Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thus is Life

My previous Headmistress, Mama Machinga, moved to Chuno Secondary School, which is a twenty minute bike ride away.  With her invitation, I paid a visit.

Chuno is a new school, and so it feels like the skeletal version of Saba Saba.  Its facilities are bare, classrooms and offices are still under construction, teachers are few, and finances are dire.  Chuno also does not have any faculty housing.

Mama told me that she was looking for houses in the area, but the rent of 150,000 TSH ($100), was a bit too high for her.  I asked whether she would get any stipend from the government, as she had free housing prior to her move.  She said no.  I chuckled, and so did she.  Through the small laughter, I think we telepathically said the following:

"Wow, your new job sucks."

"Tell me about it."

And then I learned a bit more about the students.  The students come from all over town, as designated by the government.  There are Saba Saba students who live near Chuno, and vice versa.  This random allocation may be life changing.  There are no science and math teachers in Chuno, so it's easier for its students to fail their national exam, while it's not so bad for Saba Saba students.

The level of arbitrariness is abundant in all aspects of Tanzanian life, and to my surprise, there is little resistance.  These sub-standard elements, often stemming from the government, are treated as normal courses of life.  Toward things that I may say "that's not fair," people here react "oh thus is life."

What a strange life.

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