I get about 25 channels. I'll probably watch about six of them, and K2 will probably watch about four of them. I get some American and British movies and TV series, news from CNN, BBC, and al Jazeera, and a smattering of reality shows, decorating and fashion shows, and nature shows. Also, some dramas from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania. I get "Damages," "The Closer," and "Mad Men," all of which I've wanted to see, but they weren't' in my rock-bottom-cheap cable package at home. I watched an East Africa version of "American Idol" auditions that was hilarious. I didn't realize it until I watched this, but I'd been entertaining a stereotype of Africans as being more talented and cool than Americans. But no! East Africa has the same ratio of talented, undiscovered performers to delusional no-talent bums as we do. So I learned something already from watching TV! And it is really nice to relax and veg out and watch some TV in the evening.
It's still high season for climbing Kilimanjaro, so K2 has been really busy since I got back. I did get to spend five days with him between treks recently. Since then, only a day or two at a time. But that five-day break was nice!
Tea is much more popular here than coffee. Most of the coffee served here is instant, so I'd been drinking instant coffee for weeks by the time I moved into this house. I bought a drip coffee maker and some ground coffee and used it for about two weeks. The instructions recommended using bottled water, but I decided that was too expensive and would add to the plastic bottle waste I'm already generating, so I used tap water. I recognized that the tap water here carries more minerals than at home, but thought I'd still be able to clean the coffee maker with vinegar. It clogged after only about two weeks, and I tried the vinegar. About six times. It never did clear out the minerals inside the coffee maker. In fact, the whole thing was so extremely clogged, that a seam on the water tank burst when I was trying to run the vinegar through. So I've been drinking instant coffee for way too long. But no more....
It took a lot of wandering store-to-store, but I found a French press coffee maker and have been drinking wonderful brewed coffee every morning. For expats from the UK and Australia, this might not be important. But I'm American, dammit, and I need my coffee! I checked several stores that didn't carry this item, but found out it's called a "plunger" here. I found one that was cute, but tiny and would only make one cup. I found another that cost 139,000 T shillings. That's about $93! After a couple of weeks of looking, I found this one--three large mugs worth and about $30. Still kind of expensive, but I am so happy every morning with my coffee. No more worries about clogging now, unless I get too many coffee grounds in the sink drain.
Another thing that I continue to enjoy here is a blog called "Food, Fun & Farm Life in East Africa." (http://foodfunfarm.blogspot.com ) The author is a woman from Zimbabwe who's lived here, raising a family, for 12 years. She writes about family activities and life in Tanzania. I love it because she's very upbeat, which helps me stay upbeat as I learn to live in Arusha. The other day I was in my favorite little super market and saw a woman who looked so familiar. I couldn't place her for a moment, but then recognized from her profile photo that she was the author of "Food, Fun & Farm Life." I hesitated for a few minutes, because I didn't want to seem like a stalker. But I introduced myself and we had a nice chat. It was fun to meet one my blogger heroes. (The other one lives in Oklahoma on a ranch, so I'm not likely to run into her ( http://thepioneerwoman.com/confessions/)).
And I know I already posted jacaranda pictures and waxed poetic about how beautiful these trees are. But they're still blooming, and I still love looking at them, so here are a few gratuitous jacaranda pictures.