Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Revelations 2.0

So today was another one of those really happy days.  I think that I’m going to start having to be sad more often because no one’s allowed to enjoy life this much without some type of consequences.  Maybe my punishment was that one of my closest neighbors went back to Arusha for the week.  Along with him me took his daughter, Mehwish, and niece, Sumehra.  They were my favourite Tanzanians this past week.  We had a chips and chocolate and movie night and watched the Notebook, we hung out  and braided our hair while talking in fake Indian accents (they are Pakistani so I guess that makes it a little less culturally insensitive….) and baked brownies to deliver to the neighbors after splurging on half of the batch.  It was like being in high school and I LOVED it.  So, sadly, they left today and I spent the afternoon watching the Big Bang Theory and lesson planning for tomorrow.  My headmaster came over later and we talked about issues in the grant that I’m writing for the library.  It reminded me, once again, how much I love my school and how I have a wonderful headmaster.  He’s off again to Arusha tomorrow so I’ll be the one spearheading it as usual put I don’t mind put my excess of energy into something actually productive.  Speaking of too much energy, I went for a run today again and during which, I came up with a list of things that being here in Peace Corps has taught me.  So I thought that I’d share it.  It’s a mix of things about Tanzania in general and also about myself.  Here goes:

1)      Tanzanian women can carry more on their heads than I can in my heads.

2)      There is no limit to the number of uses that you can put a piece of fabric (khanga) to.

3)      It’s perfectly okay to laugh out loud at a movie when you the only person around.

4)      More Tanzanians carry cell phones than have reliable access to water.

5)      Paved road is a luxury, not a right.

6)      Running maintains sanity. 

7)      I would rather lose a limb than live without my Ipod.

8)      Deodorant is not an idea that has been invented everywhere.

9)      Reading books on the computer hurts your eyes, especially when they are insanely addicting.  Damn you, Hunger Games!

10)   Flirting doubles as a survival technique when traveling.

11)   Warm showers should ALWAYS be appreciated.

12)   Never underestimate the power of a cup of tea.

13)   "Disgusting" is a completely relative term.

14)   I’m pretty sure that my Tanzanian neighbors shower more often than me.

15)  My attention span is one hour (but for some reason movies just keep getting longer and longer).

16)   Chocolate cravings don’t care what country you are in…they are coming too.

17)   Cat's bee stings can swell and look ridiculous (and scary).
18)   I’m a clean freak no matter where I live.

19)   Ignorance is the most widespread disease.

20)   Tanzanians do not know, and do not need to know, about organic food.  All of their produce is organic.  And cheap.  Lucky lucky people.

21)   Dario Marianelli is phenomenal.

22)   And…Happiness is no one else’s responsibility but your own.

And that explains me.  The end.

Monday, 13 August 2012

More updates

Hello world!  It’s been a while.  Since my last post, per usual, a lot has happened.  My parents came and visited and we had a wonderful time.  It consisted of hanging out in Moshi, going on safari to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater and then coming to my site.  The time spent with them at site was the most meaningful.  They could see how I lived and interacted with my neighbors, whom I love.  I think that they really enjoyed it.  They got invited to so many meals that one day they ate 2 full lunches.  Everyone wanted to host them.  And they dealt with it well.  For the most part they were open and generous, letting me take the reins and patiently waiting for translations in the background. It was fun but exhausting being the host, but nonetheless I enjoyed it.  It made me excited to go home for xmas but also happy to be here.  I love my life here and I’m lucky to experience this.  As of now, I really don’t want to return to the States.  Living abroad is a phenomenal experience and returning the norms of American life make me cringe at the moment.  I’ve been looking up medical schools abroad but unfortunately since I really only speak English fluently, my options are limited to Canada and Australia for abroad medical degree programs.  It’s a bummer because I would’ve loved to study in the UK but apparently they all start their medical degrees right after secondary school, just like here in TZ.  So, looks like I may be going back to the US for a bit before going abroad again, assuming the med school is still my ultimate goal.  And as of now, it is. 

I had a great time last week showing my shadow around.  His name was Travis and he’s from Texas and runs/bikes/swims triathlons.  He was really phenomenal, being open and interested in finding out as much as he could.  We (me and the other PCV’s in the area) met our shadows in Singida for a night on the town before taking each of them back to our sites.  They spent 2 days learning about how a PCV lives (how we cook, where we buy our food, what our houses look like, how we interact with our neighbors) and also went to the school to watch us teach.  Unfortunately, that week almost all the teachers in TZ went on strike for higher salaries so he spent a lot of time just chatting with students.  I went in to figure out what I was going to do for remedial classes this week and then we headed how for dinner at the neighbors.  They cooked an entire goat’s leg and it was really delicious.  The next day we went for a hike in Dareda to see the waterfalls there.  The view was gorgeous and the hike was the perfect level of strenuous.  We ended the day in Babati, met with his headmaster who bought us a round of drinks and the next day sent him off to his school.  He really seemed to enjoy it and the school is super well set up so he has electricity and running water.  Lucky lucky duck.  I chilled in Babati that day and sipped wine with a fellow PCV while we chatted about life and boys before heading to Singida the next day to Travis off.  The other singida peeps met with us for a picnic on the rocks overlooking Singida Lake.  It was wonderful.  Now I’m back at site reveling in the quiet of my pretty little home and looking forward to hanging with my neighbors during this break before our mid-service conference in Dar.  Should be plenty to look forward too. 

Thus, all is well and as for other random stories…I saved a little bluebird from my cat, Radi, who caught him after he got caught in the thorns around my garden. 

My neighbor’s cat had 4 kittens who have yet to open their eyes and I requested one for the new volunteer that’ll be in Katesh because she wanted one.

I visited Justin’s old neighbors in Katesh when I passed through and we chatted about how they were doing in school, how the family was and when I could visit again.  I’m putting together a care package to bring them with coloring stuff and rulers.  I think they’ll like it.  They are looking forward to having another volunteer there since we didn’t think that they’d replace Justin after he left.

Additionally, I’ve been looking up options for things to do after next year since I know that it’ll come fast.  Like I said, I’d love to stay abroad but I don’t think that’ll happen.  I think that I’ll exile myself to a big American city for several years before going abroad permanently.  I just need to find something that I can fully put my heart into.  And being here has taught me so many things about myself and the world I know that whatever doors I need to go through to make my dreams a reality, I will do with determination and passion.  The future excites and scares me, a very awakening feeling.  But I love it all the same.  All the best to everyone in the States!  I’ll see you at xmas!