Tuesday, 4 October 2011

If its not a 5 inch wide spider…I’m not scared of it


I’m back at site after a wonderful weekend in Katesh (again…dunno when I’m going to find enough excuses to stay home for an entire week…) and it feels great. Last week, I battled off a nasty nasty huge spider for a good 3 hours while intermittently talking on the phone, dropping the phone screaming, deconstructing and then reconstructing my entire bed and, well, just trying to sleep. It was great. So far I’m only killed one huge one, but then again, I’ve only been back at site for one full day. I taught a bit, chilled with the teachers more, wandered home through the village and chatted up my mama’s that I love and finally cooked some beans and veggies while running, journaling and just organizing my life (some things never change…even in Tanzania).
While in Katesh, I initiated the making for 2 stools for my house and an easel (I’m dying to paint!). I’ve already bought little cans of oil paint and brushes, and am currently scoping out places to find a canvas to paint on. This would all never be possible without the help of my wonderful teachers. Mr. Kassedy gave me a lift to Katesh last weekend and then took me to chai and eventually we made it to the wood shop. After explaining for about 20 minutes what an easel is, we parted ways and I went to chill with my sitemate, Justin, for the rest of the weekend (Ah! English galore…so nice). Lauren, a PCV nearby was over too and we had a wonderful time just doing nothing (my fave!) before she ehaded back to site. Justin was pretty sick with a nasty headache so we took it easy and I chatted it up with Brie, one of my favorites all the down in Lindi for, oh, about 3 hours straight. The Zain plan (the cell plan we are all on so that we can talk free) kept kicking us off every hour…apparently it thinks that we talk too much. So next day, after more resting and a visit to the hospital, Justin recovered enough and we went to visit his counterpart, Antonio’s duka. Antonio is, well, basically completely awesome. He’s super friendly, personable, speaks English and Kiswahili (but we all usually use Kiswahili more), determined (from what I can gather he does a great job of helping Justin with his projects) and, most importantly, he smiles and laughs all the time. So fun! So we hung out there as we usually do, for hours on end, and I even got to chat with the parentals (miss you guys!) for a good 40 minutes. It was wonderful. Although I think that I thoroughly confused then when I handed Antonio the phone at the end of the conversation and he tried to tell them something. So funny : )
The next morning I returned home via bus which was only my 3rd bus ride back to site despite traveling a lot. I’m a liftie-hog I think. But, it was ironic b/c on my way to buy a ticket for my bus home (I hate sitting in the back so I wanted to sit near the front, in which case, you need to go like an hour early to the standi and get your ticket) I saw my mkuu (headmaster…he’s the one that I get a TON of lifties from). So I went to salimia (greet) him and see if maybe he had room. He said that his car was full because the two women in the back were very wide (he said fat but just writing that seems wrong). This is super Tanzania to comment on women’s weight without a thought or regret and in fact, them being fat is really just seen as a good thing. Except when I want a liftie. So I said no problem and then Mr. Kassedy, who was also there, started chatting it up except, when I told him I was going to buy a ticket b/c I wanted to sit in the front, he shuffled me away saying “Go now!” It was highly amusing. I got back to site at about 3 that day and was just about to do, idk, chores, dishes, unpack, organize, prepare lessons, cook…anything! And this neighbor’s wife, who’d just come in from Arusha, came over and let herself in our house and then, in the process of looking for Charlotte, checked out my room. Um, Excuse me?? I was a bit taken a back. No, a lot taken a back. I was really nice but it was pretty evident that she wasn’t going to leave. And she just sat there quietly too, which was awkward. So, when she saw me starting to cook, she took the beans from me to sort them and then proceeded to instruct me on how to cut tomatoes and onions. Um hmm. Yep. No cool. About a half an hour later she wandered into the neighbor’s garden, who happened to not be home, and took 3 eggplant. Okay, really? I asked Charlotte about this later. That just did not seem right. She said it wasn’t cool, even by Tanzanian standards, but when I asked the neighbor today, she said “hamna shida” (no worries). Goodness this culture is different.
Today was consumed by me waking up freezing. Brrr. Then drinking coffee so that I could ACTUALLY wake up. Then preparing my notes for lessons. Then, finally, walking to school which turned into walking and talking on the phone with Justin (in Pemba…not sitemate Justin) while discussing the minute facts of life like, what color bracelet I should make for him at IST. Then I taught another great class. I LOVE my students : ) and then, ate some maandazi, prepared lessons for Thursday, wrote mom a letter, joked with my teachers…oh, they love to hear my opinions on the food and just about everything here!...and then, after lunch, headed home at like 3. I caught up a bit with Hannah while heading home but then, when I reached the village, stopped to buy the veggies and greet the duka owners that I know. One particularly nice one invited me over for lunch on Saturday (IDK if I’ll go to Katesh again this weekend…I need to pick up my stools and such…) which was really nice. When I finally made it home (after greeting like 3 neighbors too…) I started the beans (which take like 3-4 hours to cook) and got ready to run. The run was short but nice and I came back to some yummy food and, eventually, a gentle rainfall, which made the air smell SO fresh. Tomorrow I don’t teach until 12 something so I’m going to stay home in the morning and cook banana bread for the neighbors and clean dishes and, perhaps go for a long run. Tutaona (we will see). The hardest part about coming back to site from Katesh: switching back from English to Kiswahili. I really don’tmind speaking Kiswahili…I learn something new every day and I feel really proud…but it’s like a switch in your brain that you forget to turn off. Even tying this blog there have been so many words that I’ve almost written in Kiswahili before stopping myself. Even when PCV’s talk to each other here, we insert Kiswahili words frequently. It just makes more sense. Okay, basi (enough). Good night and greetings from Mulbadaw!!!

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