More musings from Graham
Bathroom survival tips (methods approved by a former missionary 😉
How to brush your teeth with bottled water:
Be aware that there are nasty things in the water in Africa, and some of the nastiest can’t be seen. Things like bilharzia which is a parasite that can attack and destroy the liver if left untreated, guinea worms that lodge in blood vessels and grow out through the skin, usually the leg – unsightly and extremely painful. Not easy to get rid of either, because they break easily, resulting in infection on top of the original injury. Cholera is also a possibility, as well as many other things too gruesome for squeamish western stomachs. So, don’t drink tap water, don’t brush your teeth with tap water, don’t even wash your toothbrush with tap water.
Use bottled water, having made sure the bottle was sealed before-hand.
First, apply toothpaste to the toothbrush in the usual manner. If you like your toothpaste moist, pour over a small amount of bottled water.
Second, brush teeth as normal, spitting out excess foam as necessary.
Third, take a small swig from the bottle. Try not to touch the bottle to your lips unless you fancy your water with a slight minty flavour. Do not swallow this water.
Fourth – and here’s the clever(ish) bit – reinsert your toothbrush into your mouth and swoosh the water about. This cleans out your mouth and does a halfway decent job of cleaning your toothbrush at the same time.
Fifth, spit out, take a fresh swig and repeat as necessary.
How to avoid the depressingly underwhelming early morning shower:
Take a shower last thing at night. Hopefully it’ll be cool enough during the night that you’ll still feel fresh in the morning. And can get away with a simple top and tail.
How to survive the dripping tap in the room next door:
When Chinese water torture threatens to take over from sleep deprivation. This one turned out to be the easiest yet. Just empty the bucket then shift it so that the drips fall down the inner sidewall of the bucket. No more noise.
How to survive using a squat:
Nothing much to say on this one. Just get on with it. Don’t bother taking a book. If you’re planning on using one away from base, don’t expect too much.
How to shave successfully and painlessly:
Don’t forget your spare razor blades (I’m still trying to get the hang of this one).
Another lie in. breakfast at eight again. Luxury! Or at least it might have been if not for the nice gentleman wandering through the neighbourhood at 5:30 this morning yelling in a very excited manner through a loud hailer. I’m sure what he had to say was very important, but lacking the Swahili, I’m afraid it passed me by.
Of all the little cultural differences and idiosyncrasies that make being here charming and exciting and wonderful, I’m not sure this one makes it into my top ten.
The early morning bird song was exquisite nostalgia though. So many distinctive sounds, and a memory of Africa I didn’t even know I had until it came flooding back.
Breakfast then a short half hour walk up to the centre in Airport for the church service.
There are words to describe church services in Mbeya.
Loud is one. Amplifiers turned all the way up to eleven.
Long is another. The service started at about 10:30, and came to its conclusion at about 1:30. This did include about a half hour period in which each of the Grassroots team members introduced him or herself.
Lively is a third. Singing and music like I suppose you would expect from Africa, and with that beautiful lilt which has you swaying in your seat and wishing you could stand up and join in the dancing without showing yourself up. The sermon was pretty passionate as well, with a pretty even competition between Stanley, the preacher, and Richard, his translator, as to who could be more enthusiastic.
The service came to an end with the usual – for Africa – exit, with the first person out the door stopping to shake the hand of the second then stand next in line so both could shake the third person’s hand, and so on until everyone was out and everyone had greeted everyone.
Over to the centre for lunch of rice, peas and tomatoes, then an option to go to the market.
A combination of lack of sleep and a thick head persuaded me to pass on that pleasure. Instead I went back to Karibuni and fell asleep with a book in my hand. Still Sundays supposed to be a day of rest isn’t it?