This week was an exploration of being alone at site and getting to know my neighbors. And I’d rate it a success. Aside from my adventures running, I’ve been visiting my vill a lot. After a particularly long day at school last Friday, I swung by my favorite Mama there. I gave her this bracelet that I made and we chatted for a long time. I sat next to her while she sold fish, mangoes and onions and she cheered me up. It was great. Then, her friend, Mama Fatuma that runs the nearest mgahawa (lil café) made me her concoction of chipsi mayai minus the chipsi with mangoes, tomatoes, onions and even maandazi (the Tanzanian equivalent of a donut). It was delicious. I’d already filled up about an hour ago on rice and beans at my school, but in Tanzania, you always find room for more. I think I’ve forgotten what hunger feels like in this country. The dish was made just for me, but I shared it with all of them and she kept adding other food like rice and more beans.
Next day, after my long adventurous run, I went to do errands in town before the sun set and shops closed. I arrived at Kassedy’s duka to find him spending time with his wife (to say that he was helping her do work is an over statement…he was more just company and a source of snippy remarks. It’s highly amusing.) So, he invited me for a soda and I spent the next half hour watching the locals by lots of phone vouchers, cigarettes, peanuts and fish while he chatted about life at school and here and the fam and all the other wonderful topics that seem to materialize. Afterwards, I dropped off onion bread at Mama Fatuma’s to give to Mama Diana and brought some kerosene on my way home. Before I reached home though, I biked to the mkuu’s and found Mama Msami doing obscene amounts of dishes. I chatted about her day while Happy, her lil daughter, attempted to ride my bike and ended up just falling into a large basin. Then, continuing home, I came across Mama Tom and Baba Tom (my neighbors) . We joked about how snazzy their nephew, DC (a student of mine) looked in his shiny silk, bright pink shirt and then Mama told me that I looked like a sharobaro with my skirt so long. Ooooooh Tanzania. They invited me for dinner, but I’d already cooked some beans so I passed. Then, as doing my dishes, I discovered that they were cooking nyama choma (grilled meat). OMG yum. So Mama tom offered to bring some and within an hour, her two sons were knocking with a dish full of meat. Delicious! I munch while I taught their oldest, Titus, how to use facebook and got him started on an account. Facebook + nyama choma….what else could one need?
This morning I went to church for the first time in Tanzania. I went with Mama Tom after my early monrning run and its was really nice. So nice in fact that a goat wandered in to the church (the doors were wide open) and several old ladies in the back had to shoo him out. All I could think was…”only in Africa…” The service took about an hour and a half, although they started a half an hour late. Later, I went to their house for lunch and watched some of the Expendables with them and their 9 year old son, Malasa while he demo’d his karate moves. He could probably be the next Jackie Chan. It’s adorable. I spent the rest of the day chatting on the phone, munching on biscuti (like cookies), and watching (500) Days of Summer. Later, I went and had a soda at my other neighbors, Shafii and we chatted about life in Tanzania. He’s the nicest old man who owns a really nice house here and another one in Arusha. Basically, he’s like the grandpa that I never had to spoil me. And I love it. His cook is super sweet too and I love chatting. The rest of the night I spent chatting on the phone and now, finally, I’m attempting to write my Form 3’s final. As you can tell by my blogging, it’s going well. : )