Let’s catch up:
1) Radi is doing great. He’s growing super fast and super well. All the food that my Aunt Donna has been sending him (thank you!) has been doing him good…and he loves it all. He still cuddles with me every night and I love coming home to see him. He’s my child, no doubt about that, and I love his company. He’s definitely the most spoiled cat around and the only one that my neighbors aren’t scared to pick up or play with. They always ask me if he bites me and it takes me so long to explain that yes, but only when he’s playing and he never bites hard.
2) I expanded my garden. I had mentioned to my neighbor last week that I wanted to make it bigger and add 3 more plots and when I came home from school that Monday, it was done!!! She’d hired the random guy that passes by here to expand the thorn fence and dig 3 more plots. That day we transplanted onions, eggplant and tomatoes. Then I added some plants of Chinese spinach, spinach and green peppers. Fingers crossed they grow!!! I’ve been rather vigilant about watering it, unlike my usual habit of neglecting the things that I love (aka…my cat Pepper, my fish…what’s his name?...my…enough? Okay…)
3) My newest obsessions on the food frontier are as follows:
a. Cookie dough eaten serving size. This is accomplished via taking 2-3 spoonfuls of the packaged dry dough that my parents send me, mixing it with a spoon of water/oil and mixing. Since, let’s face it, cookie dough is usually better than baked cookies (unless they are fresh out of the oven…but, oven? Tanzania? Those too words don’t mix…) the dough is the best after meal snack.
b. Wine, wine, wine. I recently that you can buy 5 liters of red wine for 38,000Tsh…which is, oh, about $23. And the wine tastes like the 8-10 dollar bottles that you can get at the grocery store. At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic, I’ve been enjoying a glass each night out of my beautiful wine glasses and I couldn’t be happier. I always thought that drinking aloen was crazy, but my nightly glass just makes me feel classy. It brings me back to my college wine and cheese nights. Wonderful!
c. Popcorn! I’ve been stocking up in Katesh and popping some every few days while watching a movie…or three. Delish! And the safflower oil my neighbor gave me makes it taste buttery without the butter. Double yum.
4) Last week my girls that I took to the girl’s conference taught their first peer education class. I could NOT have been more proud! They taught two sections, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health/family planning. They taught the girls of Form 1 and 2 and it went so well. The girls asked so many questions and the ones that taught, taught for over 2 hours! They went over the structure of the reproductive system, contraceptive methods, transmission of HIV/AIDS, and did a condom demonstration on soda bottles. I was like a beaming mother when they finished. This week I’m hoping that they can finish their sessions. And then onto the Form 3 and 4 girls! The boys have been complaining of being left out but, alas, they’ll get their chance. I might invite a health volunteer up to teach them sometime soon.
5) TURKEY!! I leave in a little over 3 weeks. Could I be more excited?? Nope! I’m staying with Holly Jones and her family and they are being so generous. They have a private driver that’ll be picking me up from the airport, a guesthouse that I’ll have all to myself to stay in and, this week I just found out that, because they’ll be flying for the weekend to Ephesus, I’ll be tagging along there too. OMGoodness, I could not be more lucky or blessed. I can’t wait for that adventure. I’m also just so happy to be able to see them all.
6) House renovations are underway! My house is a current disaster-but, alas! All shall be returned to its original place. I’m painting my bedroom, main room, trim, having lots of curtains made, a couch made and cushions covered, and my two favorite parts: a bulletin board and room divider. The bulletin board was a 4 days long struggle to get constructed in katesh. They used ceiling board for the backing and wood trim. The problem was the price, which I returned over 3 times just to negotiate the final price (I paid 12,000/=…or 5 dollars…not awful for custom made since no one in Tanzania uses these in their homes…) and then, at home, I spray painted the edge silver and tacked fabric for the backing. It looks wonderful…I’m so proud! As for the room divider…I had to get more creative. Since my house was Canadian built, there WERE sliding closet doors in all the rooms. Since my house is also super old and dilapidated, only 4 remain, 3 of which were not broken. So, I wrenched them all apart, painted them black (this is the stage that I’m now in…) and will reattach them with the hinges and nails I picked up in Katesh too (Parents…you’d be superty duper proud!). Therefore, I’ll have a screen-like room divider for my living room, eventually a couch and, goodness, I can’t wait!!!
This should be enough for now. All my love to those back home and thank you for all the wonderful packages and cards. Miss you all!!