Sunday, 16 October 2011

Maporomoko ya maji (Waterfall)

And the word for waterfall is.....maporomoko. Say that 10 times fast. And to a Tanzanian.

Yesterday ended a week of attempted teachign at my site, a small adventure in the village where I got multiple free lifties and a bunch of free tomatoes (my tomato selling mama loves me...) and then, of course, an excursion to Katesh.

The teaching as site was merely an attempt because the first class we just went over homeowrk for a good hour or so. And then, next class, I discovered that they'd sent about 2/3's of the students home because they hadn't paid their school fees. So we played a jeopardy type game that I made up somewhat impromtu-ly and then reviewed NECTA questions and ansswers.

After chai, I headed back home, packed and camped out on the side of the road for an hour hoping for a liftie to Katesh, but ended up just grabbing the 2pm bus that traveled past. Happy, the mkuu's daughter, kept me company as I waited.

In Katesh we chilled with Kristen, a PCV from Singida region who is COS-ing, then visited Antonio and his wife, Belle, in their duka (as usual). All this was intermixed with lots of phone calls to friends from my training group, so it made for a great time. Friday was a lazy lazy day that started with banana pancakes, combined with lots of painting of Justin's extra room (we painted the Tanzanian flag, Mt. Hanang, and the face of the Cat-in-the-Hat...Justin can take credit for the last one). The night ended with some really good chicken, a few beers and a very failed effort of getting all the paint off our bodies. Kerosene was our paint thinner so we still either have spots of paint randomly on our feet adn arms, or smell deliciously like kerosene. Oh, Africa, the things that you do to us! Or, lead us to do to ourselves.

Saturday was our adventure day. We took a 2hr bus ride to Dereda, a bigger town on the way to Babati. Duncan was supposed to meet us in his town on the way there, but somebody never ended up waking up on time. Oh well! The only reason that we were heading to this town was because Duncan had told Justin that there was a waterfall there and you could hike to it. So, upon arrival we realized that, well, not only did we not know where to go, but the word for waterfall in Kiswahili. Oh, the uncertanity of it all! :) So Justin pointed us in the direction of the mountains ahead and, after calling another PCV to look up the word for "waterfall" in Kiswahili (we tried asking what the word was by describing it, but they just kept saying the English word after we'd tell them. Urgh.) we asked for directions every 10 minutes or so until there were basically no people around. By that point we'd gotten to a substantial looking river, so we just kept following that and about 45 minutes later (it was like a 2hr hike) reached the most beautiful falls I've seen (Nigara is just too big to compare...). We swam for a really short bit b/c the water was as freezing as Lake Michigan in June but it was so worth it. There was bascially no path that last part so we had to look for little opening in the brush or just make our own. On multiple occasions, I used several tree branches to keep me from sliding back down. And my arms were actually sore from all the climbing of rocks when, at times, there was just no better way. Don't worry, Mom, I felt incredibly safe throughout the whoel thing and made sure to never truly lose my footing but, goodness, it was such a great hike!!! By the time we got down, we were STARVING so we grabbed rice and beans and then caught a bus home. My body was so dead from all that hiking and climbing that it felt so good to roll into bed and I ended up sleeping literally 13 hours that night.

Sunday, we went to another nice lunch at Antonio's house, had some wonderful food and, well, the best chapati that I've had in country. Then, we visited Anotonio at his duka and manned the counter while we ran some errands. I got a free lollipop out of it so I was happy. It's a good way to practice Kiswahili and get accustomed to the prices of things like sugar, flour, pens or yeast. Oh, my Kiswahili teacher would be so proud!

Monday Dana came to visit and I also discovered, via Justin's encouragement, that there was a 6am bus (which is really like 6:30am) out of Katesh so, since I wanted to spend more time with Dana and Justin and I didn't teach till later Tuesday, I decided to try that. Besides, my mkuu was supposed to give me a liftie home and he bailed somewhat last minute, and I really hate being rushed onto a bus. Traveling gets easier day by day but it still gives me butterflies. I'm sure after a year here, that'll change.

Unfortunately, my stomach isn't agreeing with, well, any food that I eat, so I'm actually staying home today to rest and sleep because I don't think that throwing up at school will do anyone much good. Also, today is Charlotte's going away party at school, so it's a shame that I have to miss that. But alas, more parties will materialize. First I just need to get well.

Kwaheri for now and all my love! <3

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