Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Africa (Blog 4): Learning

Africa (Blog 4): Learning


            We got to explore town today!  The locals are eager to sell, but very nice.  They are even helping us learn Swahili!  However, I’m not exactly sure how to use Tanzanian shillings and I thinking I paid too much for coffee- but it was very good and very strong.  I cant wait to start my placement and go on some adventures- the mountains look beautiful.
            Today we also walked down the road from the home base.  There is a big orphanage down the street.  Chickens were running around at a nearby house.  Most of the people were very friendly and said “mambo!” (slang) of “Jambo!” (hello) as we passed.  A young man named “Elluge” started talking to us a bit.  A little boy tried to talk to me but I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  I need to practice my Swahili!
            Soon, I have to go apply for my CTA stamp.  I told the airport workers yesterday I needed it, but they insisted I did not.  Janet, who was with me, said we should just go, so we did…but we do need it! Lol
            After dinner, we are going to Pristine Trails to learn more about the hikes and safaris. 
By the way, the food is delicious!  Lots of fruit of veggies, fresh and local- YUM!  I even got my oatmeal for breakfast.
            Did I mention a rooster lives next door?  Actually, there are at least 2.  One on either side.  I think they are talking back and forth now.  And there is a crying bird- sounds just like a baby!

Kwaheri! (Bye!)


Right now, I am sitting on the balcony of the CCS home-base with a headlamp on, underneath a starry sky and a beautiful African night. Wow.
            Today was good.  Im just waiting for a bit more excitement, but it will come.
Anyway, my dad started right at 12 a.m.- This is because I woke up at 11:07 to go to the bathroom and didn’t fall asleep until over 4 hours later.  Then I slept until 7:30, without my morning alarm going off at 5:45 so I could run.  I guess I’m just not sensitive to roosters and light coming through the windows- but oh well, I didn’t come to Africa to run anyway, but that did leave me a bit off my game for a few hours.
            After breakfast and going over some things, we got to go on a bit of a scavenger hunt.  My group first had to visit the neighbors and get the sayings of 5 karangas- …karangas are pieces of cloth with sayings on them, usually positive and cam be used in many different ways.  Like, for instance, an apron or a skirt, and a place to put a basket on your head, as I modeled for the group.
            Second, we had to walk to the river and ask someone it’s name, so we asked the two boys to come with us and found out it was the Karanga River.  It was beautiful, and just a short hike from home!  On the way back, the boys pointed out all the fruit trees (bananas, mangoes, lemons, plus avocados, etc.)  Then we went back for some more group work, including KiSwahili lessons.
            Finally, lunch came (I always look forward to meal time).  Members of our partner programs also came so I got to meet Hussein of Step Up Center.  He was very nice and spoke good English.  I think my program is a lot more structured than others, and includes math and English lessons.  I’m a bit nervous to go, but very excited to get started.  Then, we just went to town, decided we are going on a weekend safari J (I’m just trying not to stress about the price), and got phones to share (to call a taxi or for emergencies).
When we got back to home base we took some of the others to the Karanga River.  Soon, we got kicked out by boys who wanted to swim/take a bath.  On the way back, there was a dog that looked like Apache!
            The rest of the evening has been pretty quiet., though I admit I am spending a bit too much time on the computer trying to download pics, check FB, and finding running/hiking routes.  You would think after last night I would be tired, but I’m not.  I think I’ll read more of Ellen’s book.  Here is a good quote I just read : “It makes a big difference in your life to stay positive.  I am positive of that.”  It then goes on with many short, silly sentences with bits of knowledge thrown in.  I hope I don’t start thinking in random short sentences again tonight.
Lala Salama! (Sleep Well)


            Just got back from my placement at Step Up Center.  The kids were GREAT and I was surprised at how much some of the 5 year olds know, though there was quite a difference between some.  Fist they sang (in English) and then did some letters, sounds, and even short words.  I helped a few with some writing, before others went askew.  I did what I could to keep them occupied.  Then Hussein came back and we sang some more songs, tired to rest (pumzika) and then read Little Red Riding Hood and the 3 Little Pigs (not the nicest fairytales).  I read in English and Hussein repeated in Swahili.  After that they had their porridge and it was time to go. 
            The kids were soooooooooooo cute and friendly!  I really loved being with them.  I guess my placement is quite a bit more structured and (thankfully) uses much less corporal punishment (some yelling and hitting with a pen or stick).  I’m still a little nervous and trying to find my place there.  I’d really like to get some good activities, it is just a little tough.  I just hope I’m useful, but I’m sure it will get better in a few days.

(more from 1/10/12)
I finally got in a short run this morning (I was tight!)  I left around 6:15, after the chorus of roosters and birds.  Soon, there was already many people on the dirt road- children going to school and people carrying buckets for water (I was def. acting my part as a mzungo! Or, crazy white person).
            During our Swahili lesson, I was getting pretty frustrated.  Making my own sentences was tough and many of the other volunteers were picking it up a bit quicker than me…but, Hakuna Matata!  On the other hand, I really enjoyed the speaker from the health clinic, who talked about the top 10 diseases and what is being done in Tanzania.


Rach J

1 comment:

  1. Awesome Rach!!! Keep having a blast and inspiring the kids! :)