Monday, July 16, 2012

My Morning Commute

Having only ever ridden a school bus
View from the left side of our office balcony
for one year of my life, the novelty of having the Aga Khan
Foundation trucks collect us for work early each morning will not wear off soon.  Nor will our commute with the view of the Indian Ocean as we wrap around Pemba Bay and bounce up the bumpy road lined with colourful stalls and vendors and join the small army of pickup trucks decked out with emblems of other international NGOs and donors.  As we bump along, the ocean is to the right and houses and small shops line the left of the road.  We see fishermen preparing their nets and boats, women setting up their cashew and fruit stands, and children in various stages of being dressed peeking out from doorways.  With the sun rising at about 5:15am, life is in full swing when we're driving to work and even with a week in, I can barely make conversation as I observe all of the life around me.  

View from the right side of our office balcony
Indian Ocean in the background

Monitoria e Avaliação
Although our first day was met with torrential downpour, we arrived at the Foundation compound which is a cluster of small houses and larger complexes on a plot of land.  For those from Maui, it is similar to Haleakala Waldorf School where each department’s office is its own small house with several rooms, a kitchen, and bathroom.  The most wonderful part of the offices is that every house has a large balcony with 180 degree views of Pemba Bay and the beach below, framed by tall trees.  Our office, Monitoria e Avaliação, is housed with the Habitat, Gender, and Civil Society components and after a series of introductions (and futilely trying to remember names) that first morning, it became clear that proficiency in Portuguese is the first goal.  Everyone was very friendly and interested in where we were from and in which department we were working.  It was all a bit overwhelming, but it was so nice to finally be meeting the people and seeing the offices I had imagined so much about in Ottawa.

The "bus"
Ashlea and I are still getting to know our colleagues and the rhythym of the office and how we will be a part of it.  In the meantime, I now wait on our front step for the short honks that let us know it is time for work and I am always a little disappointed when it’s time to get out of the truck.  It has become one of my favourite parts of the day.

Part of the AKF fleet
View looking down from our office

Up the road from our office towards the entrance

View from the side of the office


  1. It must be very exciting to work in such a beautiful open enviroment.

  2. Wow, what a grand place to work from.