This morning I was sitting in my car on a dual carriageway in a traffic jam! Not moving an inch!
While it may be standard practice for many of you, in your day-to-day commute or simply just getting from A to B ... it really is not the norm here in Dodoma. It's a busy town, much busier than Coshocton where we last lived but everything flows and there is not an excessive amount of traffic or even a rush hour or anything.
With one exception ... when there are VIP's here everything and I mean EVERYTHING stops. The Tanzanian Parliament is here in Dodoma and all the top politicians have residences both here and in Dar Es Salaam. You know when parliament is in session as police and military appear everywhere stopping traffic and you could be waiting for anything from a few minutes to twenty or more!
Then at some point you are treated to a 'car parade' as Abigail calls it. The cavalcade speeds through fast but is motorbikes, cars, 4x4's and they go on and on and on! Usually you hear the presidential or other jet first ... then you know there is a chance of getting stuck on the roads. The President of Tanzania has the longest entourage but other VIP's come with their own train of vehicles too.
This weekend, as a family we avoided town completely. There were way too many VIP's around for the installation of the new Archbishop of Tanzania and it would have taken forever to get anywhere. The only person we really had any interest in seeing was the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who flew in for the occasion.
Lucky for us, he flew into Dodoma via MAF and so right at airport, on arrival, we were able to see him before all the craziness really set in!
He was given quite the welcome. Bishops and clergy, politicians, tribal dancing ... the list goes on! This was his first visit to Tanzania since becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury and he really was treated like royalty.
Thankfully, the weekend went off without incident, although there was some concern before and now all the VIP's are heading out again. There isn't much here worth sticking around for to be honest!
That means that as this week progresses there will be less and less reason for all the traffic to be stopped again and life for the rest of us lesser beings will go on without sitting in anymore jams ... until the next time!