1st world charm

Trip Start Nov 19, 2002
Trip End Dec 13, 2002

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Sunday, December 15, 2002


...a computer that works.  I'm back safely in the states now.  Oddly enough, NOW I'm facing culture shock!  After a week, I can finally keep down American food without getting nauseous.

Time is a funny thing to me.  A few of my friends may remember back to high school when Sarah was born.  Some others have met her since then.  She is my beloved little sister and probably the best part of the trip.  This is the first time I've seen her as an adult.  She's out of college now, making a place on her own and figuring out what kind of contribution she wants to make.  In Tanzania that means in Swahili in a sexist society.

When we went to the market, Sarah enjoyed bargaining with the vendors.  At times I just stop what I'm doing and smile when I see her in action.  She can get cab fare from 10,000 Tanzanian shilling down to 5,000 while I can only negotiate 8,000.  One of her PC friends questioned her about using her feminity in bargaining.  She quickly replied, "Well, if they're going to use it against me, then I can use it for my advantage too."  One time at the bank, she got stonewalled trying to cash travelers checks.  At one point in the exchange, every man in the lobby turned his head and smiled at her.  Two minutes later, a manager came out to help her with 'customer service,' even though no such title or department exists anywhere there.

Here's a quote from one of her emails:
"In other news...  I was discussing my bride price the other day with a (male) teacher at my school and another man, who told me they have a friend who wants to marry an American.  I told them I had no say in the matter and it was best if they asked my father, but I know he really wants cows, and a lot of them.  He started with 10 and I countered with 100.  They tried to bring it down to 50 but I wouldn't budge.  So then they started calling my "100 cows" as my nickname. Oh, how I love Africa!"

Sarah's always been my little sister I've loved to death.   But now that I've seen her as an adult, it's finally time to look at her in a new light.


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