Monday, August 22, 2011

Journal by: Eitan Straisfeld

“Well it’s all right; doing the best you can.

Well it’s all right; as long as you lend a hand.”

-Traveling Wibury’s

We woke up in Iringa this morning in the Lutheran guest house to a beautiful, clear day. Next to the guest house is a primary school and it was nice to see the children arrive to school and point at the foreigners: then either laugh and run away, or say good morning and smile.

We had breakfast at around 8:30 and met Shadrack, the head master of the Pommern school. It was interesting to listen to him speak. He explained the progress and the difficulties they were having, and you couldn’t help but be impressed by his earnestness. We also met Nesia [Mama Toni] for the first time, the woman who would be feeding us for the next three weeks.

After that we drove to the market in Iringa to “help” mama Toni get the supplies we would need for the next three weeks. We thought we could be of some use in her shopping, but in essence we were just grown children following mama Toni around a marketplace that she seemed to know like the back of her hand.

We had some time to kill before lunch so we walked around the market a bit more then waited by the jeep. We talked about the things we’d bought and how successful we’d been in haggling with the local shopkeepers. The market was very interesting; a crush of merchants and buyers selling everything under the sun and navigating the streets through the cars, trucks and motorcycles that seemed to be going everywhere at the same time.

Lunch was very good and afterwards we went back to the Lutheran guest house and packed our bags. What was funny was that in the morning we’d been told that we would be doing the two-hour drive into Pommern in two jeeps, but it turned out that because of all the food, we would all have to pile into one jeep again. There was a collective sigh, but then we all laughed a little, thinking “hey, at least it’s not ten hours”.

The drive up to Pommern was very nice – it didn’t seem like two hours. Once we left the asphalt, Edward told us that we were finally in Africa. And you could feel it – dirt roads everywhere; houses made of red clay; goats and cows coming out of nowhere being shepherded across the road – it looked like all the pictures I’d ever seen.

We arrived and the Lutheran mission was beautiful. It was built in 1906 and it has a very rustic feel. It was still light so we all chose our rooms, got settled and just sat around talking until 7:30, when it was time for dinner. Mama Toni did not let us down and the dinner was great. Edward gave us the schedule for tomorrow and introduced us to Moses – the guy who will be watching the house at night and taking care of it during the day.

After a span of two to five days, different for each of us, we’re finally in Pommern. We’re all very looking forward to seeing the rest of the town tomorrow.