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Monday, May 16, 2011

Following the Directions to Cynthia's House

If you haven't visited since before May 11, you didn't see my post about my long weekend at Tiwi Beach in Kenya. That's because the Blogspot website has had a big problem for about two days or more, which resulted in posts from May 11 on being deleted. Their customer service site now says that almost all missing posts have been restored. Mine hasn't yet. I've filled out their form detailing my problem. So please check back again, because I had some good photos in that one.
But in the meantime, here's an addendum to that post. Some time back, I wrote about the Tanzanian style of giving directions. Tanzanians rely heavily on big trees and chickens as landmarks, so for foreigners, it can be a challenge. Sometimes we just resort to asking a stranger to ride along in the car and guide us. 
On the way to Tiwi Beach, Anna and I drove from Arusha to Moshi to meet my friend Cynthia. Cynthia emailed me this Tanzanian-style set of directions for finding her place in Moshi. 

So you will take the second round about once you are in Moshi, the one that leads to KCMC.
Take the first right turn ( you will see many sign boards ) ...if the lady who roasts maize is not there, don't worry you will see her next time.
as you travel along this road you will pass a Travelers Hotel on your right, pass Moshi secondary on your left, pass Moshi primary further down on your left.       Usually this road is crowded with many school going kids, but since Friday is Pasaka, it will look deserted.... WAIT... you won't be able to tell the difference since you haven't been here before
At this point you will start seeing some wooden kiosks / structures (this is usually a market during the day but at that time of the morning there may be no one)... and many skinny dogs crossing the road.
Then you will notice that the tarmac ends.   if you see many cows, you are on the right track...they are on their way to the slaughter house. If you don't see the cows, don't worry you are still on the right track' maybe they just don't slaughter on Pasaka.... they are being taken to the slaughter house.
Take a sharp Left - you may have to squeeze past some dala dalas and motor cycles.
You'll stay on this very rough road for about 1km. There are a few houses on this road, but only 2 have official gates. Pass the niceish looking black and white gate.  You will see some goats.
Our gate will come up on your right. It is an odd looking gate with wall with a nice but unfinished design. When you see it, you will know. it is made of several pieces of scrap courragated roofing metal sheets welded together. Honk your horn when you get here so I can come and open it the gate. It involves some special technique.
Our compound has 3 houses , if you end up in a coumpound with just one house you are in the wrong compound.
sorry, there aren't too many fixed land marks so I have to rely on many moveable items. 

We actually drove right to the house. When we picked out a gate pieced together from corrugated metal, pulled up, and asked the askari if Cynthia lived there, he wasn't sure. But when I asked about her year-old daughter Amaya, he smiled and said, "Ah, Amaya", and swung open the gate. That probably happens to mothers of especially cute babies everywhere! 


  1. I love it!! Those directions are more helpful than ours - turn left by the old K-mart (which moved years ago and there is no evidence it was ever there) however don't confuse that with the NEW k-mart located several blocks up the road. And, you know, it's just 5 houses past the old white house (which is now red) or the burnt church - which is just an overgrown lot since the infamous fire 15 years. But, alas no chickens. I hope you appreciate the life you live!

  2. Sounds just like directions in the Uintah Basin!