It's been a while since the bridge washed away, and I am noticing a few things.
1. The small, local dukas have less on the shelves. Which is a drag as we only have small, local dukas to buy what we need, unless we're willing to travel to Morogoro, or another smaller village which may or may not have something worth the trip.
2. There are very few eggs in the village,and those that are here are almost double the price, but yet the same size. And if it's a bad egg, no refund.
3. Monday Market is a bust. There is a roving market, and our day is Monday, hence the name. There are always onions and tomatoes, greens and okra, which I would rather die than eat. Usually there are bananas, and sometimes mangoes. But because everything needs to be walked across the river, and you just never know if it will be high or low, most of the vendors stay home. Yesterday I saw Sion and Alec, two docs from the UK,coming back from the market, and I rushed up with my newly repaired basket (ever hopeful I would fill it with goodness from the earth). They had some wilted greens, lemons, some chili peppers and okra. I turned around and put my basket away.
4. Going to Morogoro is now an ordeal with a fairly high gruel factor, a term coined by my friend Janet in reference to travel in Africa. It's never easy, but now it's got a few additional steps. The first two are walking down to the river, and crossing it. Then, depending on the water lever, changing your pants. The rest of the trip to Morogoro is the usual 2 hours. On the way home you get to walk from the road to the river laden with your purchases. Then you repeat the crossing and getting back up the hill. I take a pikipiki at this point. It's a long day, but at least you have food.
5.When the water level is up, kids living across the river miss school.
6. Admissions at the hospital are about half what they should be. Isaac has enough trouble paying the employees on a regular month, so this is a disaster.
7. Folks who rely on the bridge to transport their charcoal,maize, and whatever else they sell now either don't go, or need to pay men to carry it across. I just had the school courtyard cemented in, as it's a mess during the rainy season, and every bag of cement needed to be cried over, as well as all the other supplies.
8. I have hit a new personal low food wise. Yesterday I opened a can of Egyptian tuna, which is all the bits that don't make it into the good tuna cans, drained the oil, mixed it with ketchup, and had it on crackers.
Re: the rains
8. All the roads that were previously just really bad are now impassable by car and the more rural villages can only be accessed by pikipiki.
9. On a positive note, everyone who has a maize crop, which is everyone, is growing a ton of maize. So everyone will be eating. Ugali is made from ground maize, and free from most of those pesky nutrients we in the US all worry so much about. It is, however, filling, as only a soccer ball sized lump of carbs can be, so no one will be hungry.
10. When it really rains hard, the classrooms get so dark we can't read or see the board, so we send the kids home before the lightning comes, and it does. More school missed.
11. We lose electricity during rainstorms, and this is the rainy season, so power goes out frequently.
But in the end, there is the maize, so no matter how bad it is, there's always ugali. This year should be a bumper crop, and they don't have electricity anyway, so my personal woes are immaterial to them, as they should be. Sion, Alec and I are going into Morogoro on Saturday, planning to load up on fruits and veggies. I may be sitting in the dark, but I'll have mangoes.