Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

Quote of the Day: “One tribe. One time. One planet. One Race” - The Black Eyed Peas

Today was the first day we got to work on the construction of the new school kitchen. Hope and Sherri worked on that project while Carrie taught at the school and Meghan and I went back to the clinic. The morning was rather uneventful and slow until a man who was in a motorcycle accident needed sutures. After a delicious lunch where we finally got to try ugali we switched our projects. Sherri and Meghan went to the clinic, Hope to the school, and Carrie and I went to the construction site. We carried bricks for Moses and mixed more cement. It was very dirty work, but fun. Then, Edward invited us to his house to meet his “human beings”. We were greeted with tea and many delicious snacks. We returned to the house where we sat on the porch until dinner while Carrie and Sherri went on a quick walk. After dinner, Revered Harrison talked with us about the role of a Hehe man. During, we enjoyed Mama Tony’s delicious, salty popcorn.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 30, 2010

Quote of the Day: “It’s better to travel light, without sadness, anger, or fear. Without jealousy, judgement, or spite.” - The Book of the Shepherd by the The Scribe.

Today we got to sleep in to 9 am. Even though some our internal clocks were right on time to volunteer, we all enjoyed relaxing and making our way to breakfast. After eating we got into the LandRover and stopped in Iringa to use the internet and buy more bags and gifts for people back home. We then had yet another spine crushing ride home that Kate and I enjoyed in the back seat. Only after a few minutes back home we were greeted with very energetic (to say the least) kids. By the time I got outside, Hope was chillin’ on the stairs with her personal translator, and Kate was getting beautiful braids in her hair by about 6 different kids. I just sat on the ground showing pictures from my camera. Oh yeah, and this is after filling my memory card with the kids taking pictures of each other. Kate will have some 200 fond memories of those 10 minutes. The madames went on a leisure walk in the fire-lit sky with the sun setting past the horizon. We then had a wonderful supper. If anything happened past then, I wouldn’t know because I was passed out in my bed.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010

Quote of the Day: “As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are, otherwise you will miss most of your life” – Buddha

We started the morning to another wonderful breakfast and a more wonderful and breathtaking view of the Rift Valley near Ruaha National Park. After breakfast we started our game drive with Alex, our driver and guide. After driving for some time he took the roof down. Meghan and I promptly jumped on to the roof of the LandRover, feet dangling; Kate and Carrie were in front of us sitting on the back of their chairs looking over the roof of the car and quiet Hope sat up front. We saw hippos sunning themselves on little islands jutting out of the river and timid ones popping their heads in and out of the water. There was an abundance of impala and many other like-type animals. We saw a menagerie of giraffes, zebras, and elephants. I’m not sure whether it was the time of year but we were also treated to baby zebras, baboons, giraffes, elephants and impalas. The icing on the cake was watching a male lion resting and cleaning himself and about 6-7 female lions intently watching a hippo eat grass on the river bank. We had a delicious boxed lunch. On the return to Hilltop we were thirsty and out of water. We stopped for refreshments and the mood in the car suddenly changed. We all began chatting and laughing again. It’s amazing what rehydration can do! When we returned, “the girls” went to their lodge, Carrie went into the shower and I promptly bought a bottle of wine and just sat and took in the view – again. We had a wonderful dinner of spiced rice, fried fish, ratatouille and salad. We were all back at our rooms by 10 pm.

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” – JFK

Today we had a half-day of volunteering. I taught a class on the environmental effects of rapidly growing populations and learned that Tanzanians are encouraged to have no more than 2 children. Meanwhile Hope continued to help Prosper in the biochem lab, and Sherri, Kate, and Meghan went to the clinic where they witnessed a man dying of AID and sarcomas. His family had to carry him into the clinic. We then had a quick lunch and went to the market. No one bought anything but we saw lots of things being sold: food (fresh and cooked), winter jackets (even though it’s not cold to us!), shoes, combs, congas, underwear, t-shirts, etc. There weren’t too many crafts (if at all other than the congas). By the time we got back from the market, our jeep for the safari was at the house, so we left for our weekend adventure at Ruaha Nat’l Park! The drive was about 4 hrs and we stopped in Iringa (or “Iringa Town” as everyone says) to pee. We got to the Hilltop Lodge at about 5 pm and just gasped in awe. It was stunning. I think it exceeded everyone’s expectations. The views were just incredible, particularly with the setting sun. And we were treated to lovely rooms with big beds, pillows, showers, towels and soap. I felt spoiled – it was awesome. And dinner was delicious…we just couldn’t get over the peanut soup! It was fun to see another part of Tanzania and be welcomed by the same hospitality. We retired early and awaited our safari the next day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Hold your head high, don’t ever let them define the light in your eyes. Love yourself, give ‘em hell, you can take on this world, you just stand and be strong and fight like girl” – Bombshel

Today was the first real day of work. Orientation and training was over and we were finally on our own. Again the nurses (Sherri, Megan and Kate) went to the clinic while me and Carrie made our way to school. After the morning routine we met back at the mission house for lunch and to go over the English exam we were to go over with some form IV students. After we figured out the key we headed down to the school to make photocopies of the test…or not. Before meeting with the students we went to the headmaster Shadrack’s home, which was built for him with the help of Global Volunteers. There we met his wife Rose and 10 month old daughter Gladness. After a short chat with the headmaster’s family and a short discussion of the American English lesson plan, we broke up into groups and talked with the students. They pretty much breezed through the test and we moved on to question and answer time. Again the students were filled with curiosity and asked many questions regarding pop culture, politics, current events, as well as our opinion about their own country.

After devouring the pizza prepared by Mama Tony, we had a short info session about disciplinary actions by Haran. They say you learn something new everyday but here we seem to learn something every minute and yet my head doesn’t feel like it’s about to explode quite yet. After Haran and Edward had completed the agenda for the night we made our way to the local pub and tried some Tanzanian beer. We sat around for a couple of hours, relaxed a bit and got to know each other on a whole nother level. The night ended with a brisk walk home to relieve our bladders.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Don’t count the days; make the days count.” – Mohammed Ali

Our day started after breakfast when Hope and Carrie went to the school while Meghan, Sherri, and I went to the clinic. We started by unloading all of our donations and they were very grateful. Then Dr. Godlove showed up and took us to see the patients in the wards which included a baby with pneumonia, a woman with asthma, a woman who was in a bike accident, and a man who appeared to have AIDS. Then the four of us went to Dr. Godlove’s office where Sherri had the important job of ringing in the next patient, Meghan took vitals, and I copied the records in the log book. He was very quick with diagnosing, but always took our inputs into consideration. We saw many interesting things like a woman getting her dressings changed on her C-Section and we almost got to see a tooth extraction. No worries though, they say we will see plenty in our time here. After another delicious lunch we went to the school to talk to the students. We all had our separate groups where we talked about many things such as AIDS/HIV, poverty, and marriage. It was a lot of fun and we ended up staying long past the time we were supposed to leave. We are all looking forward to another exciting day tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010

Quote of the Day: “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” – The Beatles

Today we started out by having breakfast at 8:00 AM, followed by a group cementing activity. We made goals which included the topics of learning, helping, and growing. We also made characteristics such as accepting, open minded, fun, and adventurous. After the activity, we visited Shadrock’s (AKA Big Potato) office and talked more about the students schedule. We also met Herran, the Vice Headmaster of the school. Then we had tea and doughnuts (which were better than the ones in the US) with the teachers to communicate each others thoughts. The Headmistress, Spara, then took us on a tour of the school. We got to see the classrooms, computer lab, dorms, library, and kitchen. Even though there were not enough books, computers, or even electricity to run the computers, spirits were still high and all the students and teachers were very welcoming.

After the tour of the school, we got to see the clinic with Dr. Godlove. I am not sure what I expected the amenities to be, but I was in shock. There were not enough rooms to keep the sick, medicine, or helping hands. Sooner than later, it was lunch time. No surprise, it was wonderful as all the meals are. We then had Swahili lessons with driver, helper, and Professor Mohammed. We took notes and learned a lot. We then applied it when we went on a walk with leader, electrician, plumber, and fellow volunteer, Ben. We would say “Kamwene” to every person we saw and were trying to have a conversation with a group of about 10 kids, which went as well as I thought it would. We visited the local government office to sign ink, but no one was to be found. Later we learned they were enjoying themselves in Tanzanian time, having hard drinks. When we got back to the house, we got out the soccer ball and jump ropes and headed outside to eventually be greeted by many kids who came and kicked the ball around and to jump rope. I think we all soon realized that they could dominate us with both activities as we sat on the stairs and grass gasping for air (due to the altitude and jet lag).

After a long time playing with the kids, we had supper. We had beans, rice, avocado, greens, and bananas. It was referred to as the best meal since we have been here to some of us. As the day was coming to an end, Edward gave us our assignments and time schedule. Everyone is now in bed, eagerly awaiting for tea at 7:30 and to start a new day here in Pommerin.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

Quote of the day: “It is easy to take a person out of the bush, but not the bush out of the person” – Fratz Fanon

After a somewhat noisy night, Day 2 began again with a group breakfast. Already we are getting more comfortable with one another; Edward is the catalyst for this for he is warm and welcoming. We met Pastor Donald and Mr. Shadrack, the schoolmaster of the secondary school in Pommern, who was to accompany us to Pommern. After breakfast we headed to the headquarters of the Lutheran diocese, where we met Mr. Namon Challa, the secretary director of the diocese. In his office we learned a lot about the people, especially the women and culture of Tanzania, the prevalence of AIDS and how the statistics are doubled in Iringa. We also had an open discussion about sex education and factors that led up to these staggering statistics. If all governments could do the same! He was an interesting man and I could have listed to him longer.

In town after much confusion, we booked a safari. That God for Mohommad and Ben! We exchanged and withdrew money with their help also. We all met at LuLu’s for lunch. We went to use the internet cafĂ© but the power was out and we were unable to use the computers. We walked thru the market then went to the pharmacy and bought medicine and supplies for the dispensary. Again we were grateful for Ben. It seems to be a theme here. We finally left for Pommern at around 4 pm. As we drove southeast, the terrain again changed. The trees bigger, the red clay ground against a sky so blue and big, and the air so sweet – or was that Hope’s lip gloss? I see why our leader Edward loves the place he calls home. We were greeted by some of the girls of the school in song and dance. Megan led us by joining in and dancing. Again a truly warm welcome. It must be the Tanzanian way! I think I speak for the group in saying that we are eager to start.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23, 2010

Quote of the day: “All can be done; try your part” – Nelson Mandela

Today our journey began! Things began with a team breakfast half-way through, I personally felt like we really were “one”, as Edward keeps emphasizing. It was exciting to think that we barely knew each other, but after a couple of weeks we would have so much in common and surely be friends. We were a little late getting on the road, but even after a detour to get a piece of lost luggage at the airport (hooray for Sherri!), we made it to Iringa just fine. Along the way we were treated to an impromptu safari with sightings of impala, zebras, giraffes, water buffalo, and baboons. We also sadly saw at least 6 bad car accidents…one of them was a turned over pepsi truck and several people were amongst the glass cleaning up. But here we are in Irgina and the accommodations are wonderful once again, and we just got fed a delicious meal. Alright – must wrap up….can’t wait for Day 2.