A real lesson in honesty
For some further improvements (well… that’s to be seen) of the second house we set off to buy some sand which we used for cement. So Rafal (a holiday guest, he was the building site’s supervisor, while I did the work) and I took the car to a house in the neighbourhood to buy the sand. We knew from earlier that one bag would cost us 2’000 Shilling. We ordered 5 bags and helped them carry them into our car. When we asked for the price, the answer was: “10’000 Shilling… or, ehm, 15’000 Shilling. While Rafal was almost willing to give in, I explained him that I was of the opinion that we should buy our things at the “normal” price since otherwise we wouldn’t have to wonder that the prices double each time they see a Mzungu. So we convinced the seller that we knew 1 bag cost 2’000 Shilling, so we would not be willing to pay more than 10’000, to which of course he agreed immediately. When we drove off, we just quickly stopped because I wanted to check the bags did not fall over in the trunk. To my surprise I counted 6 bags loaded in there. So both Rafal and I agreed that we would also need to be correct to them and pay the additional 2’000 Shilling for the additional bag of sand. Pleased with our honest ways we drove back to the house, where, while unloading the car, we found out that the sixth bag was simply holding the spare bags we took with us, but no sand. It took us a while before we could stop laughing and start working again… The works will by the way soon be finished, and as soon as the battlefield is cleaned up I will publish proof of it….
At another occasion, just besides the sand seller, we passed a dried out patch of dirt that once used to be grass. On a closer look we saw some kids building together a soccer goal from some tree branches. We stopped the car to talk to them and found out they were a bunch of friends that met every day after school (for the ones that are lucky enough to be able to go there) to play. I asked them if they had a ball, which they declined and showed me that they played with some self made ball. I promised to come back the next day to bring them a small surprise. Before I left Switzerland I was glad enough to receive some unused sets of jerseys and real soccer balls of my football club in Embrach. Also, Patrick knows the coach of “Mbezi Beach FC”, a club in our neighbourhood. They too, even though they play in a regular championship, do not have jerseys to play with. So the following day I filled the car with 4 sets of jerseys, shorts and socks and 3 soccer balls, and we set out to distribute them. It is difficult to describe the joy of the kids and the sparkling in their eyes when they received a complete set of jerseys and a real ball on top. Moreover, because we’ve found 2 groups of boys in our neighbourhood, we were even able to arrange a friendly game between them for the following day at 4 o’clock. I promised to be the referee in that game. It turned out that a referee was indeed needed, since the game (it was two neighbouring hoods, so maybe to be compared to a game FC Embrach vs. FC Bülach) was taken very seriously, and when finally the first side opened the score, their goal celebration was like coming straight out of the “Coca-cola” TV-advertisement with Roger Milla… Only once I was allowed to quickly stop the game (when I wanted to whistle for break and change of sides after 30 minutes, they said no, we just play on…) and that was when a small herd of cows and goats crossed the field. A big thank you again to Dani Fischer and the whole of FC Embrach for the generous gift which I can promise is in very good hands.
I’ve been asked by different people if I or we have been able to help our neighbour family mentioned in my blog entry “The road trip”, and I’m happy to confirm that this is the case. Firstly we were able to offer her a part-time employment, so she takes care for our household on Grace’s free day which will enable her to earn some money. As a second thing, we have been out shopping this week, and filled a bag with plenty of food. Since Ugali (something like the African national dish, made of wheat flour) is probably one of the cheapest meals, a lot of poorer families do not have a big variety in their nutrition, but mainly eat Ugali. So we tried to provide them some variety and bought plenty of chicken, eggs, milk, carrots, oranges, oil and beans. The mother was unspeakably happy when she saw this, and told us she cannot remember the last time she had had chicken meat. So for sure we are going to repeat this again soon…
Since I will go on a short holiday (just because it’s 35 degrees every day doesn’t mean I’m on vacation here…) for the next 2 weeks, please don’t expect a blog entry from me during that time, but I shall be back with plenty of pictures from Mikumi National Park and Sansibar afterwards…!
Take care until soon