HCTAHBP: Timber!


This guy cut down a beautiful old tree around the corner from my house, more or less by himself. So typical that they thought to have a safety rope to direct the fall of the branch. But not to put the lumberjack on belay.

We kept waiting to hear the scream and sound of a body, or limb falling. Fortunately, it never came.

HCTAHBP: Lumberjack standing HCTAHBP: Lumberjack cutting



A Year of Living Tanzaneously

Today is the anniversary of my arrival in Tanzany with kids and cat in tow. Many people have told us that it takes a full year to adjust to living here. That seems about right to me – things are certainly easier a year in than they were even after 8 or 9 months. 

It has been a year of ups and downs; it has not been easy. But we have had some really great experiences in Tanzania and met some fantastic people. I think the second year will be better than the first, especially if I get a job. (Which my “dependent spouse” visa explicitly prohibits, but more to come on that later.)

I’m beginning to adjust to the zaniness. For example, I wasn’t really surprised this morning when the police offer directing traffic at a major intersection simply wandered off the job leaving the cars to sort it out themselves. Annoyed yes, but not surprised. I gunned the engine and plowed a right hand turn through the intersection … just like all the other cars were doing.

But just when I think I’ve adjusted to life here, I see someone doing something that restores my “childlike sense of wonder” about the ‘zany. Like this HCTAHBP:


So I’ll promise to keep blogging if you will keep reading. It’s always a great motivation to hear from people reading the blog so please keep sending me your feedback.

Lots more to come in year 2.


How Could This Accident Have Been Prevented?

The summer after my Senior year in high school, I worked in the shipping department at Hewlett Packard.  We packed all sorts of mini-computers and sent them off by the pallet-full.  By far the coolest part of the job was driving the forklifts.

Before they would let you drive a forklift, though, they made you take a safety course.  The course was a bit like drivers’ ed course, focused on safety.  My favorite part of the course was a video titled “How Could This Accident Have Been Prevented?”  They had several vignettes designed to hammer home a certain safety concept.  For example, during the “don’t let people ride on the forks” episode, they had actors dare each other to a race and then go careening around with a guy standing on the forks fully extended, 10 feet up.  Right in the middle of the race, the picture froze and the words: “How could this accident have been prevented?” appeared over the image.  Clearly the filmmakers intended you to think: “don’t drive around with people on the forks.” But in every case it seemed to me that the deeper answer was: “don’t hire morons.”  The video was formulaic, but still highly entertaining.

So, inaugurating the first HCTAHBP award, Tanzany edition, take a look at this truck full of gravel that pulled in front of me a couple of days ago doing about 40 mph down the main road of town and not driving particularly carefully.

Do you think it occurred to anyone to ask, “should we put a net on the back of this thing since we don’t have a tailgate door?”  Or at least, “maybe we should drive carefully and not take major thoroughfares.” I’m thinking not.  This is Tanzany.