August 19, 2009


I did not record many events for various reasons:

1. For the past 2 weeks, there has not been any special happenings, "matata", "lòbèy", "zen" !

2.I’ve been focusing (like a hawk) on August 11th 2009 (my return date).

3.I had to finalize everything at the office before my departure.

4. Most of the Tribunal Staff Members are on leave (vacation).

Below is my last posting, my adieu, finito, "la fin", the end...

BTW, if any of you want to visit Tanzania, especially, Arusha, now is the time (summer months), the weather is ideal, we're just getting into the "warm" season!

Anyways, for the past 2 weeks, life has been boring, there were no special invitations to exclusive, fancy galas/soirees/dinners, just a couple of birthdays celebrations here and there ( epi dat 7)...nothing, nada, "absolument rien".

The young, and brilliant Haitian intern returned to Texas, compatriot #1 traveled to NY, Florida, and Haiti, and for the past 2 weekends in a row, compatriot #2 has been traveling to Nairobi ( Kenya). I' ve been alone, if not lonely. I have not cried for a few days, b/c I’ve been focusing on August 11th 2009.

Compatriot #1 hosted a birthday party for a friend, and I've met another charming, old school, half Belgian/half Haitian intellectual, who has been working for the Italian government, a great conversationalist, "Monsieur" has worked all over Africa as an engineer, economic planner, and an expert in mines and natural resources. Quite a character!

The birthday party was another great (typical) UN gathering, lots of wine, “griyo/diri ak pois congo”, ( rice and beans) ,vegetarian dishes for the leaves lovers (manje fèy), bbqued/ grilled beef. Had so much fun, met some interesting people from Indonesia... a few superb wine bottles, excellent convos...!

Did I mention that the "compatriots" in Arusha are not like MOI, they are “cordon bleu", great cooks, and superb hostesses. These ladies can really, really cook, and they have been so charitable and generous to MMG. For the past 8 weeks, at least twice a week, my dinner plates were "chauffeured", special delivery for MMG, the compatriots have discovered that MMG cannot cook, of course, I've blamed my lack of cooking skills on the frequent blackouts, but we all know the truth.
It was a great birthday celebration; btw, Monsieur Haitian intellectual was so drunk that we had to call the chauffeur to drive him home.

OFFICE REPORT: Another Haitian lawyer joined the Tribunal as Associate Legal Officer, she is originally from Switzerland, ( Haitian parents) but speaks "Kreyòl" fluently, does charity work in Haiti and the whole nine yard.

THE SICK MMG: I caught a stomach virus, was in pain for a couple of days (sore throat), I probably ate some "bad"," Nyama Choma" (bbque raw meat, eaten with just salt).

THE BRAVE & PROUD MMG: For the past 2 weeks I have decided, to walk back and forth to/from work. I haven't used the UN chauffeured cars or hailed a cab...16 minutes of power walking daily.

THE GOODBYES.-ADIEU.-FAREWELL: 2 weeks ago, a simply marvelous Saturday brunch, was hosted by an Ethiopian colleague just for MOI, even the weather cooperated. Great food, lasagna, eggs, (doggie bag anyone?), but the "clou de la soirée" was the coffee ceremony...

The coffee is roasted (charcoal grill), brewed in front of the honored guests, and ceremoniously served in “demi-tasses”. Everyone was mesmerized, snapped pictures; I did the "play by play" of the whole coffee brewing ceremony for the guests! It is still the way that coffee is brewed/served in Haiti (a la mode de chez nous)

Right after the marvelous brunch, I visited the Masai Market, bought loads of goodies, souvenirs for all... btw; the beaded Masai sandals are to die for. . .

Thanks to Compatriot #1 generosity, and charity, I have the usage of a chauffeur driven car for the remaining of my stay in Arusha.

Attended a retirement party at "La Fiesta Pub and Grill", for a Jamaican colleague, 35 years of service to the organization. I didn't stay too long, of course, the younger crowd was headed to Club Masai Camp, I kindly declined the after party invitations, left the party at 12:30 pm...

GREATEST ADVENTURE OF THEM ALL: As I was saying, I left the party at 12:30 pm, went outside, didn't see the car nor the chauffeur, called him on his cell, a couple of times (NO ANSWER), I was getting nervous, just imagine 2 women standing alone in front of a Bar and Grill (past midnite), frantically called the chauffeur again, thank you lord, he finally picked up his cellphone, he was just around the corner...Mr. Chauffeur went around the block to get a drink or 2, if not too many ! He tried to explain his dilemma to MOI in broken English..."La Fiesta's" bar was too expensive for him; he simply went to the shack around the corner, where the drinks are way cheaper. Compatriot # 1 was fuming, but "Houston we have a problem" that we couldn't ignore: The chauffeur was too drunk to drive!

The Haitian trooper in MOI, gathered strength, courage, and volunteered to drive the car; my very first time driving in Arusha. Old British colony, of course the steering wheel is on the right side, and traffic flows on the left side of the roads. Quite an experience! After all, I've been driving on the right side of the road for decades!

Did I mention that I don't have a Tanzanian driver's license? but since I was driving an official UN car/blue license plate (Serial 258), I prayed that I was not doing anything too illegal...anyways, I was better suited to drive than the drunk chauffeur ! I only had one drink (a Kili beer) at the party! Drove the automobile "assez bien", quite well, followed in another car by Compatriot # 1 and other friends/colleagues, didn't kill anybody or hit anything, made it home safe and sound.

Earlier on, I had given the chauffeur 20 000 TShillings (about $ 17.00 US dollars), didn't know at the time, that it was his "drinking” money ;-), therefore, I was shocked when Compatriot # 1, called around 2:00 am , to inform MOI that the chauffeur has been crying, yes, CRYING b/c he didn't have enough $$$$ to go home !
Mr. Chauffeur was escorted to my apartment by the bldg. security guard, the Christian woman in MOI, gave him another 10 000 TShillings ($ 8.00 US dollars) to go home.
Btw, he was still drunk, hmmmmm...thinking about it now, I'm convinced that Mr. Chauffeur walked home and stopped for a few drinks along the way.

The very next day, my Muslim friend invited MOI to a farewell lunch, called the driver, he agreed to pick me up at 2 :00 pm, let us hope that he is sober , Mr. Chauffeur never showed up, Compatriot # 2 had to pick me up.

THE FAREWELL LUNCH: Didn't eat too much (remember my stomach virus), but had the time of my life, the locals were so polite, and humble...the cutest baby boy in Tanzania, fell in love with MMG... Greetings in Swahili from the neighborhood's kids, since my Muslims friends were all educated in Kenya, (British education), they were my official translators ! the kids didn't understand the fact, that I look exactly like them, but didn't speak Swahili. They were all so cute, so full of life, and "podyab", they were playing barefoot in the cold winter temp!

THE CHAUFFEUR.- Finally, called back last Tuesday, back into my good grace, sober and all, has been driving me back and forth from/to work and drove me a few times to different shops/markets... but Mr. Chauffeur is quite a character, he used to work at the UN as an official driver, but he was fired because of excessive absences, when he is drunk, he can be a great raconteur of legendary fables, the funniest of them all: One day , he called his boss, to announce that he was PREGNANT, and couldn't make it to work ! But he is a great guy, a "simple d'esprit" who wouldn't hurt a fly!

ANOTHER FABLE BY MR. CHAUFFEUR: Last Thursday, as he was driving me around town (errands), his cell phone rang, a few minutes later, he informed MOI, that his dear brother just passed away, he just had to travel pronto, to the town of Moshi for the funeral arrangements...of course there was a strong possibility that it was one of his many fables...yet again, the Christian woman in MOI, understood his chagrin, and gave him some extra $$$$$...

LAST ANNOUCEMENT: I have received my $100 dollars refund from Mr. Internet, didn't even have to threaten him, didn't use my AK 47 nor my M16, didn't put a voodoo spell on him...let's just say that I used MY CHARMING & KIND MANNERS (yes, you sickos, I can be charming like that), and btw, I think Mr. Internet was looking for a date with MMG...

Final week in Arusha, and I'm basically alone, everyone has returned home: end of assignments! Time for MMG to pack her bags, in a few days, I will be covered with millions of chocolate kisses/hugs from my kids, a few lazy beach days/ hot summer days never hurt a sista ! I've survived 3 winter months in Tanzania !...I still have a few "goodbye lunches/ brunches/ dinners" to attend...Colleagues at the office organized a farewell party, just for MOI, received a few gifts/ lots of "bon mots", and hugs and kisses!


Coming up next: personal views/opinions.

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