Tanzania Diary: August 17 (morning)

Good news: I did not refracture my foot last night.

Our volunteers include a lot of teenagers and people in their twenties. So every year on the last night before we fly home, they jump at the chance to go to a nightclub for some nontraditional dancing with the Tanzanians. By this time we have moved to the unfairly named Mbukijiji—Mosquito Village—in safari, hence tourist, country. Because the demure standards of dress and of contact between genders which we observe in the village no longer apply, it’s probably a good thing that we can barely see in the club.

But not such a good thing that whoever taught me to dance only showed me one move: stomping my right foot very hard in time, or almost in time, with the beat. (I’m self-taught, which might explain the problem.) Last year I stomped enough to put a hairline fracture in the bottom of my foot; that limited my walking for the next six months. So last night, no stomping. (And therefore not much dancing for me. As I pointed out to Marianne, I still don’t have another move.)

I did not need to add a broken foot to the ruptured disc that came to Tanzania with me and gave me significant lower-back pain during most of our trip. The pain kept me away from physical labor—sometimes our injuries bring us benefits—but Ufani School had no need for my sweat since, as always, our volunteers and the Tanzanians themselves worked tirelessly. We fly home tonight and I’ve already started to think about how much I’ll miss them all.—Don Stoll

Marianne and Jessica Swensen at the club, happy to have stuffed their work clothes in their luggage


About Don Stoll

Don and his wife, Marianne Kent-Stoll, are co-founders of the Karimu International Help Foundation. They established Karimu in 2008 at the request of the people of Dareda Kati Village, in the Manyara Region of northeastern Tanzania. Karimu is devoted to working with the residents of Dareda Kati in order to satisfy their development needs, as defined by the villagers themselves.
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