Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A week in motion

April 2, 2014
Things I’ve learned about Tanzania in the week we’ve been living here:
  • ·       The drunken man that wanders outside of our camp at night obviously doesn’t have a 6:30am alarm like the rest of us. Party on my friend.
  • ·         The shower has two settings – ice or scalding, the latter only achieved with the water pressure of a leaky faucet
  • ·         The landscape is incredible! It’s so much more lush and green than Kenya. Although I loved Kenya, there’s definitely a lot more to see on a drive into town here in Tanzania! J
  • ·         The food is amazing. I’ll definitely be switching to organic in the states, I’ve never felt better J
  • ·         The roads are so much muddier… whether that’s the country itself or a byproduct of the wet season, it’s AWESOME. Muddin’ Africa style all day every day!
  • ·         If you have a free hand in town, it WILL be taken by a small child. They love holding our hands as we wander around Rhotia! Their favorite game is singing “moja, mbili, tatu!” (1, 2, 3 in Kiswahili) and then leaping into the air, swinging from our hands.
  • ·         I have so much more respect for Batik painters now that I’ve tried my hand at it. For those of you who don’t know what that is, here are the steps:

o   Draw your design on a piece of cotton fabric
o   Put melted wax everywhere in your design that will be white
o   Dye the cotton the lightest color in your design scheme
o   Place wax over the areas you want to stay that color
o   Repeat until the whole piece is colored the way you want
o   Cover the whole thing in wax, then crumple it
o   Smear paint in the cracks and rub all the wax off
o   Iron and admire!
  • ·         Happy Days has some bangin’ food! They have this dish called Chips Mayai, which is basically thick cut fries inside an omelet…. Heaven on a plate but definitely hard to finish! They give you so much!!
  • ·         The fabric is GORGEOUS. Needless to say, I will be representing my version of the local attire back at Penn State J

Some snap-shot moments from the week:

  • ·         One of the cars actually got stuck. I did not   think that was possible because we drive around in some mixture of a hummer and a jeep with  huge tires. But, the mud won and we had to pull the  car out.
  • ·         Every single time we leave the camp, children   run up to us and immediately grab our hands.   I’m really going to miss that when I leave Africa.
  • ·         After our first field lecture, all the cars pulled off into this market looking place and the teachers said “Explore for about a half hour then come back.” We all got ice-cream and got to explore the Maasai market! Definitely a great way to end a class!!
  • ·         Literally as I’m typing this, my hairbrush has fallen into the toilet… well.
  • ·         A small animal of some sort took a poop in my pants pocket. Didn’t find that little present until I was doing laundry and attempted to clean those pants. They are still soaking in soapy water, perhaps indefinitely! (GROSS)
  • ·         One of the staff walked up to me, asked me my name, and then proceeded to do his best hyena imitation. Needless to say, it made my night!
  • ·         I went birding for the first time. I spent the entire time attempting to identify the giant raptor circling the car instead of watching the tiny colorful birds everyone else was identifying. It was an eagle J  
  • ·         We had a field exercise in which our only assignment was to follow a troop of baboons for two hours and record their behavior every 5 minutes. Definitely better than your standard lecture!!!
  • ·         According to an intoxicated man named Nicholas, Tanzania has no immigration. He welcomed us to the country about 5 times
  • ·         Paolo taught a few of us how to wrap Acacia thorns around baby trees and we taught him how to say “very good!” in five or six different languages! Now every time he sees me he says “molto bene!” or “Muy bien!”
  • ·         Costa calling me Dini (pronounced Die-knee) because he couldn’t remember Dani, but he knows he sees me in the Dining hall for dinner… J I’m now Dan or Dini haha
  • ·         Njao came to visit from Kenya!! He brought us some hellos from the Kenyan staff and it was nice to have a piece of our family here in Tanzania!
  • ·         We started our Swahili lessons with Grace this week and she taught us the Welcome song!

The next time I blog, I’ll be legally old enough to drink the devils urine (Daniels loving name for alcohol!). I can’t wait to turn 21 in Africa!!! Once again, I’m struck by how absolutely unreal this whole experience is and how amazing it is that I’m actually here!
Thanks for reading, la la salama!