Tanzania Day 5

7 06 2011

Ludacris is the unofficial face of every barber shop in Tanzania. They use either some really cheesy picture of him with a fade going on, or else it’s a drawing. Sometimes you see Tupac, but almost always it’s Ludacris (and…so it is). I’m curious to know whether he knows. “The country must have a blanket license,” squawked my producer.

As we drive through the countryside, looking for one particular village, we pass all kinds of people going about their business, children in uniforms walking to or from school, men with buckets washing motorcycles. The red, green, and yellow of roadside markets stream by at 50 km/hr. Women in sandals walk along the shoulder, preoccupied, the sun glistening off their dark shoulders. And it occurs to me that I have fallen in love with East Africa.

Then one of us sees a poster of Osama bin Laden, and the car falls silent. When a massive cement factory appears on a hilltop, it gives us cause for conversation.

We find the village we’re looking for, and begin setting up for an interview at a busy crossroads in the foothills. I call the location a “soundstage”, not because it’s a professional and controlled filming environment with craft service tables and air conditioning, but because there are about a million sounds to drive me crazy. In descending order of frequency there were: motorcycles (which act as cabs), busses, heavy trucks, SUVs and airplanes.

After the interview cant find out driver. We find him asleep in the car, and we start back down out of the hills and south towards Dar. On the way, he makes an unexpected stop to run into a pharmacy. It turns out he has malaria.

That night we are joined at a chinese dinner by none other than the deputy minister of health of Tanzania. Ma’am’s is not partial to fish, but loves noodles. And she is 100% behind auto-disabling syringes. She provides us with a letter granting us access and permission to shoot at the hospital in Dar. That will be our first stop tomorrow.

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