The Mahlers Are On Safari - Really
I wanted to write you a short note to let you know that the Mahler Family is actually leaving on safari in two days and so you won't be getting a new blog from me until next weekend.
But I promise you, whatever I write then is likely to be insightful, witty and entertaining after having spent 5 days in a Land Cruiser - locked up with a set of 2.5 year-old toddlers, my parents and my brother and wild animals all about. It's a Mahler family extravaganza!!!!
Still... before I go, I want to leave you with one last mini-story.
Here on Mrikao Road in Masaki (a suburb of Dar es Salaam) all the houses are locked away behind giant metal, stone, or brink gates. (And more often than not, some combination of these materials.) On top of the gates are electric wires, shards of broken glass, barbed wire or metal spikes. In other words, the houses are designed to keep people out of them - including - seemingly - one's neighbors.
I've always known that the two houses across the way from me contain US Embassy folks - and I knew that one of them contained the CDC representative and his family. I often thought about walking over there an introducing myself but that would be kind of unusual for here. And anyway, I'm the new person in town. The fresh baked welcome pie should be coming over here instead of going over there.
So imagine my surprise two evenings ago when I got a message passed to me by my gardner/pool guy that the gardener/house guy across the street delivered to him, that the lady of that house wanted to come over and say hi. I passed a message back through my gardner/pool guy to their security guard who gave it to their gardner/house guy who told the lady of the house to come on over.
I assumed that I had committed some sort of offense. After all, why would she show up now, three months later?
Phew... that wasn't it. She had met someone who knew someone who knew me. So she thought - with this high recommendation - that she'd come over and introduce herself.
She didn't have a pie with her. But it was nice, nevertheless.
Aside from being a bit embarrassed when the kids came running, wet and naked from the bathtub onto the patio, it was a nice short visit.
When I asked her what she was doing in Dar (knowing full well that as an accompanying spouse she was likely not working) she give me a big long list of domestic but interesting activities - she is on the International School of Tanganyika School Board, she sails, and she is the Secretary of the Corona Club.
I had heard of the Corona Club. It is a club for accompanying spouses to socialize, but also to volunteer and do other "good works".
I mentioned that I had two friends moving to Dar in the near future with their husbands - both of whom expressed an interest in getting involved in volunteer activities.
"Oh no," she said. "The Corona Club is only for women. We have different issues here and this is a safe space to express ourselves."
And I thought - OK - Gunnar and Phil will probably not be that interested in an all-female club where women sit around "expressing" themselves anyway. But hell... they should form their own all-male club.
They can call it the Budweiser Club.
Or maybe the Rolling Rock Club.
Or perhaps the Guinness Club.
That way when the Corona Club and the Budweiser Club hold joint parties twice a year - there will be plenty to drink.
Talk to you next week.