January is now over, it's 4 weeks since I had my head shaved so, for a tropical cut, it's now looking pretty respectable.
So, it's time to bring the Joshua Appeal to an end. Many thanks for the generosity of so many family members, friends, colleagues in contributing. I found reading down the list of contributors really moving, thank you one and all, I will be emailing shortly. Meanwhile, Pastor Ahmed sends his greetings:
We definitely would like to relay our sincere appreciation to all your friends who have become a part of our lives even though they never met us. We are humbled & encouraged. Our hugs to all of them.
Pleased to say that news from India is encouraging, the chemotherapy is progressing without additional complications. No need for a return as yet, but we hope and pray that it will be soon.
Of course, I'd be more than happy to forward any further contributions which come my way!
A bijaji, 3 wheeler taxi imported from India.
Meanwhile, I was delighted to have Mick Rosinger staying with me for a few days the week before last. Mick was a school teacher in the UK and, on retiring early, went with his wife Annette to be tutors for 3 years in a teacher training college in Northern Tanzania. I met them through a mutual friend shortly before coming out here, and have been keeping in touch since then. Mick was out here on a project working with mathematics teachers and came to DSM to meet friends and also to run a class for the students at AKU. I asked a bijaji driver, Abdalla, whom I've got to know through colleagues who use his services on a daily basis, to pick Mick up from the airport. Below is his account of the journey. My particular point of interest here is to reflect how quickly what is different and exotic becomes normal and commonplace. Bijajis are not normal right through Tanzania let alone across the world but, even though I don't use them myself very often, are as part of life as cars and lorries.
As I exited the terminal building I was greeted by a placard bearing my name attached to a short stout man (at least he was shorter and a little stouter than me). I was taken to the exit of the car park and told to wait. Impressive looking cars and taxis passed. Then to my amazement a motorbike with a small awning on the back whisked me off in the direction of town. I was seated in the awning. There were no doors so I hung on for dear life to a long metal bar. Fear turned to excitement as we rounded bends at speeds more associated with motorbikes than with awnings. This was fun – maybe a touch dangerous, but no more so than skiing down a black run out of control and Abdalla, my driver, was very much in control. As we neared the city, the traffic started to build up but we were not affected. We continued to turn corners at breakneck speed, cut in between cars when there were inches of room left and at one point mounted the ‘pavement’ whilst overtaking five somewhat bemused looking drivers. An ambulance with blue lights flashing and siren sounding had to wait as my driver stopped for no-one. Heart attacks would not be a sufficient reason for my man to give way! The centre of Dar was gridlocked, yet somehow we were still moving. If the tiniest of gaps appeared, Abdalla would stick just enough of the bajaji into it and then suddenly we would be moving at right angles to our original direction with a small patch of clear road ahead of us. Newtonian Maths surely does not apply to this type of motion. At one point we were stationary with cars all around us in the style of a police ambush in a cops and robbers movie. The bumper of one car was virtually inside the awning, inches from my leg. I thought we would be in this position for hours, but again a tiny gap was sufficient to allow Abdalla to manoeuvre the vehicle and we were off again. Ten minutes of similar manoeuvres and we were outside the Aga Khan University. I was quite disappointed that our journey was over. Bajajiing is one continuous adrenaline rush. If it was an Olympic sport my man would be up there with the best.