Arm wrestling for a discount, dancing in the observatory, and my departure

Yesterday, Saturday, August 24 found us engaged from mid morning ’till 3 am when the taxi took me to the Kilimanjaro airport.

At 11 am Elineema, Thomas and I went to town to trade a like-new inkjet printer for a simpler, more robust laser. We have come to rely on the hilarious and incredibly engaging stationary shop owner Miqdad. During our prior visit (Thursday) we enjoyed fresh bananas and juice while his employee located a large plastic tarp, tool box, and RAM for Zacharia’s laptop. He saved us hours of time, which is greatly appreciated.

I had asked for a discount to support the project. He hesitated, wanting to but knowing it would cut into his margins. I challenged him to an arm wrestling match. I win–10%. He wins, full sticker price. He reluctantly agreed, both of us bragging a bit before we clasped hands. With employees and customers looking on, I got the discount!

I enjoyed a late lunch with the OSEO board of directors and then a return to the observatory yesterday evening after packing my bags at the lodge. Eineema remained with me until 3 am when he escorted me to the airport before returning to his home near Usa River.

Elineema and I worked with limited conversation, engaged in cleaning up one of the OSEO laptops, copying my full music library, collimating the AWB 5″ reflector telescope (again), fabricating the telescope cover, and a few odds and ends.

I have introduced my associates to Bach, Mozart, Dead Can Dance, Enya, Annie Lennox, Toto, Styx, and more. In turn they introduced me to the Observatory Shuffle, a dance one can enjoy while working on a telescope, tools in hand.

I have come to appreciate and thoroughly enjoy the kind of friendship the people of this region of the world provide. It is sincere, deep, and long-lasting. No social network can replace what we share in person, hand-in-hand working for a common goal.

I admit to feeling tremendously alone today, despite being surrounded by people at the Nairobi airport as I await my flight to Cape Town. I already look forward to my return to Tanzania, the observatory we have built, and the students who crave the knowledge and experience this project affords.

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