Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tunaomba pipi!!! (or “Trick-or-treat” in Kiswahili)

First, before I forget, I wanted to let my Aunt Donna know that I got 2 more of her packages (that makes 4 total at site…thank you! Thank you!) and the latest one, for Halloween, arrived at the post office right on the day of Halloween. It was great! Thank you for all the candy and games for the kids. I can’t wait to play games and give them the prizes : ).
As for updates, I spent last week at site arranging my house and organizing all of my stuff. I was able to move into the big room (since Charlotte left) and clean everything. It was wonderful. I saw Charlotte off to Singida and helped her bring her stuff there. I also got money from the bank and meet up with people from my region that were visiting Singida as well. It was a lot of fun. Then, the next morning I caught the earliest bus back to Katesh and made it in my 8:30. Me and Justin ran some errands before catching the 10:50 coaster back to my vill. I was so happy to get back to site and reclaim what is now my house and also to drag Justin along with me. Between Justin visiting and Charlotte being there, I’ve only spent maybe a total of 3 days actually alone (away from other Americans) at site. So this coming week should be a good adjustment for me. Luckily, I have some wonderful neighbors and I really love the other teachers at my school, so I guess I really never should feel actually alone.
Anyways, back to cleaning and organizing. I spent all of Sunday and Monday throwing things out, dragging furniture to new places and mopping/scrubbing the walls and floors. It was tedious and exhausting, but totally worth it. Justin took over the dishes those days too…which was awesome. Esp. considering his disdain for washing dishes. By Tuesday I needed to return to teaching, but leaving the house was a good change of scene. I taught one class tues, one wed and combined my classes on thurs so that way I could leave site early. The missionaries in Katesh were having a Halloween dinner that I did NOT want to miss. American food and candy? Yes, please!
So, back to my week at site. I put most of the furniture in new places, just so that the house could feel like my own and stuck only my bed, easel and a small table in my new, big room. I also put the big floor mat that I bought in Singida there because I was to be able to do pilates in that room. After scrubbing the walls, Justin helped me hang up the mosquito net and I put pictures and my homemade calendar up. It looks like my own space now and I’m so happy.
We spent a lot of the week cooking delicious food, including lots of breads. One Monday we made paneer using milk that I bought from my neighbor and then naan to go with it. It was awesome! I don’t even think I’d have been that adventurous in the States. Next day we made onion bread to go with a soup of beans and veggies and then Wednesday, Justin’s bday, I cooked mango bread in the morning and, at night, a vegan chocolate cake with homemade, not so vegan, icing. It was delicious!!! I even got my neighbors in on it and we went over to her house so that they could all sing Justin “Happy Birthday.” It was great. Thursday came up so fast. We were planning on taking the afternoon bus back to Katesh but, I talked with one of my fellow teachers who was making a trip in, so we bummed a liftie off him. I went to school early that morning to teach, only to find that my class was taken over by the history teacher. Since I had errands to run in town, I did those while I was waiting and, while visiting the duka for flour and rice, I ran into Mr. Kassedy who offered the liftie. So, I rushed back to school, taught for a little over 2 periods (2 periods is my usual class length…) and then they drove me back to my house. Justin was awesome and had cleaned everything up and organized all the dishes so I just threw my clothes in a bag and dashed to the car. I also took my easel along because I wanted to get it altered in town (it wasn’t tall enough).
In Katesh, we visited the bank where Kassedy joked, again, about me marrying one of the bankers. His name is Adam and he’s a teller at the bank. He’s a real sweetheart, and actually speaks English, although we usually talk in Kiswahili. But, mr. Kassedy thinks its really funny to joke about us eloping. It all began on one trip to the bank with him and my mkuu when mr. kassedy asked Adam if he was married and, when he said no, said that he could marry me. I joked along with it, because getting annoyed at things like that in Tanzania would just make life a whole lot more stressful, but a few days later, when I was really sick at home, Adam called me because Kassedy had given him my phone number. It was nice and all, but I wasn’t too crazy about Kassedy just giving my number out. So, back to the bank, again Mr. Kassedy joked about us getting married, and so I said “twende sasa hivi” (let’s go right now) so they would know that I was joking, and told him that dawry was 20 cows (an expensive rpice in this country). I said when he got them, he could send them home to my father (yeah…get excited about that dad…) and then we’ll arrange the wedding. So, yep, that was where it ended and now I’m avoiding the bank until I HAVE to go there. Although I don’t have ot worry about getting ignored or bad service there now though, which is nice I guess. Well see how long this joke lasts.
After grabbing lunch at the awesome rice and beans place, me and Justin napped and chilled until we decided on kiti moto (fried pork…which is delicious!) for dinner that night. OMG so good. Parents, I can’t wait till you visit because we are going there for sure. The next morning, people came in early, staggered by one and twos, of which Justin from Singida (Justin Q) was the earliest. We grabbed chai and then trekked out to mnada (the bimonthly flea market) to look for Halloween costumes for that night. I already had gotten a Tanzanian primary school kid’s sweater made a few weeks back. The sweater that you see all the kids wearing is the colors of the TZ flag. So, we searched the clothing piles for other’s costumes (someone was a panda, another was batman, wear’s waldo and someone was even a corn stalk) and I bought a school skirt to match my sweater. It reminded we of being back in grade school with uniforms when I put it on. So, around 5 we headed up the hill to the missionaries house and were met by an incredibly welcoming family and a delicious spread of appetizers. There was even cheese dip….oh! the rarity! So we spent about 5 hours eating homemade pizza, veggies and dip and way too much candy, as well as the best cupcakes of my life. One of the most fun parts was playing with their kids, who were probably about 8, 6 and 3. They were super cute and constantly eating candy. They know Kiswahili, but their English is perfect, so it was great because it was like being back home with American kids. I miss babysitting.
We got invited back the next day to watch Game 7 of the World Series, that Steve, the dad, was taping. We partied that night, woke up late the next day and then went back to their house around 3 the next day and watched some great baseball, ate hotdogs and more cupcakes and hung out. It was so much fun. Later that night, we visited Antonio (Justin’s counterpart) at his duka and visited with him. Antonio is by far one of my favorite Tanzanians : ). The next day, Sunday, Me and justin did the usual Sunday lunch at Antonio and his wife, Belle’s house. I taught Belle how to cook banana bread, and Justin brought a chicken and we had another awesome (albeit Tanzanian) spread of chicken, chapatti, rice, beans (she cooks amazing beans!) and cassava. I was stuffed yet again (third day in a row…oye) and around 4 or 5 we waddled back home. After a attempt at napping…which always turns into Justin napping and me just writing letters or going on line, we passed out early. Monday, my last day in Katesh, consisited of staying in bed till 1pm (gotta love Tanzania sometimes), eating fried eggs and French toast and running the last of my errands. I was super proud of us because we even made it on a run before the sunset. Dinnner was kiti moto yet again (I’m addicted!) and popcorn followed. So. Much. Good. Food. Site was looming overhead but, aside from winging what bus I’d catch in the morning, I was actually looking forward to some alone time and continuing to organize my house.
I headed to the standi early this morning (at 5:45am) and chose between either the cheaper bus or the faster coaster (I was going to go with whatever one actually had a seat …I hate standing for more than 30 minutes) and turns out the coaster had one right up front. The coaster actually left right after 6am, which was awesome, and I spent the first half of the ride listening to my ipod while watching multiple Tanzanian bibi’s (grandmothers) shoved their way on to and off of the coaster (a coaster is a small bus). I even witnessed one bibi literally climb OVER a man in the seat next to me to get to the aisle. Tanzanians are not very adept at moving orderly and making room, so its like a jungle getting in and out of those things. So glad that I had a seat. About 20 minutes before my stop, the conductor and the guy next to me figured out that I spoke Kiswahili and so we chatted about what I was doing in Tanzania, where I was from and what I’d do when I got back the states. The conductor didn’t like the fact that I was living alone in Mulbadaw and offered to come live with me. Yeah. Right. I told him I’d manage. : )
So, now, off to teaching and then some chores around the house. Hopefully I can fit another run in. It’s good to be back at site, especially with all this candy in the top drawer of my desk. I feel so spoiled. Thank you missionaries and Aunt Donna!!! You rock.
Siku njema na upendo sana wa Afrika! (Have a good day and lots of love from Africa!)

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