Wednesday, February 29, 2012

“ I have amazing news for you! Man is not alone on this planet. He is part of a community , upon which he depends absolutely."

This morning over breakfast we revisited own goals. I went to the clinic and did rounds with Dr. Elton , and the two female patients who were admitted were looking and feeling better today which is good news. Then there were no more patients, so I went and hammered a few nails (mostly unsuccessfully) and saved a little wood with Moses and Steven. I headed to the secondary school and joined Sheena the teacher and doughnuts. Then Peter, the second headmaster, showed us the kitchen since I ‘d never seen it, which was incredible. After a quick break back at home, Sheena went back to class and Steven went to teach his Geography class. I resumed some construction , at which point I miraculously transformed into my namesake – a Carpeter and I was hammering like a pro. The new, strong nails may have played a role in my newfound success. Then I had lunch and Edward and I met Sheena at the primary school for their English lesson. After that It was back to construction where we were making the spinning part where the water and soap hangs for the washing station. Those were my favorite. Today , my goals of construction were officially fulfilled. A lovely local lady brought some baskets and we each purchased some of the cute, colorful , very reasonably priced little things. Then mama Tonny prepared an little pizza – she’s basically a magician.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Where a person alone may struggle with a task a group or a

This morning we commiserate where Edward is , hopefully he is okay we notice the honey is finished and were down to the last rations of syrup. After breakfast I’m out with Moses to do some work at the school. Jessica is back at the clinic accompanied by Sheena , Sheena said she felt sick after watching for a while. Elton refuses to complete a dental operation on a adult patient until he promises to stop scramming. The operation is finished later when the patient returns composed but not with any extra anesthetic administered. At 10:00 am during recess in the teachers lounge I am introduced to the Geograpy teacher, Ajuae Mlelwa. I will be getting a opportunity to assist in a little teaching . After that I join Sheena’s class to watch a real pro with finely tuned teaching skills. Then its lunch , and soon after we join Edward and Moses to do some construction project touch ups. After that we get a tour of Edwards house and his gorgeous, garden plantation. When we get back to the mission house there is a surprise. A new stash of honey, pancakes with syrup and marshmellows.

Friday, February 24, 2012

"If you try you might succeed."

This morning I am a wakened by the same bonging, I ‘ve been hearing all week. I think it starts at 5:00 A.M and is repeated every 10 minutes. Mohammed says, it is a wake up call for those going to church service at 6:oo A.M. I don’t even like waking up at the time for work. At 7:00 A.M finally I peel my body out of bed. Trying to keep up with Jessica and Sheena is not a option. If the three of us were being chased by a lion, I had better just put a fruit in my mouth and go without a struggle.Today is going to be a rough working day. This morning for breakfast we are not joined by Haran, but thats okay, were still motivated. Tire check , and off I go to join Moses for another day of bricks , mortar and wheel barreling. Jessica is back at the clinic , where today she experiences a couple of tooth extractions and a operation to remove a contraceptive implant. Mean while Sheena doesn’t have her first class until 1:30 . To my delight Sheena comes out to help us construct a couple of support columns. She pushes the full wheel barrel with clysdale like strength. After that its back to the mission house for lunch. After lunch Jessica decides to join sheen at school.While teaching it starts to pour rain outside, drawing out Sheena voice in the class. To make matters worse , rain was leaking into the class. A good day to be a student. I ‘m feeling a little worn so after lunch a I hit up the little sofa for a nap. Later in the day Jessica puts on a bit of a hacky – sack exhibition. Then were all playing Frisbee, and finally a couple young boys join us at the mission house, to play with the volleyball. Four young boys show us some really good soccer skills. After dinner were joined briefly by Haran. Then its showers and sleep time.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Clinics, kids and downpours

This morning we enjoyed a classic mama Toni breakfast of porridge, eggs, toast and bananas. I spent this morning at the HIV clinic with Dr. Elton, the jack of all trades, who morphs from a dentist one day, to a HIV specialist the next. I asked some questions about their treatment of HIV practices then read the Book on treatment guidelines for HIV in Tanzania, which was great cause I had forgotten almost everything and now I’m back up to speed. I was happy to see the pommern clinic has all the first line drugs for HIV treatment , however that appears to be where the options end – maybe when different drugs are needed due to resistance , pastures can get them somehow, but i don't know. I will ask Dr. Elton . I got to see Steven, Moses and Mohammed's work project today. They constructed a cement box avoid the water valves. Look slike fun, actually. Sheena taught lesson today , after being laughed at by the kids when she started teaching an English lesson to the math student by mistake. Sheena also stopped by the clinic this morning. We enjoyed lunch together, best mango I’ve even had , then took Mohammed with us to the little store on the corner so the girls wouldn't be over charge for cookies. Next, Sheena and I joined Steven and Moses who were working on the cement laying. Moses led us on our next task in which we pulled the wheel barrel to the secondary school, loaded up with bricks, and delivered to them to some water specked somewhere. We also came across the primary school students getting out of school for th day. They helped push the wheele barrel and ran down he path. Then it back home as quickly as possible, getting soaked in the process. We read as we waited for the down poun to end . That didn’t happen, so the 3 of as gathered inches around the fire that Moses started and read. Dinner was lovely as usual. I’m looking forward to another day in pommern tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

“ Treat others as you would like to de treated”

Edward came to breakfast this morning with bas news. His wife’s father passed away and he had to leave to travel to Kilimanjaro with his family. We all wish him and his family safe travel and our condolences. Our hearts go out to him. Pole However, as always he took care of us. He took Jessica to the clinic, myself to the secondary school and got Stephen going with Moses. I will do my best to describe what we each did. While at the clinic with Dr Elton Jessica saw a great many things, she watched tooth extractions with screaming patients, and children coming in with common colds. Jessica was impressed by the things Dr. Elton is able to do despite a severe lack of instruments and ability to properly sterilize. I was amazed at how well 80 students are able to behave and learn in single classroom and how respectful they are to their teachers. l also noticed that despite living worlds away, teaching strategies are very similar to those in the US and the learning going on is similar to the US, if not better. After morning work we had lunch. Mama Tony made us these eggs with frenchfries cooked into them, They were great! It started to down poor, but I still felt, we should do something in the afternoon so I got Moses to get some tolls so we could dig. We covered an undergrad pipe and sang the “Jambo Bwana” song “A group of student were headed to watchJessica and I went with them. Harrison was there . He introduce us and translated, they were repenting for sins and talking about fasting and helping the community The music they sang was beautiful. When we returned Steven was napping after he fixed his battery operated radio which Moses loved. Jessica , Mohammed and I played Hackle sac and when we tired of that we got a volleyball out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

“Don’t sweat the small stuff “

This morning Edward presents us with the task to deciding what our individual program goals. Our destination today is the pommern school. First stop is the head masters office. He’s not there today, but a young gentlemen Peter is filling in for the head master today . Seems like everyone we meet here is very easy to like . While we are in the head master office a loud audible banging noise signals, recess for the kids, and before you know it, they're everywhere outside. There are like 900 children in this school. Our next stop is the teachers lounge where Sheena and myself are introduced and like wise the teachers are introduce to us. Seemed like over half the teachers taught the English language.I saw many eyes widen when Sheena introduced herself as a teacher. I thought to myself , there is going to be a bidding war for her services , after that we get a tour of the school / facilitates,. We learned they are building a new kitchen because cooks are gutting faster then they can be hired. After visiting the existing kitchen, I decided you couldn’t pay me enough to work in there. From there we visited the library which is in need of more books.. Then we headed back to our mission home for lunch.

Monday, February 20, 2012

“live and love as if today is all we have “

This morning we awoke early ( some earlier than others – Sheena at 3 am ) and shared a delicious breakfast prepared for us at the hostel. I have never had a French Toast with peanut butter passion fruit jam, but it was exceptional. Mohammed took us all to meet the secretary general of the Lutheran diocese. We took a picture of the market got yelled at for some reason, but it’s ok cause we still got the pictures. Its hard to know what is considered acceptable or appropriate to the people here, so we are still trying to learn how to avoid offending anyone. Iringa was a great town. We found it interesting how differently everyone here dresses , from business suits, to traditional Masai and dresses , and even the occasional barka, everything seems like appropriate clothing. Sheena and I are also stricken by how polite the men have been in Africa. Many other cultures in the Caribbean or central America are notorious for the men’s’ over the top suggestiveness towards women, especially visitors, but not in Africa. Everyone is impressed by the kindness, politeness which put us at ease. I am so impressed by the people here in Tanzania. After a yummy lunch of Hastily Tasty we left for Pommern with mama Toni as a new addition. The nearly 2 hour drive was nothing short of spectacular. The red dirt road contrasted shapely, with bright greenery apparent with mud huts of thatched roofs dotting the country side. After bouncing along the bumpy road, singing us into a state of contentment and happiness, we arrived at the old mission house that will be our home. We were almost speechless by the beauty of the setting in which we get to spend his week of our lives. It us so much more than I even imagined it would be. The building is huge and quite homey. After choosing bedrooms, Mohammed led all of us on street through the village, which was beautiful. The people seem welcoming, the children especially when they wave at us. On our way back we practiced some Swahili words. Mama Ton had a delicious dinner ready for us, which we enjoy by candlelight and headlamps since the power wouldn’t work, but we didn’t mind one bit. Its already very apparent that the time hete in Pommen will be something indiscernible and not comparable to anything else were even expected.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 1 in Tanzania

Upon arrival at Dar, we all met up at the slipway Hotel and began introductions. As far as I can tell, we have many similarities and differences among us as a collective group. We have Edward, the papabear , taking care of us very well; Mohammed , an excellent driver and animal spotter extraodinal; Steve, comedian Canadian keeps the mood light and the drive interesting; Jessica though she is injured, she is strong and vibrant, never giving up on the journey; and the there is me, and while it is hard to describe my own role in the group , I can say that I am open to everything that comes my way and eager for each adventure . There is however one thing that we all most definitely share and it is what has bright us together. I believe we are all dreamers, that brought as together which live the lives we have imagined. That also have brought us to cross paths at this point in time. Edward greated us like family and immediately put me at ease, we enjoyed a delicious Pizza dinner on Saturday night (Pizza being another commonality) along with great stories about how we came to be in Tanzania with Global volunteers.

Mohamed pointed at many things for us to photograph; people . landscapes, animals etc. ……… we saw Giraffes, Elephants, Baboons, impalas, zebra, wildebeests, and we were hoping for lion but none so far. However, we did discover a scorpion in our Hostel in Iringa.!! An adventure all its own. We were pulled over by the police, but got off with a warning by saying Jessica was Ill and we were speeding to the doctor. (not entirely untrue). The policeman was very nice told us that we should probability learn Swahili. At one of our“ check tire “ stops (aka: Bathroom breaks) we discovered trough like toilets, there is a first time for everything and that will not soon be forgotten. The landscape went from ocean view , to dry plains, to natural avenue park, to boulder covered maintains, and dense jungle terrain. The temperature changed to drastically cooler by the rime we reached Iringa along with the elevation and scenery , we arrived quite safely, thanks to our wonderful hosts and look forward to the next leg of our journey. I will say that the life I had imaged in Africa was nothing like I had dreamed, it was so much more and like Thoreau, who uses nature and his surroundings to transcend his body and mind, I feel as though I should be pinched because this whole experience has been so surreal , so out of this world, it seems as though I must still be dreaming. How llucky we are to have this once in a lifetime opportunity to share and grow with people so different, yet so much the same as we are , already after only a day this adventure in service has proven to be great and I can not wait to seen pommern and meet our new community.