Beautiful day after beautiful day greet me up here in Mshiri. I’m still revelling in all that this new, slower, pace of life has to offer, and now I have a full complement of things to do and people to hang out with.
Each weekend I’ve been heading down to Moshi and each weekend I meet more new people who are all making my life here easier and more fun. Now a full three weeks since I fell off my bike, I decided it was high time to head into town on my own steam, so Saturday morning I left the house around 8am, bottle of water in my bag, and made the journey down to Marangu and on towards Moshi. Cycling out here in the open is a task in itself; as soon as the sun rises it’s 28-30 degrees, and not long after the temperature reaches 33-35 down on the dusty highway. I was initially concerned that I would fall foul of the rather haphazard driving standards here, but was pleasantly surprised to be beeped and called at by drivers as they passed me, giving me a wide berth and most wishing me good luck as I sweated it out at a rather decent 25kph average. The first section down to Marangu is amazing: rocky paths, flowing corners and lots of bumps and tree stumps to jump and meander past until I reach the market place and join some tarmac. From here, the next 12km are all pure downhill, no pedalling required at all to get myself down on to the main highway by Himo, and the perfect opportunity to listen to some drum and bass to psyche myself into the slog ahead. Once I join the main road, I bear left and then East Africa’s plains lay themselves out in front of me and a good 28km ride over the mildly undulating landscape bring me past villages and smatterings of civilisation before arriving in Moshi town. It’s just amazing, and i loved getting there so much, that after a brief swim and then some decent food at the Coffee Shop, I got up the next day and did it all over again. I have to admit, that I’m utilising the free lift back up the mountain, rather than getting back on my own steam, but one thing at a time! If you saw the road I came down from Marangu to Himo, you’d also be taking the free lift, putting your bike in the back of the car and getting home from the safety of Katy’s RAV4!
Sunday afternoon though, I didn’t come straight back, but went down to Bree and Jasen’s place first, and spent a nice, albeit chilled and relaxed, afternoon wandering through Moshi and a quiet drink (my new favourite – South African Cider) and Daladala back home. Sunday afternoon’s are spent by my crowd relaxing at the Marangu hotel pool, so I hopped off there and laid back for a while before we all headed home together. It’s not all work you see, we do know how to enjoy ourselves too!
Weekdays are also changing their state as I now have a few students coming in for proper lessons in a range of things, on top of managing the internet and photocopying services that produce an increasing stream of customers each day. A local boy, Nelson, came in to see me last week and has been spending his days here in the computer centre learning to use Fruity Loops and Reason, and has massively impressed me with his ability to pick this up quickly, and although has spent a lot of time here, has began to produce some interesting beats and is turning his lyrics into reality. This weekend coming, on Sunday afternoon, he and his friends are bringing a sound system, microphones and mixer up to the computer centre, and we are going to stage Mshiri’s first ever concert right outside in the veranda. I really can’t wait for this, as not only are we playing music that everyone should enjoy, but it is also an opportunity for me to dj again, providing the backing beats and warm up set, and then more reggae and dub for us all to dance to once the performers have finished. I shall be recording the whole thing, and hope to have some amazing photos of the day to share with you all. Happyness is providing refreshments, we have the generator as back up should we lose power, and there is even a rumour of Nickson popping up with a few crates of Kilimanjaro to sell to the adults in the crowd… all in all should be a good day, and one we will be repeating should it all go well. Wish us luck!
This morning I taught my first one to one lesson in basic IT to a local boy from the village. I have to say this was the most nerve-racking experience of my life. Playing drum and bass in a club to a rowdy crowd is nothing compared to this: I am showing him how to use computers and ultimately after a few weeks I shall be setting an exam and providing him with a certificate of acheivement, but above all I hope I am providing him with the valuable experience he wants so he can leave the village and go to university fully prepared and up to speed. A feel the weight of this on my shoulders, but this is why I am here more than anything, and I just hope that he enjoys the time we spend here, and can take something away from it and feel he has learnt something. This morning we finished the lesson with a few laps round the demolition derby circuit in Racedriver:GRID, and although NOT on the curriculum, I do hope that little rewards like that are enough for the two of us to become friends, and for him to want to come back and be eager to learn each week. I can only hope.