Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Surinam is a long way from Zanzibar

Several weeks ago I was out to dinner with a few new friends here in Morogoro. We went to a place called Dragonaires that mainly caters to the university staff and Tobacco Industry folk of Morogoro. I was amazed to see so many white people in one place.

In keeping with my observant nature I spotted the one “African” I was sure was not from Morogoro, Tanzania or anywhere in East Africa. I pointed out to my friends that this fine featured dreadlock sporting woman must be American. We nodded hellos as I passed her.

The second evening I was in Zanzibar I mounted the steps to reception after a long day of touring and saw this woman standing there. Without a hesitation that I might be mistaken I said, “Hello. Are you from Morogoro?” She replied, “Yes, I’ve seen you at Dragonaires!”

The next morning we sat at adjoining tables for breakfast and visited. She originally hails from Surinam in South America. (A country I know nothing about.) But her husband is Belgian and they work at one of the Universities in Morogoro on a rat project. She had her two girls with her, ages 3 and 11. Maureen invited me to see their project and left me her phone number. I bumped into her again on the streets of Stone Town before heading back from vacation.

When I reached Dar es Salaam I took a taxi to a large shopping mall to wait for the Korean couple that attends my language school to pick me up. I had about 2 hours to gladly kill while I looked in stores as big as Target and Rainbow. I did have a couple things on my list. There in the big department store I came around the corner and ran into Maureen and her girls. “Do you need a lift to Morogoro?” she asked. I had that taken care of. But I think I have a new friend from a very faraway place.

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