Thursday, December 09, 2010

The road to Marengu

Last weekend, we borrowed a Rav 4 from a Tanzanian lady named Flo to drive to Marengu, a small town north of Moshi. The first couple of weeks had been quite busy with work and getting settled, so we were both quite excited to get out of town and see the countryside around Kilimanjaro. Some friends had recommended that we get to know a couple from Atlanta working in Dar es Salaam, so we had orchestrated to meet them at a small hotel about an hour outside of town. The stage was set for a great weekend.

As we were leaving Moshi, blazing through the savannah, we felt the freedom that only the start of a good road trip can create. We scanned the FM radio band, which interestingly only ranges from 73.5 to 82.5MhZ, and found nothing, so we contented ourselves with the wind as it blew in the open windows.

Then the hood on the Rav 4 flew up at about 50 mph.

We were blinded, and quickly ducked to look under the small space under the hood to navigate to safely. Once on the side of the road, we closed the hood and inspected the damage. Not too much, but the hood wouldn't close. We looked around us - nothing and no one to help. We decided to drive up the road a bit to see what we could find.

Soon, we ran across a bar full of off-duty dala dala drivers (dala dala's are the Tanzanian equivalents of tro-tro drivers in Ghana). We pulled into the bar and showed them the problem. In a flash, we had 8 dala dala captains come to our aid. They pushed, prodded, lifted, tugged, pried and shimmied, but accomplished little other than further damaging the hood of the car. The lid of the car would not shut firmly enough.

After about 15 minutes of muscling the hood, we conceded that the hood wouldn't close and another guy brought some tether to tie it down. This seemed to work.

We all felt quite good about ourselves. I paid the dala dala captains 5,000 shillings (about 4 dollars) which resulted in a round of cheers and handshakes, then a group photo.

1 comment:

zach said...

nice! glad you're all safe. so did you make it for the meeting?