We are commuting out of Dar es Salaam each day and returning in the dark, spending longer each time on the road because of the traffic and roadworks. We have to use the same (one and only) main road from Dar which carries inland the heavy goods from this busy Indian Ocean port, heading for the land-locked countries of Central Africa.
The theory (which must have seemed good to those that arranged our accommodation) was that we would leave the city when most traffic was entering in the morning, and vice-versa at the end of the day, thus having an easy journey and laughing at those stuck in the rush hour mayhem. Nice in theory but not happening in practice, and the conversation and laughter was verging on the hysterical before we were half way home tonight.
It had been another 14 hour day, very satisfying as the course participants were enthusiastically engaging on this their 3rd and final day of training and we all found the interaction with well-motivated learners stimulating but naturally very tiring. The post-course evaluation tests were frenetic as the pace increased as we neared the finishing post. The closing speech from a senior in the Ministry of Health, the thanks and appreciations expressed all round, the steady rhythmic applause in true African fashion, the ululation and certification were a fitting climax to a successful day.
The return journey involved much overtaking and undertaking in the dark, mostly across double white lines, in and out of heavy lorries in both directions, most of them petrol tankers, surrounded by numerous other cars and 4x4s, motorbikes and kamikaze pedestrians. We were fortified by the thought of a cool beer and the promise made by the hotel manager who was charmed by one of our female doctors into opening the roof top swimming pool after hours, just for the 4 of us.
We were not disappointed. We swam and relaxed under the stars before eating a late meal on the hotel terrace. It was the perfect venue to debrief and share ideas for tomorrow’s new challenge – training potential course-facilitators and trainers – when our collective talent and experience would combine to best effect.