Written December 23, 2010
Last week marked six whole months in Tanzania! I was recently updating my journal and realized there have been some good stories that never made it into a blog entry. So in honor of the 6th month anniversary here are a few “outtakes” and some statistics…
• During homestay food was a big issue. My stomach and taste buds had to make some big changes, especially when it is considered insulting not to eat the LARGE servings of everything. One day I was picking at my food. Mama Eva said “You are shrinking!” I thought she was complimenting me and gave an enthusiastic thanks. I had forgotten that here bigger is better. She said, “NO! Not a good thing!” A lot of us girls still have trouble with the Tanzanian thoughts on weight. People often tell us we are fat as a compliment!
• Another day during training, I was standing in my homestay family’s kitchen talking to the women. Suddenly a chicken flew out of no where and attacked me! Ok, it really just landed on my head but it took me by such surprise I kinda freaked. The women thought it was hysterical. The next night I was again visiting in the kitchen. Mama Eva stated proudly the chicken she was cooking was the one who had attacked me!
• Once Mama Eva saw my last name written on a form and proclaimed in an all-knowing tone “I knew you were French by the way talk!” I busted out laughing before I caught myself. I tried to explain my accent is Southern. I think she now thinks I am from South America!
• Since arriving at my village, my favorite part of the day is washing my feet before bed. It’s a relaxing way to celebrate surviving one more day.
• About a month ago I was invited to attend a village meeting. We learned during training to be prepared to wait as meetings rarely start on time. I arrived on time at 10 a.m. The meeting started at noon and lasted two hours. The main words I kept hearing were “mazingira” and “mazungu”, meaning “environment” and “white person”. Their discussion got so heated that I really got worried they were mad at me! When it ended, I was able to speak to the one person in attendance who spoke a little English. I found out the meeting was actually about water rights from a nearby mountain owned by another mazungu. Awful problem but I was relieved they were not angry at me!
• Those of you who’ve seen my totally rad dance moves including the “shopping cart” and the “lawn mower” will not be surprised to hear that I was part of a winning team during a recent training when we had to choreograph a dance depicting washing our hands!
6 MONTH STATISTICS
Read: 23 books
Watched: first 3 seasons of Chuck, first 5 seasons of HIMYM, first season and current season of Glee and Modern Family. Plus many movies.
[side note: really thankful for my netbook!]
Lost: 3 phones, 1 pair eyeglasses and 2 jean sizes
Knitted: 2 scarves
Drank: approx 540 bottles of water
Won: 101 word find puzzles and countless games of solitaire