Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School – Tournament

June 18, 2011

As soon as I hit the bed last night I was asleep…and didn’t wake up till 9:30am this morning when Daryl knocked on the door to wake me.  Didn’t think I would sleep that long…but was glad I did.  Hopefully staying awake the day before will help me adjust to the time difference quicker.    However, we were supposed to meet Bahati at the school at 10am!!  I told him I would walk down as he had to get going for work.  The school is only 10 min walk from the house, so not a problem.    

I got ready, and by the time I got down to the school, it was 10:05am.  However, I forgot that I would need security clearance to get inside, and my Swahili was not really up to par yet!  The security guard wouldn’t let me enter.  He said he hadn’t seen Bahati yet…but I wasn’t sure if we were talking about the same guy or not.  I didn’t have Bahati’s number with me, so couldn’t call him.  We finally managed to find the list that Daryl had put my name on , but the Security Guard still wasn’t convinced he should let me in.

I went back home to get Bahati’s number, but realized I only had Daryl’s.  I sent Daryl a text but didn’t hear back from him.  So I went back to the school, by this time it was 10:30, and still no sign of Bahati.  The security guard then asked one of the workers if he had Bahati’s number…at least I think that’s what he asked.  He just told me to follow that guy!  He introduced himself as Pimba…and as it turned out he was the lifeguard at the pool.  Not sure why he was there…as the pool was closed…but it worked out as he had Bahati’s number.  When I called Bahati, he told me he had just called Daryl to come get me, as he wouldn’t be able to, and to get a Taxi to the school we were going to – Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School.  As it turns out, Tanzanian’s are on their own time and usually 10am means 11am.  Anyways, I then told Pimba I needed a taxi and he said he can get one for me.  So I followed him out of the complex and he took me to a guy in a car.  It didn’t really look like a taxi but I figured Pimba had helped me out so far, I didn’t think they were planning on robbing me, so I took the chance and hired his buddy as a taxi.  I’m pretty sure they overcharged me, he said it was 10,000 Tsh to get there, then another 10000 Tsh to get back.  I told him I only needed one way, so he said it only cost 5000 Tsh to get back then.  I thought that was strange, but he said Pimba was going with us, and he had to drive him back!  I decided not to argue, just laughed to myself.  I’ve been told that Taxi’s will double the fare for foreigners.  I guess just a part of business. 

Wasn’t that bad…1 dollar = 1500 Schilling. I’ve been calculating about 6 dollars per 10000 Tsh.  So the trip cost me $9. 

With the Tschilling, you get 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000 Tschilling notes.  That mean the highest note is worth about $6!  That means you are carrying a lot of notes around!!

It was a short ride to Aga Khan and basketball games were already taking place there.  As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by the principle, as she was expecting me.  I had emailed her earlier in the week asking for the schedule for the tournament.  It was an open tournament and clubs would enter their team.  Games started at 9am and went  on till 4pm.  Again, the gymnasium was outside, and it was another hot day.

This school has 3 kids coming to a Memorial already, as a result of the recruiting trip Memorial did a few  months ago.  Donald is a basketall player, seems ok, but unlikely to be good enough.  There is another kid that has been accepted to Memorial as well, Wynnjones Bernard, but he is also accepted to Washington State I believe.   He wants to come to Memorial to play, and seems to be a really good kid…but perhaps not good enough basketball wise.  He’ll be at the camp this week and I’ll get to see him more so that should be good.

 The level wasn’t that great at the tournament, a few kids  that were decent and a couple of tall kids that could develop into something.   But again, when I ask their ages, they are all older then I expect them to be.

Bahati showed up about an hour later and we stayed and watched a few games.  The school provided us with lunch, so that was great.  I must say that so far I’ve been greeted and treated extremely well.  Seem like incredibly nice people here, and are excited that I’m here to help out and to possibly give some kids the opportunity to pursue an education. 

After watching most of the teams play, we decided to call it a day as both of us were still pretty tired.  And being out in the sun in draining, especially when you are not used to it!  So we decided to head back.  We stopped in a supermarket first though, so I could pick up some things. I always enjoy the supermarkets in foreign countries, as a feels a little bit like being a local.  

Got back home and took things easy for the rest of the evening.  Hoping another good nights sleep and I’ll be on track time wise.


About peterbenoite

I am the men's basketball coach at Memorial University.
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