I’ve officially been in Tanzania for nearly a week, and despite all of our planning and preparations, I am still in Dar es Salaam (the big city) and not in Kigoma (our basecamp for studying Lake Tanganyika).
It’s no easy task doing research overseas, and in addition to the obvious obstacles, the biggest hurdle of the moment lies with the immigration office…in that they seem unwilling to hand over our residency permits. There’s a bigger story here involving some just-left-of-legal actions on our part (that I’m not at liberty to talk about, so don’t ask)…
But it all works out in the end.
Or it doesn’t.
Best case scenario, we’ll be out of here by Wednesday.
Things eventually get done, albeit just a bit more slowly and involving a chain of events I never fully understand. Case in point: the other day, I handed over all of our research gear, a bunch of chemicals, and a brand spankin’ new inflatable boat to the sketchy looking fellas down at the train station baggage drop-off. When it was all loaded, they said that for an extra “fee” they would put my stuff in a “special room” and make sure no one stole it.
(read: If you don’t pay this fee, your stuff will absolutely disappear.)
So I paid the equivalent of 15 bucks and accidentally bought everyone a round of Cokes and groundnuts (to celebrate? I’m still confused…)
All I know is that I never got my change back.
It would be nice to be in Kigoma on the lake and getting to the business of collecting some data, but a little down time isn’t such a bad thing after the chaotic last days I had in Madison getting things ready to go. Against all odds, I managed to cram All This Crap into a few action packers and coolers.