Today was the last day of the Festival Italiano put on by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, here in Dar es Salaam. The Festival lasted two days and it consisted of displays and booths for various Italian organizations, food importers, and others that work in Tanzania. The Ivo de Carneri Foundation was invited to participate, so Giovanna and I have been representing the Foundation all weekend long. It has been a great opportunity to see other Italian organizations and collaborations that are currently underway across the country including cheese production, some beautiful jewelry and clothes, as well as some great health-related programs focusing on sustainable farming (Istituto Oikos) and healthcare provision.
The Festival was relatively small, with about 30 booths for different groups, but it was still a great time. It was held at a shopping center/hotel so there were individuals from all around the world, both those traveling through and those currently residing in Dar es Salaam.
My friend Joyce, who I met my first day in Dar about 4 months ago actually came to visit me both days of the Festival and yesterday she came with her friend Nell. In order to give them the full Italian experience, I told them they had to try a gelato, which they really seemed to enjoy. I also got a scoop earlier in the day, and let me say, it took me back to the Navigli Neighborhood of Milano.
While it was a bit overwhelming to arrive in the “big city” after nearly 4 months in Pemba, it has been nice change. I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich on cracked wheat bread tonight for dinner, and it was fantastic. In Pemba you can’t find peanut butter that isn’t full of sugar and hydrogenated oils and you definitely can’t find brown bread anywhere. A little cinnamon and maybe some honey would have made it out of this world, but I’m pretty darn happy as is.
I arrived in Dar on Friday and our first night we stayed in a guesthouse where I was basically sharing a 4 bed/1 bath apartment with 4 Austrian social workers. They were really wonderful and included me in their evening of sweet red wine from Dodoma and playing the card game Phase 10. The 5 hour power outage didn’t even ruin the mood, and really drinking wine by candlelight makes it taste better anyways. Unfortunately because of the lack of power and internet, we decided to move into a real hotel for the second two nights, and even though I don’t have any cool roomies this time around, I’m rather enjoying it.
Tomorrow I am off to Unguja to meet with a friend of my brother’s who has kindly offered for me to stay with her. From the sound of it we’ll be doing some pretty touristy things, since she’s lived there for a year now and still hasn’t managed to see some of the sights, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be there for 4 days before heading back to the quiet Island of Pemba.