2007blog.jpg

 

"Seven weeks to look, see, learn, and share some skills in Conflict Resolution…
For over a year this journey has gradually been coming together. But the seeds were sown over 40 years ago when serving in Tanzania with the Peace Corps."  

August 14, 2007     Tuesday


Only have a day for clothes to dry but washed two shirts and some socks and hung them from a window. This AM the mountain is socked in again after clearing just a few minutes last night. When this is the only news of note, I guess it is time to move on. Fisher told me the tale of his crossing Africa from Kinshasa to Dar Es Salaam when he was 45 years old. Took him about 3 months as he stopped in a number of places. Some spooky stuff, but interesting nonetheless. He said that fresh, live meat was brought onto the boat on the Congo River. Animals had been snared in the jungle, legs broken and trussed alive so the meat would be good. Then slaughtered on the boat. Yuk.

The room across the hall from me is being used for afternoon trysts. The sound through the room vents leaves all conversation a public record.

Sitting at Dr. Balletto's Grave

I walked out at 10am this morning after doing some errands in town, bus ticket to Dar, Swahili dictionary, library, etc. I had come out part way last night by taxi but didn't go far enough and so did not make it to the graveyard. This time I asked directions version of 'cemetery' which was slightly different from local word dic. 'makbunini' local is 'makburini'.

There were some gravediggers hard at work near the entrance and I asked them if they knew well the 'makburini' , and one knew where Dr. Balletto's grave was located. People seem to be buried chronologically, because there are few if any family plots. No wazungu families are very permanent here. The grave had a white terrazo roman cross and stone plaque: Dott Giovanni Balletto 1906-1972 He was 66 when he died. I knew him when he was 60 and I was 23. He seemed much older than that to me. There is a rectangular planter over the grave. The dirt in the center allows for planting of flowers. I cleaned out weeds as best I could but left undisturbed some straw flowers that come from the alpine zone of the mountain that some caring person must have planted. This man was important to me. He showed me some patience and caring. He had lived a good adventure, but he was human with his depression. He seems to have found a way out of with his lover and child, but the rules of Rome did not allow a marriage of this sort.

I wrote a note to his son, Giovanni and put it in a plastic box.

To Young Giovanni
If you visit your father's grave, someday, you may find this note. I was 23 when I met your father in 1966. He taught me many things about cli9mbing, and about Kilimanjaro, and about his native land. He was a good man and good for Africa. I hope that you understand his greatness and that you can accept his choosing to leave you before he could teach you the things he taught to me when he was a happy man. George Brose

After writing the note to Giovanni, I walked through the cemetery some more and found the WEI graves of 88 Soldiers almost all from the South African Infantry. Black soldiers were buried with the whites. March 19 and 21 , 1916 were particularly bad days for them as most of the deaths came on those two days. It was probably at the battle for Tanga on the coast. Why they were buried here is anybody's guess. I will have to confirm those dates.

I walked back into town noting that the Sikh Uniion had a lunch , but then saw an ad for the Salzburger Cafe and went down a dirt street to check it out. Very nice Austrian interior. The owner , a Tanzanian, had trained in Austria and several other places before opening this place. I may know his brother as the family is named Urio, but he wasn't in to confirm.

Earlier in the morning I met a German doctor at the coffee house and internet cafe. She's spending two months in country at 2 hospitals. When she got here they gave her a list of things she was not to do including surgery, which she didn't intend to do anyway. But there must have been some bad experiences with previous foreign doctors. She's working the maternity ward where they deliver 20-25 babies every day. I asked her if there were midwives and if so, how well did they do their jobs. She said she didn't know, but she did say that there were so many babies coming, sometimes the cleaning women did the deliveries. She has taught the local nurses to do CPR on infants and they've brought several back to life. She said she is also quite upset when local doctors stand by and do nothing while people die for no reason and who were easily savable. Not the 90 year olds , but young people. She doesn't recommend getting sick and going to a government hospital in these parts.

Leaving for Dar Es Salaam tomorrow at 7:15 AM and will be there about 2:00PM. I'll try to get a ticket asap to Kilwa Masoko, a city with over a thousand years of history in its walls. A place that was flourishing when Vasco DaGama first sailed around Africa. Last time I went there it was three days in a sailboat. I'll probably go by bus both ways this time as the days are quickly running out.

An exerpt from part of Kilwa's history

The Reign of Abu Al-Mawahib and a brief account 9of his history

" Then the throne departed from those who have been mentioned and the member of the house of Abu al-Mawahib (the Giver of Gifts) who succeeded was al-Hasan ibn Talut, who was celebrated for his intelligence and courage. With the help of his people he seized the kingdom by force, but as they were not strong enough to govern, he made himself independent of them, and seized the kingdom by violence. He reigned eighteen years and then died.

On his death there succeeded Abu al-Mawahib al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman al-Mat'un ibn Hasan ibn Talut al-Mahdali. When he travelled to Mecca when his father was still alive, he was himself fourteen years old. He stayed in Aden for two years in order to study spiritual science. He became most proficient and excelled in all branches of knowledge. He was famous for his generosity and courage. Then he made the pilgrimage from Aden to Mecca. He was then sixteen years old. ........"

And so on.

George

 

 

 

2008t.jpg