No, I don't think that "muddly" is a word.....
Lately, as I’ve been spending the usual ever-increasing time at site, I’ve started to make some more of the lists that I love to compose in my head. For this one, I think that I’ll list things that I love doing in TZ that I would hardly have the time or guts to do in the States:
-Spend hours at my neighbor’s house whether or not he’s there. If he’s around, then I chat with him and his brother (they are my Dad’s age) about life and school and farming and corrupt politics and unnecessary violence and watch Al Jazeera or South African soap operas. If he’s gone, I go and grab things that he’s let me store in his fridge or freezer, watch TV, cook with their oven or, for example today, I cleaned the dishes there and wiped down the counters. One time I even took everything out of his fridge, cleaned it all out and then rearranged it again. It’s the least I could do for letting me live a life of semi-luxury here and giving me access to cheese and meat whenever I want.
-Singing alone to myself (outloud, of course) using a flashlight for the microphone and composing accompanying dance moves…and this pretty much occurs every night
-Gardening and then being able to pick my fruits and veggies directly before I eat them. Awesome. Just awesome.
-Spending dusk watching the sunset from the huge rock behind my house. If I finish my run earlier than usual, then I reward myself with taking a Turkish Airlines blanket and my latest book out to the rock just about 50m behind my house where I can read until just the right moment when the sun sets and the sky is literally everysingle shade of the rainbow. There is absolutely nothing I’ve yet seen that could trump an Afrikan sunset. It’s just beautiful.
-spending an average of 2 hours composing my dinner each night…this includes lots of veggie chopping (which occurs simultaneously with veggie eating), boiling copious amounts of water, running back and forth to my neighbors fridge to grab even more veggies, or maybe the mayo or the beans, cutting up fruit for dessert (which I also eat as I simultaneously chop) and, finally, (on fri/sat) doing all this while sipping on a glass of wine. LOVE.
-also spending over an hour each day just talking on the phone. How else will I get my daily dose of American-isms?
-opening up the door for my neighbor kids and actually inviting them in. Yesterday I impromptu-ly tutored my neighbor’s niece and today Monika and Alana came and coloured. You just don’t have time for kids in the States unless it’s planned
-lying…okay, no, telling indirect truths…in order to solve my problems. This problem of the week concerned my neighbors that were supposedly watching my cat while I traveled. Seeing as how little weight he had on him and rumors of him being beaten, I figured that it was time to reclaim my key that I gave them. As the week progressed, I started noticing that things were missing from my house. At first I blamed it on my own forgetfulness until my neighbor’s niece started asking me about these things, my candles, my favourite tea cup, my cookbook (which is in English and my neighbor only speaks Swahili….question mark?). Realizing that I wasn’t nuts and they’d just taken these things without conveniently telling me. The final straw came in the middle of the week when I tried to fix my extra bed frame in the spare room and couldn’t due to the fact that they’d broken the back part of my hammer when they’d used it months ago. Deciding it was time to do something I finally asked my neighbor about one of the items. Her response? She told me she’d no need of them, so why should she take them? No mention of the other items…so, as my mum taught me, I decided to kill them with kindness. I walked over there with a plate full of fruit and thanked them for their work. Then I brought another of my cups to exchange for the one that I wanted. She gave me all of my stuff back with a little guilty smile and I accepted with a pretend appreciative grin. The next day, I sat down with my headmaster and told him the problem. He’d even admitted that the corn that he’d kept in the extra room of mine, he’d taken it all because my neighbor had started putting her corn and beans in there too and he’d noticed it but they’d never even asked me. A bit ridiculous. So, in cohort with my headmaster, we deceived a plan in which we go over together to ask for my key back but I pretend like this is news to me and he tells them that the school needs a copy of the key. I love this, and am also super relieved that soon I will not have to question myself everytime the sugar looks low or I seem to run out of pens unexpectedly. However, today, my headmaster calls me in the morning and says “Don’t come to school yet. I’m coming over.” So I wait and 10 minutes later he pulls up and hands me a whole new lock set and 4 accompanying keys. I was ecstatic when he tells me “Use this set and when your neighbor asks, tell them that I replaced all the teacher’s locks and that I only gave you one key.” And he hands me the lock and keys. Wow. I have the best headmaster ever. Therefore, solution: found. Bent truths: a few….but overall…a very Tanzanian solution.