Towards the End

September 11, 2009

By the End of my stay I had visited fifty beneficiaries plus a few women who would receive the microcredit in a few weeks to several months time. Most of them I had visited myself with Sarafina, in a couple of them Cristina and Laura would join however and as Peter started his internship at Magdala he’d join Sarafina and me on the interviews. On Friday, my last day at Magdala Tanzania, I let him take over the interviews, myself being a mere observer -except when it came to take a photo, “naomba kupiga picha?”, or as they liked to hear me say “naweza piga picha”, which was wrongly said (and therefore quite funny, it seemed) I learned the very last day…-.

By then Meetings had also been going on for a while, the structure was clear, Kayuna and Tina had taken the lead and Diana was writing the Minutes. The girls and I had made a draft planning of the economic training of the beneficiaries and feeling we lost too much time during translation, we figured out Peter would do great teaching. So there we sat the four of us, out-locked in the balcony, discussing on the best way to teach basic economic concepts to those women from that culture under those certain social circumstances. John gave his approval and Peter performed two times that week. On Tuesday he was good, but on Friday, my last day at Magdala Tanzania, I saw the Meetings were on the right track. Lots of women joined a Meeting directed by Tina, with Peter’s training, and the Groups Leaders closing the circle, a first step to the leading role they were to assume.

While the Field Officers were struggling with Repayment, that same last Friday, we directed the Leaders’ Meeting, one of the most fruitful Meetings we’d have, I must say. The women were very collaborative, they were ready to assume their leading role and they had a bunch of suggestions to improve the viability of the Meetings, Training and the beneficiaries’ performance.

dalla-dalla

Not only had I learned lots from these people, from the beneficiaries, from the Magdala staff and my fellow volunteers, but I left very proud of them as dada na kaka, as sisters and brothers…

Advertisements

Change shall come

August 21, 2009

Apart from visiting women we have started to introduce regular meetings where the women become again the main actors of this project. When they came for repayment two weeks ago, they were told to come the following week either at ten or one to assist at a general meeting. Woman by woman would gather in the patio waiting for other women who were ten minutes, half an hour, forty minutes late. When almost all the white plastic chairs were occupied by women in their most beautiful kangas Kayuna would call us to start the meeting. We would sit more or less in u-form, as for every woman to be able to speak facing all of them, trying to introduce them the idea that Magdala was not just a relation between them and our staff, but between themselves. Having structured the meeting beforehand, the real challenge was having them before us. We’d welcome them, we’d introduce them the idea of the meeting, its importance, the meaning of sticking together, seeking help in us, in the leader and their fellow beneficiaries, and asking them for punctuality. After congratulating some and pointing out the misbehavior of others, the most relevant part was thrilling. What are the problems you are facing? This is the moment to share, to learn from each other, to grow together. Tina would translate and I would wait fascinated at their deep look while silent, until after some instants someone would start speaking. She sells clothes under credit and she faces economic endeavors until they’d pay her, she’d explain vividly, moving a light green and yellow kanga as she spoke with her hands. They’ll look at you searching for a response. Their fellow beneficiaries know way better than you. Do other women sell under credit? Tina translated. Yes. How do they resolve the problem? An experienced woman would answer she has to differentiate between people likely to repay and non likely. One would know very well their customers, and in case anybody failed to repay, she would go to the local authorities. Savings, don’t forget the savings, Tina. Tell her she should always bare in mind that problem and save money as a security. Women would start to share their problems and solutions timidly, little by little. Our beneficiaries from what we’ve seen in the interviews don’t automatically trust each other, and trust requires time, patience and a lot of meetings to be built up.
meeting
During the last part of the meeting we tried to introduce a little bit of training. We started with basic accountancy consisting of three columns they should fill in every day for their personal use: Kipato (Sellings), Matumizi (Costs), and Salio (Profits). Not only for writing –a lot of the women being illiterate-, but for the Jumilisho (+), Toa (-), and Sawa Sawa (=) some would need some assistance, we admitted, but we insisted on them asking us, the leader or others for help. They should stick together, they, not only individually, but all of them were the main actors of this Microcredit project.

Mzungu in Dar

August 21, 2009

‘There are some people who don’t understand that you didn’t choose the color of your skin’, answered this Tanzanian guy as another guy was trying to sell a Spaniard a ride in Bajiaji for ten times its real price. The Bajiaji is a sort of Vespa imported from Asia with space for three –or six people if you squeeze-, usually led by underage boys, used as an alternative to a taxi. It’s quite fun to ride, but it’s also a sport of risk, and if you don’t believe me, ask Tito… that is Titus, as one or another Rafiki (friend in Kiswahili) used to call him.

bajiaji

In Tanzania, you’ll find two kinds of people: Those who will always see you, Mzungu, as walking dollars, regardless of your origin, social status, employment or education. These will charge you the double price and will try cheating on you whenever they can. And then you have the vast majority, who still see you as a Mzungu, but they are incredibly curious and fascinated for whatever reason beyond my comprehension. As you walk children would point at you, saying Mzungu, ‘sister’, ‘morning’, and they would approach you to touch your hands. As you walk people would check if you know well the answer to each of their greetings (Habari – Nzuri, Mambo – Poa, Shikamoo – Marahaba…, each day coming with a new greeting you haven’t heard yet), but they won’t let you go so easily, since with every correct answer they’ll teach you a new word. These people will make sure you feel at home, escorting you wherever it might be dangerous for a Mzungu, helping you out from what seem completely lost situations… all that with a beaming ‘Karibu Tanzania’.

Saint Peter and Paul’s

August 17, 2009

We were living in this local guesthouse on the same road the Magdala office was placed in, Kunduchi road, that is, the main road crossing the district.

The owners of the house was a Tanzanian couple, but the one ruling the roost was Rose, another of these incredible African women. They named the guesthouse Saint Peter and Paul’s after their twin sons, however, people recalled it as Jordan’s Hostel, after the Secondary School most of the guys sleeping there studied in.

During the first month there were also these three children that would ran about and seemed quite fascinated about us Wazungu… the last thing I remember about the five year old girl, Jennifer, was dancing with her in that rhythm that characterizes these African people.

watoto

There was this big living room on the ground floor where all guys, from thirteen to twenty-three including the owners, would gather to see the daily chapter of Second Chance, a popular Latinamerican soap-opera… or met to play Play Station or just sit in very (!) comfortable armchairs watching the news, music clips or just rest or sit while having lunch or dinner.

Saint Peter and Paul's garden

Often I would sit downstairs writing some lines in the Moleskine and then find myself talking for hours with one of the twins, other local students or the Bwana (Sir). I’d have very interesting conversations… they’d ask me lot of questions, the same as myself to them and we’d discuss the problems of here and there… I don’t think there’s anything I couldn’t talk about. As anywhere in the world, there’s people speaking your same language and that regardless of the tongue you speak in. I remember my second day with Malaria, lying feverish on the sofa, when I woke up and found the students playing a soccer game in Play Station, ’cause the teacher didn’t appear. I ‘d end up talking the whole day with them or listening to their music and seeing the last edition of these Black Entertainment Awards from US -I had just learned of their existence-. We ended up spending a lot of time with the twins, especially with Peter since he started his internship at Magdala. Lucky him, getting to be the last one of us to participate in this incredible project.

More than a fortnight has elapsed and there are millions of impressions I’d like to share. I’ve visited a bunch of our beneficiaries, heard about their stories, asked them through, observed their homes, businesses and attitudes and listened avidly to all they had to say.

kokoto family

Some women’s stories are really encouraging, I’d sit fascinated just by the way they’re telling you how
I’d walk with Serafina through Kunduchi, between houses through corridors of barely forty centimeters sometimes, uphill, downhill, walking on ocher sandy soil, too often covered by trash…. We’d arrive at their houses, often consisting of one only room for several family members, or we’d arrive at their businesses, i.e. a sort of barbecue before their own or somebody else’s house, where they’d spend hours from morning up to evening cooking, or sometimes they’d have a small space they’d rent to sell batiki (self-patterned clothes) or they’d sell vegetables or fish at the marketplace…

familia Heri

they’ve improved their businesses thanks to the loan and hearing about their plans for the future. Just yesterday chatting with the Iranian manager of a Wazungu club at the beach in Dar, he said something you’d hear quite often from foreigners here: Tanzanians would be happy with what they have; they wouldn’t fight for more than for their daily bread… They’d be a lot happier if you paid them at a daily basis, he maintained. Also, you couldn’t threaten them they’d be fired if this or that, because they’d think, you can’t know what will happen tomorrow anyway. One day, he told me, this guy bought a bunch of gifts for his friends at this shop, and the next day the shop closed because with that surplus the owner was more than happy. This hakuna matata type of mentality would have saved Tanzania from the wars so usual in other African countries, but it kept them also away from development. It’s a horrible statement, I thought yesterday. Reflecting, however, on the stories of the women I’ve visited, I find it not only unfair but an untrue statement. When your present is uncertain, nobody is able to think about the future, but when you give somebody the certainty of their today and their tomorrow, they’d think of their after tomorrow just the same as you and me. That’s an important lesson these fascinating women teach you with their stories. Monica, leader of her group, suffering herself and her mentally disabled child from HIV and with 3 other children in charge, is already running the second credit, with whom she has managed to run three activities at a time, selling soap, kanga (Tanzanian clothes) and local bites. Were she shortsighted, she would have never reached the second credit, nor would she have started a second and third activity, since that means saving money to use it not to gain your daily bread and that of your children, but to invest it in a business which will report you future earnings.

Friday before Nightfall

July 24, 2009

The last day of the working week was very exhausting for all of us. Fridays are Repayment days, i.e. lots of women gather at the office… which can become quite lively, especially when they hear you putting together a few words in their language. However, the last part of the day is hell, counting exotic animals stamped on little rectangle papers and coins… and figuring out the women remaining to pay, who’ll be followed up on the following Monday.
I also visited three women at the market on the Kunduchi road. Market places in Tanzania are very lively places, full of colors, due to all kinds of fruits and vegetables… People sell plenty of other things, from tins to fish and spices, as well as pieces of edible soil, according to Seraphine’s translation. -Was that what Garcia Marquez’s Rebeca was all about?-

P1010651 P9081623...P1010649

In what seemed as a puppet house of stone, I met Chiku, who is doing quite well cooking in a little restaurant led by several people, serving any kind of local food. She’s one of these people that give me a reason for longing to speak fluent Kiswahili and thus understand everything she has to say… why other women weren’t doing as well, why she was, and what could be done. Most of those who aren’t doing as well aren’t well educated, they don’t know, and instead of diversifying, as she does, they rather specialize in one only sort of food, which is quite risky, provided that there will be other five women doing the very same thing at the very same place. The most difficult task is learning about the improvement of their own and their family’s personal social status… Eventually, in this case, for example, I learnt that thanks to the loan she has not only improved her business, but she has also managed to give a better education to her children.

chiku mbutu resto

Another remarkable woman is Gaudensia, 41 years of age, who having not only her mother in charge, but also 3 children, one of whom has dengue sickness, is already running the second credit. She has managed more than doubling her weekly profit by selling fish and simultaneously leading a stone breaking business.

The third woman I visited was a young woman running a beauty saloon, a very common activity in Tanzania and thus a rather difficult business. She spent the whole credit on a door consisting of a white fabric hanging on a wooden frame and another hair dryer, but that wouldn’t help to attract more customers than before… thus she ended up earning after the loan the same than before. A crude reality slapping on my face…

African Sheriff

July 23, 2009

We had our next microcredit provision for another 50 women on Thursday before noon. In the morning, right after briefing-breakfast, I went with the field officer Tina to the local authorities to report individual cases of women who refused to pay back for no apparent reason.

The building reminded of a Sheriff’s post lost in the desert of a Western movie. The list of the beneficiaries, published right after the identification process at the beginning of the project, still hang on the outside pin wall. People were waiting outside for what seemed like hours, sitting on benches or at the steps to several doors leading to several departments of the local office, I deduced. The doors were widely open and Tina would enter the first door, talking to one officer sitting behind a lonely desk at the end of an otherwise empty room. Next to that was a bigger room with people inside sitting on a bench looking to a group of local authorities for hours. We would wait outside, myself learning Kiswahili numbers, fruits and parts of the body, while teaching Tina fun expressions in Spanish for the next communication with Magdala Spain. We would wait, wait and wait for about two hours until the women who would be reported to the local authorities decided to arrive…

At last one of them arrived, another’s sister came with the due repayment at hand, and we got into the bigger room. The Magdala representatives to my left, said the woman who was sitting behind a desk between 4 other men and 5th seated on a table next to the entrance. The women to my right, I understood. Having everybody seated in place, the woman dressed in a typical African dress in kanga pattern started what seemed as a preliminary judgment without being it… she spoke very politely to the women, making them understand that Magdala and I Muzungu were there only because they had refused to pay, and that being a Muzungu present aggravated the shame they should feel for their attitude. An extravaganza which I understood quite well with no need of translation. Like a phantom lost in space and time, I observed the ongoing scene. Above the officers and on a wired blue wall, hang a crooked picture of President Kikwete. Under him, one of the men talked very politely for quite a long time, until the chief woman gave the floor to Tina first, who explained the money they owed, and then to the beneficiary women, who seemed to agree more or less reluctantly. The chief woman closed the session and something like a Secretary wrote something and put a big stamp on the yellow page of a huge old textbook.

We were free to get back to office… and introduce the local food and exotic places to Laura, another volunteer that would join us for the following months.

We started the week working on the financial program for the economic and social follow-up of our beneficiaries, thus quite isolated from the reality surrounding us. We had our breakfast in the office with an excellent Chai Bora (typical tea from the region) prepared by Diana and some fried wheat triangles we bought on our way. Susana and I worked through all day, finalizing the first version of the program… and around 6 PM we hurried to eat something and arrive home safely before sun dusk. Tina accompanied us for a quick dinner in a nearby place, of which we’ve become regular customers. We let them surprise us… and guess what we’ve had… Chips ma yayi, the Tanzanian version of Tortilla Española!

Kunduchi

Tuesday was Susana’s day of visiting two beneficiaries, coming back with lots of impressions to tell and beautiful pictures of Pwani, where fishers loaded fresh fish and women prepared it right away. In the meantime I’d finish the program and send the final version to Madrid. In the afternoon, we’d talk about it all in a local restaurant where we’d have their typical plate of rice with a bit of beans, spinach, cooked banana and fried meat or fried fish.

Fruit at Kunduchi

Next day was my turn to visit two beneficiaries, Endesa and Valentina. I would study their repayment evolution first, as well as the comments on several follow-ups made by the field officers in previous occasions and their answers on the interviews made during the identification process. With this background information, I’d approach the women and ask them different questions to know about their economic and social improvement after receiving the loan.

P7200527

A Tanzanian girl who speaks some English accompanies us everywhere we go to do the translation… On the way to Mtongani, where these to women lived, she would ask a lot of questions… of whom typical questions are: ‘Do you have a husband?’, ‘How do you compare Spain to Tanzania?’ or ‘Are you Christian or Muslim?’

Walking next to the Secondary School, kids dressed in a light green and white uniform, would look at you, smiling, laughing, joking and some of them honored to be greeted by a Muzungu. Not a single day passes without them teaching us a lesson. Not a single day. Just imagine the opposite situation in any of our ‘Western countries’…

Secondary School

We’d eventually arrive in an area full of little houses with children running about, chickens around and a majestic rooster. Seraphine would indicate me to go through this narrow corridor between two houses, ending up in the courtyard of Endesa, the first beneficiary I would visit. Seven men sat on one side, talking, where this woman suffering form HIV gained her daily bread cooking, a single woman with 6 people in charge, her parents and 4 watoto (children). She’d offer us her only two chairs, sitting herself on the floor and started to tell me her story with this smile and deep look that I would find once and again… She’d answer to my tedious economic questions patiently and answered openly to rather personal questions of which I’d be able to deduce a certain improvement of her social status and that of her family. After that she accompanied us in a 30 minutes walk, where she would teach me some words in Swahili as we crossed the field and a village uphill… until we reached the economic activity she led, a charcoal store, consisting of a 2 square meter area covered by a plastic sheet held by four wooden sticks. Inside lied two great piles of charcoal that someone would transport there and in front of the shop, she’d put little buckets of charcoal together with the aid of her son and then sold them, mainly to private people for their kitchen places.

On our way back we crossed the school children again and they asked me to take a group picture of them, and then single guys would ask, one for a picha (the Kiswahili word for it) of himself and another with the Muzungu!

We visited Valentina at her business at school, and with a kid on her back, this 20 year old girl selling cassava as bites in an area she rented with aid of the microloan. I had the interview with her in front of her house, offering us her two chairs and herself sitting on a plastic bucket. She’d managed to do something for a living, however she’d used a great part of the loan for the burial of her baby a few weeks ago and now she was struggling to make enough money to go on with her activity and gain something from it.

I promised to myself I would buy only there cassava. I went the very next day and she prepared one of the best I’d taste! …but she refused to let me pay.

Women to the office

July 17, 2009

On Fridays we have Repayment Day and that Friday we also held a meeting with the leaders of all Groups and the representatives of Magdala.

Repayment Days are quite an event, woman after woman arrive with their colored dresses, their repayment card on one hand, and often a mtoto (child) hanging on their back with the aid of a cloth of the same fabric as their dresses’ attached with a simple knot… sometimes you would find them feeding their child while waiting to make the repayment. Everyone comes whenever she would find some minutes to leave her business… somewhere between 9 AM and 5 PM. The spectacle, however, occurs around midday when you’d find dozens of women squeezed in Magdala’s groundfloor and an uncountable amount of colors. While entering the foundation, they’d frown at a Mzungu… We’d greet them Shikamoo. Marahaba, they’d answer and they’d smile eventually. Some of them would teach us some words, amused by us being able to speak anything else than English.

Credit provision

The leaders’ meeting was a reunion of the women elected as a leader of and by their own group. Hongera (congratulations), were the words Jaime chose to start with, explaining them what these women and all of the beneficiaries represented for this microcredit project. He addressed the importance of the group, their leading role for the project to develop, to make their economic development happen. Encouraging words translated to Kiswahili, followed by very useful comments, questions and answers from the women themselves. How could we help those who weren’t so good at their businesses? How could we learn from those who were doing better? Could they possibly teach the others? A great deal of questions to be answered within these two months –I wished–  and the following –I guessed.

women at the office

That evening Jaime and Eduardo left for Madrid and we were left in our own hands and those of John and Company. Another step deeper into our Tanzanian adventure…

Next morning we had Jaime and Eduardo knocking at our door… kwende, kwende (let’s go), and they drove us to Magdala’s office, a lonely house a l’Europeenne middle in Kunduchi road… Imagine the most exotic scenario you could think of, and yet you wouldn’t have it. Little commerces, huts and people waiting or selling bites at the sandy side of a paved road. Once in Magdala, we all, the Tanzanian and the Spanish delegation with us volunteers, had our first meeting. We started with a critic briefing of the day before, went on with suggestions for the upcoming big event before the end of the year and organizing the tasks to be fulfilled for the following.

We closed our notebooks and moved to the field. That day we would visit the women working at the Kokota business, an arduous work consisting of breaking stones in very different sizes to sell them as building material, for pavement for example. We walked through the area, a field with little houses of one or very few rooms, mostly provided with a cooking place in front of it. Adults frowned at first and some of them smiled amused when we greeted them, while kids were running around, playing and pointing at us amused: Mzungu. Mambo, we’d say. Poa, they’d answer and they would happily run to their friends. After some walk under the beaming sun, we arrived at the area where the stones where being taken out of the floor with machines and broken by hand, mostly by women, several of which are our beneficiaries. We’d stay about an hour around, visiting several of our beneficiaries, asking them about the profit they earned while doing that activity and comparing it to the profit they made before having invested the money of the loan. While asking one of them, other people would gather around us, listening what these Wazungu were doing there asking difficult questions.

Kokoto

One of them answered rather timidly, while another of our beneficiaries, Fatuma, ‘the business woman’, as we nick-named her, sort of commanding around the employees she had managed to hire with the credit, thus having been able to leave that arduous job thanks to the microcredit. All of it, a panorama hardly imaginable…

Microcredit Inaguration

July 15, 2009

On Wednesday 15th July, Magdala inaugurated its Microcredit project for disabled and albino women, giving the first 50 microcredit loans to these women and celebrating with a great feat a la Africana. It was organized by Magdala and the representants of the disabled in Dar Es Salaam. The inauguration took place in the backyard of a local school. Lots of kids in uniform at the entrance greeted us, Mambo Mzungu (hello white woman / man), some giving uneasy looks, other completely fascinated. It was a huge event, a great deal of people, dressed in colors and colors and colors, were waiting for the first performances to begin. They sat on the side and in front of a big placard of Magdala and the donors, Ayuntamiento de Madrid and Majadahonda. People from the Government of Tanzania sat behind the audience with patterned clothes with the head of President Kikwete printed on it. Before even the speakers would arrive, we had a series of groups singing, dancing… a wonderful African spectacle by the disabled and the albino community themselves. A group of women with different disabilities stood up and started dancing slowly accurately to the rhythm in a circle that more and more women started joining. A group of albino ladies and gentlemen was next, performing a singing and dancing spectacle with all the joy of the world, ending with a solo dancing of one of the albino women, who random people from the audience approached to give her tips for the spectacle. Another hit of the day were the Scissor Sisters, a group of three disabled women, dancing and singing what I interpreted as some Swahili pop music. The show went on, you could smell the happiness due to the celebration itself…

Celebration

Two official cars arrived and the speeches were about to begin. The personalities arrived: The Mayor of Dar Es Salaam, Kimbissa, a very popular man among the people of the city, a member of the Tanzanian Parliament, and the Spanish Ambassador to Tanzania. After Jaime, the Director of Magdala Spain, one after another held their speeches. Even those held in Swahili were self-understanding. Tanzanians remind a lot to Spaniards, by their way of expressing themselves with the hands, eyes and smiles, quite loudly… Especially Kimbissa held a charismatic speech of which we didn’t know a word. Each time a speaker was introduced, a group of trumpeters would approach and play a few notes.

Handing in Microcredits

The icing on the cake came at the end, when the Microcredits were being delivered. Woman after woman approached the speakers assisted by a family member that helped the disabled. Some of them beamed when receiving the credit, most of them had a grave look in their eyes and seized the envelope avidly. Indescribable and unforgettable at the same time.

Nothing but a prelude to a challenging experience that awaited us for the upcoming months.

Magdala

We arrived on Tuesday night in Dar Es Salaam after ten hours of flight and none of sleep, packing the un-fit-able for the time that awaited us in deep Africa… Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam, its coastal commercial capital, in the northern district of Kunduchi, where we would live in an area of extreme poverty, in the midst of the areas where our beneficiaries worked for their life and that of their families… Pwani, Mtongani and Mtacuya.

Our plane stopped at Kilimanjaro and all sorts of Wazungu (white women / men) entered the plane, probably coming from some adventurous Safari (just trip, journey in swahili)… of a very different kind probably than what awaited us.

We arrived at Julius Nyerere airport at 10 PM local time. We were almost there, having passed the corridor with employees standing with their mouth covered, having three forms filled about our address, motive of the journey and health details, we got a big visa stamped on our passport: Karibuni (welcome) in Tanzania. Well almost, we still had to wait for our big luggage. And wait. And wait. And wait. If Murphy had been present, he would have been quite happy… My luggage was missing, a guy told me with a big smile. Pole (sorry for you). Asante (Thanks). What could I say? The adventure had officially begun!

John, Jaime and Eduardo were waiting for us outside, waving karibu. Another pole for my luggage… but at least they did believe tomorrow it would appear in Dar… it was probably exploring the Kilimanjaro, since I hadn’t given it the chance to do so (yet). Taking what here would be a highway in an Asian 4×4 car, driving on the left side of the road, we crossed a great deal of Dar Es Salaam, through Old and New Bagamoyo road up to our Kunduchi. If I had to describe my first impression I would have to say I didn’t expect anything at all and was awaiting nothing but being surprised, which I was and I am every single day that passes. Night and day are complete opposites over here and the first way of seeing it is the darkness at night, with no light on the street but those of the cars and the traffic lights. Once in Kunduchi, we couldn’t miss Magdala’s office and five minutes from there, the guesthouse where us the volunteers would be accommodated. Midst in the darkness we stopped the car in front of a blue gate that hid a house of two floors barely illuminated. A little woman popped out and having recognized the guys, she opened the gate and there we were left in the hands of the housekeepers, Rose and J.. The room had six beds, two mosquito nets and a recently bought ventilator, as well as a private bathroom, with no water!, that is, every morning they would bring water in an enormous bucket for the shower and toilet, and a bottle of boiled water for the teeth. This is working in the field (y lo demas son tonterias)! We went to bed, wearing long sleeves, socks, sliding under the sheets and the bednets… scared of our only enemies: mosquitoes. Lala salama (good night). A great day awaited us the very next morning.

The adventure begins tonight around 3 AM.

We had all very different reasons to dedicate our time to this project, most of which we will discover once being there. However, intuitively I can’t get out of my head a certain passage from this certain book… -who’s translation I don’t have within reach-.

“Der Junge ging zum Fenster, von dem aus man die ganze Stadt überblicken konnte, er sah auf die Türme im Flutlicht und auf die Ostsee, die eine dunkle Wand ohne Tür war. Auf einmal fiel ihm der dritte Grund ein. Während er auf Rerik blickte, dachte er Sansibar, Hergott nochmal, dachte er, Sansibar und Bengalen und Mississippi und Südpol. Man musste Rerik verlassen, erstens, weil in Rerik nichts los war, zweitens, weil Rerik seinen Vater getötet hatte, und drittens, weil es Sansibar gab, Sansibar in der Ferne, Sansibar hinter der offenen See, Sansibar oder den letzten Grund.

Alfred Andersch