Saturday, July 9, 2011

First Year: Outtakes and Statistics

Written June 16, 2011

I have now been in Tanzania one full year! Since the 6 month post of few stories that hadn’t made it on the blog as well as a few statistics was such fun, here are a few more “outtakes” and some statistics for the whole first year…..

• I have found the best technique to bond with Tanzanians is to cause myself bodily injury. Once when riding on the top rung of a lorry I was texting and didn’t see a tree limb coming. It caught me smack in the face while everyone else was bent down looking up at me and laughing hysterically. Another time I was getting out of a dala with my heavy backpack and didn’t see a guy carrying a big burlap bag of potatoes on his shoulders. The bag hit me in the side of the head….again providing entertainment for all Tanzanians around me.
• Since helping weigh babies at another PCV’s health clinic, I have been visiting the clinic in my village on baby weighing day! It has been a lot of fun and a great way to meet the women in my village. It occurs once a month and last about 5 hours. The first time I went I made 6 babies cry just by looking at me! It was kinda the Santa Clause effect….
• Back in March I returned from a weekend in town to find my house had been broken into. I didn’t blog about it sooner because I didn’t want to make a bigger deal of it than it is. Like any place where poverty is a big problem, theft happens. I figured I would deal with it at some point but was disappointed it was in my village, where for the most part a volunteer’s villagers want to take care and protect us. I was lucky all my important tech gadgets were with me and I don’t leave money in the village when I am away. They mainly took little things like battery operated alarm clock and lantern, eggs (which are really expensive here), toothbrushes, candy, etc.
• I had a Mary Poppins moment when I got to teach my students how to play Follow the Leader, Red Rover and the Hokey Pokey! We had a blast! They even taught me one of their games which included holding hands in a circle and running around while singing something in Swahili and then falling down. That was fun too.
• I’ve gotten two haircuts here. First by another volunteer last December. In April, it had gotten so straw-like that I held out the ends and cut it myself. Work pretty well.

Read: 76 books
Drank: approx 720 bottles of water (1.5L size)
Time spent waiting: 93.15hrs at bus stops, on meetings to starts, etc.
# times played Kodiak on iPod: 410
# word finds completed: 210
# times explained my name is Shali or Jessica NOT “mazungu” or white person: 1,983…approximately
Coolest new gadget I’ve seen from America: the new Heinz ketchup packet which allows you to squeeze it all out OR dip
Biggest culinary accomplishment: learning to cook and eat oatmeal

This is the longest I’ve gone…
Without watching a weekly episode of Friends since 1996
Without so much as seeing a live horse, let alone get to ride
Without getting to annoy my sister and brother by humming along off-key to the radio
Without at least a weekly trip to Wal-Mart (probably why I’m a lot calmer now)
Without a daily glass of sweet ice tea

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