Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Kola Hill

I lied on my last post. It's called Kola Hill not Kona, oops! Either way, its beautiful. I wish I had a way to post pictures because the view is unforgettable. I met my host family 3 days ago and they are wonderful. They consist of my 22 year old host sister, Happyness, who speaks the most english and is a bit sassy. She's looking for an American boyfriend if anyone is interested... :) Also, Rita, the mom, who is kind but quiet. Her enlgish is highly limited, so I practice most of my Kiswahili on her. Then comes Rogers (pronounced Roy-ez) who is 14, loves soccer and incredibly sweet. He's walked me home from the daladala (I'll explain later) stop twice now. Lastly, Lightness (I don't think I'm spelling her name right) who is 7 and I just met yesterday because, I think, she was away at boarding school. She is so cute and sweet too. One of the first things we did yesterday when we met was play hand games. She taught me an African version of patty cake and eny-meany-miny-mo (spelling?) and I taught her the American equivalent.
Happyness does most of the cooking and cleaning, and the food is awesome :) The staples are ugali (mashed corn), pilau (rice with a slightly sweet brown sauce eaten with bananas), wali (cooked white rice) and beans, cabbage, and some cooked spinach looking dish served at literally every meal that tastes...well...interested. Chris and Mish, you would never eat it :) My host fam made it out of pumpkin plants leaves. For breakfast we have things like chapati (delish mix between a tortilla and naan), hard boiled eggs, cooked sweet potatos, papaya, andazi (like little donuts but much less sweet...they taste wonderful though!) and chai (tea). There is also Chai time from 10-10:30...which apparently occurs everywhere in TZ...where you have basically a second breakfast. It's interesting....I'm not opposed :) Also, I'm now not worried at all about not getting enough protein and such...I've had plenty. I've also started drinking milk here because they have their chai (which is really like an english breakfast type tea) with half milk, half tea and a generous scooping of sugar.
This is now our third voyage into town. Its a crazy crazy adventure everytime you step outside the little PC sanctuary they basically confined us to for the first part. There are Pikipiki's (like small motorcycles) zooming by everywhere and daladala's (small bus's) constantly pulling over and asking you if you need a ride. Cars and bikes frequent the main road "Old Dar-es-Salaam Road" in addition to the numerous people walking, many with baskets of bananas or other necessities on their heads. It's fascinating to watch. I've attempted this feat several times now and I never seem to manage. Inside Morogoro is a bustling center of dirt sidewalks, tons of dukas (little shops selling anything from phone cards to stationary to sandals). The drivers here have reversed the American road rules since the pedestrians halt to pikipiki's, which halt to daladala's, which halt to anything larger. Basically, if you don't move, you will get smashed. Don't worry Mom, I'm incredibly more cautious when crossing the street!
Our days consist of waking up under our mosquito nets, getting dressed and brushing our teeth, drinking tea (chai) and heading to our daladala stop. There we start class at 8 and have anything ranging from Kiswahili (which we have a lot of) to Health session (usually followed by a tantalizing round of shots :) )to security sessions to teaching info. Then, our day is broken by chai at 10, chakula (it means food but is actually just lunch) at 12:30 and we are usually done by 4, sometimes 5. Then we head to town or home because we need to get home by 6:45, when it gets dark. Living without a Western toilet, warm shower, gas stove, reliable electricity, washing machine and safe-drinking water has been an adjustment, but its totally managable. My host sister is going to teach me how to wash my own clothes this Sunday. Apparently there is quite a process. Eek! I haven't made it running yet because we've been so swamped, but both my host bro and sis said that they may come with me. (Mom, another thing you don't need to worry about)
For dress, the people here wear everything below the knee and covering the shoulders. The most common piece of clothing, a khanga, which is basically just a sheet of material that people drape around themselves to cover their legs (mostly), top or both. I bought one the other day that I wore today and I have to say, its comfy, but not the most movable thing. I'm pretty energetic, so mine has almost fallen off a few more times than I can count. Good thing I've got these leggings under it. This morning, it was the best when a woman literally stopped me on the street, asked me about my khanga and then readjusted it for me. I thanked her genereaously and laughed. Oh you must love the Tanzanians!


  1. Keep posting. I love it... I feel like I'm sitting across a cup of tea listening to you in person! :) It sounds like you have the most wonderful host family!

  2. Ok, Happyness and Lightness have to be the best names I've ever heard :D And you're probably right, I wouldn't eat that spinach-looking dish. But I'm loving the corn and rice and beans <33 Your experiences in Tanzania sound AMAZING, and I love reading about them - sorry I haven't commented until now! My goal is to read all your posts from now on and comment occasionally, so hopefully I can keep it up. Love you lots Steph ^^