It is 3:36 AM and despite my best attempts, I seem unable to get regular sleep patters here in Moshi. It could be the growing chanting I hear in the distance. At first I thought it might be the sounds of chickens being slaughtered at the poultry farm 10 minutes down the road, but slowly I realized it was the sound of people – I'm not sure if they're doing military exercises somewhere near by? It sounds sorta like that – sorta like tribal chanting – sorta like the guards from the Wizard of Oz – with the occasional sound of roosters thrown in. Seems no matter what part of Moshi town I stay in over the years (this one is a lush tropical part of town with an eclectic mix of mansions and small economy lodges like the one I am at), there are always the strangest sounds at the strangest times. Last night it was the sounds of dogs howling – sounded like dozens and dozens of them – maybe they were from the military base too. I should probably go over there and join the exercises and then I'd be able to sleep at night. And things could be worse – there could be vevuzelas. In the morning, the birds start their chirping. There are the most beautiful birds in Africa. Haven't seen an ugly one yet. Africa could turn an otherwise non-nerdy person into a birdwatcher.
There's a kindergarten across the road from me. I can hear the teacher speaking English and the kids responding back in English. That's amazing for here. And from 5 year olds, no less. Clearly money can buy you a good education here. In the morning fancy cars pull up and drop off the kids. At first I thought all these 4 and 5 year olds were driving themselves to Kindergarten, until I realized that the steering wheel is on the opposite side of cars here, and the kids were actually in the passenger seat. For a second I thought 'Wow – not only do they know English but they already have their Learner's Permit? This is some amazing school."
There's a young woman who works at the lodge who asked me my name – When I told her 'Fifer' she said "I know you…" Turns out I knew her 5 years ago when I first came to Moshi and she was just a little girl. Her name is Hosiana (pronounced Oceana). She's hoping to go to hotel management school one day, so in the meanwhile is getting practice working at these motel-like cottages. Seems I am always running into people I know here, or who know me (it's the shiny white head that gives me away). Today I went into the central part of town for the first time, and I was stopped by 3 different people who I know from past visits. There's tens of thousands of people here, but somehow you always run into people you know.
Today I'm flying to Mwanza – to visit the site of Africa Schoolhouse where GO is building a medical clinic and a community youth center. I had wanted to spend 2 nights there, but local flights are impossible – You can't do things on your own schedule here in East Africa, and you must just go with the flow…
I think the soldiers have gone to bed – The chanting has stopped – Will see if I'm tired enough to sleep again until the birds sing me awake.