Monday, 29 August 2011

And today was…

A Success. Granted, by Tanzanian standards, but success none-the-less. What did I do? Well, let me tell you : ) Woke up early (darn I’m tired) to a nutritious breakfast of white bread, blue band butter and cinnamon (note the sarcasm…still haven’t lost that, thank goodness). My mkuu came hodi-ing around 7:30 to walk to town to drive to school, to meet the students and teachers. Notice the chain of events. Quite organized, one might say. So, the mkuu introduced me in the staff room this morning and then at parade to all the students. That was awkward…but unavoidable : ) The school is smaller than I thought, with enrollment of 402 students, and there are 12 permanent teachers, including me and lots of temporary ones. That’s a pretty decent class size. I was happy to hear it. After my brief stint at the school (I attempted to discover who’s teaching what but ran out of time) I went into town with the Mkuu, and 3 other teachers. We were supposed to greet and be introduced to the district heads, but off the 3 offices we went to, no one was in, so we went to the police station instead where I was introduced to chief of police. When we pulled up to the station I’d jokingly said “Am I in trouble?” and then, my mkuu proceeded to tell the chief of police about that towards the end of our meeting. Oh, did I blush! But that wasn’t as embarrassing as when, while waiting to talk to the chief, I was sitting on the edge of a bench with my mkuu and another man on the other end. But, somehow they decided simultaneously to stand up, leaving me perched on the edge and the bench tilted drastically in my direction. I jumped off, but not too soon as it made a loud thud then it returned to the ground. Worst part though? No one seemed as amused as me. Is it only American humor that would find that so funny? Oh, and it was only 11:00. Oye! : )

Afterwards, we went to a little café for chai and then shopping for things on this massive list I’d been creating since coming to site. I’d checked at the local duka (in Mulbadaw) yesterday, but was only able to get like 1/4 of what I needed, and in Katesh I found like another 1/2, but the last 1/4 I’ll need to go to Singida for…it’s like a hierarchy of towns. So, it was great wandering around though with those teachers, because they knew where to get everything and I didn’t feel like I’d get ripped off with the “mzungu” price. We saw the “pick and pay”, the soko (market)…which was phenomenally clean and well organized…I was shocked…, and the electronics store, a fundi (in this case I’m referring to a tailor) that Jeniva likes where I think I’ll take my dress tomorrow (its too wide), and the stendi where the buses stop, the “nail” salon, a chipsi joint, goodness, so much. I did also find this kitenge that I loved too…and I’d been searching for a while for a nice kitenge. They are everywhere so I’m being really really picky on the fabric. I have 2 years here, I think that I can afford to be.

So, I’ll skip anymore details here because we spent a lot of the rest of the day waiting around to drive back and then driving back to Mulbadaw (I got a lot of texting in at that point…). When I got home, despite being pooped, I went for an awesome run on that path charlotte showed me and it was just as pretty as I thought yesterday. You get the best view of the sunset and at the top of a little rolling hill, you can see the elevation of the surrounding areas. It’s beautiful, and it looks to “Afrikan” or at least what I picture Africa to look like before I came here. I kept trying to convince myself that “yes, this IS Africa and I’m actually here”…but I kinda failed. But, in case anyone was wondering, American music still does drastically improve the quality of a run, even here. It’s super awesome. Thank you Rihanna, TI and Akon. I owe you one.

Also…in case you don’t have fbook, here’s my most recent status that you may find amusing. This experience, along with the multitude past and to come, will be the reason that I will have an astounding amount of patience when I return to the US. So, here goes:
You know you're in Tanzania when...you are waiting in a hair salon to get your nails done (yes, you read that right) and the 2 women next to you start peel and cutting vegetables (specifically mchicha) for lunch, but not before one of the stylists handed you her bag of used clothes to skim through and see if you'd want any. And after 45 minutes of waiting, you still didn't get your nails done. But you weren't surprised or disappointed, because, heck, this is Tanzania, sir.

Tanzanians also do this high pitch “ah!” sound in the middle of like every conversation, no, every sentence that they here and it sound like it should be a utterance of surprise, but it always comes at the most random, boring of parts. For example, today I was talking about going home to cook and I said in Kiswahili “I think that I will cook rice…” “Ah!” “…and beans and mchicha” (pause) because I don’t eat meat.” “Ah!” Now the second one was well placed, but the first…goodness knows why. It’s like a quick inhale of air and basically every time that I hear it, I have to fight the urge to mimic the sound in response (sometimes I give in and do it anyways…they never seem to notice).

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