Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Coming To An End

Everyone seemed refreshed after a good night's sleep. Musa came in early and built a fire. Mama Tony had fruit, porridge, pancakes, and toast.

Stefan went to the clinic; and Sue, Kassidy, Stephen, and I went to the construction site. The children from the kindergarten greeted us enthusiastically, and Kassidy was able to have several Marahabba moments. I stayed a short time so that I could get ready to go to the school to meet with Margaret, one of the teachers. (I had enjoyed visiting Msungu's Form I English class yesterday.) However, I was informed when I arrived at the school that Margaret had gone to town for the day. I returned to the mission house and started entering the team journal into my computer. As I reached the mission house, I saw Sue and Musa carrying long pieces of wood/logs to the construction site. Arriving there about an hour later I saw that scaffolding was in place so that the Tanzanian masons could work high on the walls. (I don't think there is workman's comp here.)

It is always important to report on lunch. Today it was chapati, cabbage, beans, potatoes and yams, and oranges. A colorful meal. Stefan's report from the clinic was sad - a baby had died during the night.

The construction crew, inncluding Stefan, returned and reported on what will be the work on Thursday. Sue, Stefan, and I walked to the school to take pictures. What and whom should we see on the road coming from the school? The GV van and Mohamed. We greeted him. Then we walked on to the school and happened to meet Bethsheba. She accompanied us to the new kitchen and told us about the serving routine.

We saw students coming into the school area carrying suitcases (sometimes on their heads), boxes, and bags. Stefan suggested that they had arrived on the bus whose horn we had heard a little while ago. We saw one girl run up to an arriving trio and give one of the girls a hug. An international demonstration of delight. Bethsheba found Imelda who joined us with her enigmatic smile. The two girls allowed us to take pictures of them.

Back at the mission house we saw Kassidy and Stephen who had returned from their pipi shopping expedition with bargain candy. Kassidy then went to the school with Edward.She had a good, extensive (many topics) 1/2 hour conversation with two 19-year-old girls. We had a delicious dinner- again. Edward joined us to talk, and he welcomed back Mohamed. Mama Tony also joined us. She was very appreciative when Sue and Stefan sang a song to her which highlighted her wonderful qualities. Edward announced that we would finish our assignments around nine-thirty tomorrow. We could then clean up and finish packing and say good-bye to new friends. He told Mama Tony that lunch would be at noon (Mzungu time) and that we would leave at 12:30. After dinner each of us received an award from Kassidy who got one from Stephen. Five rounds of UNO, and Stephen remains the champion. Then reading and packing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Work Work Work

After a quick and hardy breakfast, we were off to the construction site once again.

Stephen and Kassidy were masons, and Amma was carrying bricks and buckets of mud. Afi was at the clinic & Sonja down at the school. We met up for lunch & chowed down on pizza, pineapple, & pasta. Back to work but this time it was all 5 of us. Carrying bricks & buckets of mud while Stephen & Kassidy were doing the mason stuff once again. We ended our day of work. Some did shopping, others read.

After we ate some delicious dinner it was time for Uno! Kassidy didn't play, she tried calling home. Then at 8 everyone split off to do their own things like going for a few drinks, having a sleepover, or just sitting by the fire. The day ended wonderfully.

Monday, July 9, 2012

All Together

Back to the work week morning schedule with breakfast at 7:30 with the message and journal review of the weekend by Sue.

For the first time, our team of 5 all worked on the same project, building a new office room at the Lutheran church. We had a team of 13 people and laid brick walls using locally produced red clay bricks held in place by "mud" made from the same ubiquitous red Pomerini clay. As the day progressed, all the links in the chain were in synchrony. Some muscles were rejuvenated by rest and a few sunshowers.

The evening meal of chicken ande rice was followed by a 4 game set of Uno with Stephen the reigning champion! CHEERS

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Birthday Chicken

Happy Birthday, Stefan!
It was a chilly, overcast morning, but Mama Tony's breakfast of porridge, pancakes, bread, and fruit prepared us for the day. Kassidy was happy that Mama Tony had more hot chocolate mix in her larder. The reading of the journal reminded us that yesterday had been another good day. Edward asked us to review the goals we had set on the first day, and Kassidy and Stephen read them for us. There was general agreement as each one was read. Edward commented that he thought there was 90% completion. Then we split up for our assignments. Kassidy, Sue, and Stephen stayed at the mission house to sweep, wash, and whitewash the lower wall on three sides. The results are great, and they/we hope the following teams appreciate the work. Elizabeth, Melissa, and Greg walked toward the school where they met with the children. The activities varied from recap, to dancing (the hokey-pokey led by Greg. Good on your resume?), to board work with math problems, to computer work, to farewell gifts and good byes. All this in three hours. Stefan and I went to the clinic where we waited - and waited for the HIV/AIDS clinic to open. Edward peeked in the window and said he didn't want us to get bored. He took us to the area where trees were being cut down and boards were formed. Items will be made for the church. The clinic finally opened. Stefan helped with notations, and I pulled files, reviewing the numbers as Mama Petra read them. The filing system worked beautifully! For lunch we had pasta with eggplant sauce and doughnuts. After lunch Stefan and I went back to the clinic, and the others - after a break - went to the garden and prepared the area by making mounds, working in the ashes, and marking the rows for the seeds. Kassidy sorted seeds, and the others put them into the ground under Edward's direction. Then we all walked through the cornfields to the home of the oldest woman in the village. She and her daughter graciously us into their home. Edward told us a little about her life then and now. We brought them a greeting and expressed our thanks for their hospitality.

When we returned to the mission house, some of the children came for a game of Frisbee with Elizabeth, Melissa, and Kassidy. Greg and Stephen joined their Tanzanian friends and were treated to a demonstration of intricate hair preparation. I had an interview/conversation with Pastor Jane of the Lutheran church. The rest of the group went to observe and listen to the choir. In the evening we celebrated Stefan's birthday the Tanzanian way (a roast chicken with a candle) and the American way (a cake with a candle). Edward spoke to the departing three (Elizabeth, Melissa, and Greg), thanking them for their contributions to the program, and each of us expressed personal greetings. In the morning I will report on who was present top bid them farewell.

Another day awaits all of us. What will it bring?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Teaching, Working and Celebrating

We started the day with breakfast. Edward was missed since he had to attend to business in Iringa.

After breakfast most of the group - Sue, Stephen, Greg and Kassidy - took the 7 km drive to the water containment facility. Stefan to the clinic and Elizabeth, Sonja and I to continue our computer lesson for the young students.

When we returned, we found the water team warming by the fire. It was not until later in the day that we found out the water group did not actually do any work since there was only one shovel. This secret was hesitantly revealed by each worker to the rest of the group.

In the classroom our well prepared lesson plan was executed to completion. Sonja was a great teacher to the little ones. Everything went smoothly until we left the computer lab. The kids were excited and a photoshoot with dancing closed the school day.

After lunch we had the afternoon off and walked to the Catholic church where we ran into Batista, one of the students who is a true academic. Several of us walked around. Others used the Internet. At one point we met a young boy who claimed to be 18 named Deus. He gave us a tour of the most modern buildings in Pommern. Deus was very knowledgeable and took command as he explained the function of each building.

Shortly after returning to the mission house and passing the white pig, the basket ladies arrived. As they approached balancing their products on their heads we all covertly took pictures from behind the pillars on the porch. The baskets were beautiful and sevewral purchases were made.

The rest of the afternoon was leisurely. Some went to the pub, others read. Kassidy started another creative project.

Edward arrived shortly after dinner and told us his day had been challenging but successful. At dinner we celebrated Independance Day in this foreign land with stories of past Fourth of July experiences.

Following dinner, Edward gave us a history lesson about Tanzania, which included the settling of the Bantu and Hamitic people. He also told us about the Arab, German and British occupations and the Tanzania union in 1961.

The rest of the evening was spent preparing a lesson plan for class, taking pictures, watching Greg do the Hokey Pokey and laughing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hard Days Work

Another typical day at the mission house.

Edward arrived to join us for breakfast and review our daily assignments. We then proceeded to head to work. Greg & Stephen to move the school's kitchen & dig trenches. Stefan, Sue, Sonja & Kassidy to organize the clinic's record. Melissa & I to teach 8-12 year olds.

After lunch, we continued with our respective jobs and/or gardening.

After work, we all explored the village. Sonja & Kassidy visited the girl's dorms. Melissa & I wandered through the village escorted by one of our students (Joshua), who also acted as our body guard telling other kids to bug off. Greg & Stephen continued to support the local economy at their favorite watering hole. Sonja chatted in Italian with the "Italian girl". Kassidy purchased a pocketbook. Some folks ate freshly picked carrots. A frisbee was rescued from a rooftop. Mohamed (Mr. Fix it) worked on electrical problems & prepared to battle a bee hive. Moses appeared in a rain poncho & twirled around for us. We had very fine meals, a special visit by Haran and ended the day with our usual laughter. Just another typical day at the mission.

Tomorrow: Edward continues to find the dirtiest jobs for Stephen & Greg (dredging the water source).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Working With What You Have

Our day began with breakfast at 7:30 followed by the reading of the journal and daily message. After a quick overview of our day we all went to our assignments - Sue, Greg and Steve are going to the clinic, Sonja, Elizabeth and Stephen to teach and Kassidy and I to construction.

We have been told to be flexible and have witnessed the people of Pommern demonstrate this behavior in our daily activities so it was no surprise when Sue, Steve and Greg came out to the construction site to help. No one was at the clinic to get their baby weighed so they spent part of the morning preparing the kitchen then to construction.

Kassidy and I were following Musa and Darius digging a trench and piling bricks against the schoolhouse in preparation for the patio. There were some moments when the instructions were not clear but we managed to figure it out. At one point Musa was using the hoe to soften the clay so we could shovel it and the handle broke. Musa hammered out the handle from the metal part and went to find a new handle. This was one of many fascinating examples of how people here are inventive and able to find resources.

While Kassidy and I were moving the bricks closer to the classroom the others pitched in. We spent the rest of the morning moving bricks, mixing cement and laying the brick. When we left we saw that a significant amount of progress had been made.

Back at the mission house we had pasta w/cucumber sauce, pizza and fruit for lunch. After lunch Greg and Stephen returned to construction while the rest of us cleared the garden behind the mission house. We weeded, tilled and picked carrots. Tomorrow we will till and continue preparing for planting.

After work we sunshowered and went for walks in Pommern. Stephen and Greg have become regulars at a cafe down the road and spent some time observing and interacting w/the locals. Elizabeth and I explored and tried to familiarize ourselves with the village.

Around 6:30 we all sat for dinner where we shared our days experiences and planned for Wed. Following dinner we had a relaxing evening of conversation around the table.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Back Again

We slept late and met for breakfast at 8:30. After some shopping at the curio shop we said goodbye to the Ruaha Lodge and drove to Iringa Town for a little Internet and grocery shopping. On our way from IT to Pommern we had an unplanned roadside picnic when our truck broke its driveshaft. Another truck picked us up after about an hour and it was smooth driving to Pommern. We arrived in Pommern at about 5 and the group all went for a walk to see the falls which were very pretty. Before dinner we had our daily meeting with Edward, reviewed our weekends and planned our work assignments for Monday. At 9 Stephen, Mohamed, Steve and I went to he community building to watch the Euro 2012 championship game between Italy and Spain and had a great time.