I just reread a letter from my dear friend Charlotte. Whenever I read letters from outside TZ, from ‘life before PC’, I get all weepy with joy. I am so extremely disconnected here – FB newsfeed just doesn’t cut it – that when I do receive news it’s overwhelming and wonderful and the floodgates open. Letter in the mail for you soon Charlotte :) Any news from the rest of you? I can receive texts/calls/letters!
Last night I was kept awake by the monkeys and hyenas, which were having some sort of loudness contest.
Godbless is walking! Still teetering w/ precarious balance on his chubby little legs, but walking!
I love coming back to the vill after a long time away because people actually miss me when I’m away. Yes they all ask what gift I brought them, and did I go to America, but with time those questions have become less bothersome. I love coming back to see how much my papaya tree has grown, or what popped up in my garden when I was away. I had a bunch of morning glory vines I wanted to transplant, but Mbula, my sweeper-helper cut them all down thinking they were weeds. They go grow like weeds so oh well, there’ll be more next week. It hasn’t rained much, I guess the weather is a bit off this year, so my garden is suffering excepting the lemongrass and aloe, which always seems to thrive. I planted before leaving hoping I’d have some sprouts by this time, but nothing has popped up as of yet, and I’m too lazy to water. RAIN PLEASE COME!
So anyways the last few weeks have been very eventful and really fun for the most part. To continue on about shadow, Henna and I got on our bus to Kondoa, did some shopping, had lunch w/ Maria then got on the bus to her village. She must be good luck because I take that road all the time and I’ve only seen monkeys on it that day :) Many of the rock painting sites are close to her vill, within walking distance. I hope a bunch of us plan a trip to visit them sometime soon.
When we got to her vill we were welcomed by Boi, the community development officer who introduces himself as “Boi, because I am a Boy. If I was named Girl it would not do, and if I was a girl, it would not do either”. This guy is awesome – very motivated, good at his job, great English, brings in a lot of help from outside for projects, etc. in fact, Jenna has a lot of resources at her disposal, her vill being a sort of major bush town – lots of transportation in and out, lots of NGOs and outside aid coming in because transportation is easy, beautiful environment between plains and mountains, like my site but more accessible, and a lot o motivated people. She lives at the clinic, and her clinical officer/Dr. guy worked w/ another PCV in another village so he knows the drill and can provide valuable resources and advice to her. His family is super nice too, lots of adorable kids, Juma in particular. She’s situated right between the primary and secondary school, on clinic property, so it’s busy w/ kids and clinic traffic, but not w/ road nonsense – ie. drunks and travelers. She’ll have to set up her boundaries w/ the kids, but as long as she does that right away she won’t have too many problems. The house is all fixed up and ready for her, which I was concerned wouldn’t happen in time, so yay!
We got there late in the afternoon, went to visit the Dr. guy (Omari?), introduced Jenna around – was funny to have us both there bc they thought I was their volunteer, or that both of us would stay there, and set ourselves up in her house – they put a temp bed, mattress, mosquito net and some buckets for us to use for the one day we were there. We fetched some water from the tap at the secondary school, lead by cute little Juma and introducing ourselves to some of the girls there. Jenna carried the water back on her head – something I still can’t do – hurts my neck! The Dr. and Boi sent some kids to get more water for us so we could shower, etc.
Fetching water at her site was super relaxing – you go on a not short but not long walk through bush trees and forest, no houses, no people, until you reach the secondary school. That’s one difference b/w her vill and mine – she has easily accessibly wilderness, great for running, exercising, escaping, while my vill is pretty congested and all farms as far as the eye can see.
It was great to watch Jenna take in her surroundings, let it sink in that this would be her home for two years, begin decorating in her mind and learn people’s names, all with this brightness, amazement and overwhelmed openness and excitement in her eyes – this must have been what I looked like one year ago. I found myself wishing I had had someone with me my first time in my vill – “I’m so glad you’re here” she said to me that evening, giving me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. She didn’t feel super confident w/ her Kiswahili then, which was made even more difficult by the differing accents and tribal language of our area (she’d only been in country 5 weeks at this point), but she’ll do just fine once she settles in. I did a lot of the talking, but tried not to be a show-off or take away her spotlight – I hate it when PCVs that have been here longer get all high and mighty and condescend the newbies – we were all there at one point! But she said she appreciated me filling in, I think she was overwhelmed and I don’t blame her :) It felt good to be her support person.
Before we went knocking on the Dr’s door for dinner we chilled and talked in her empty house, read, I did some yoga, and while I was doing a backward-leaning pose I can’t remember the name of I noticed something small crawling in a ceiling corner. It flopped/flew to the ground and struggled a bit – “hm, you have a bat” I said. Jenna started mildly freaking out while I grabbed a bucket to try to trap the thing, which was walking on its’ wings along the floor – a disabled bat? Well, I caught it, accidentally let it go, caught it again and let it outside. It’ll probably just come back, but I can’t bring myself to kill the buggers. Later on I found out that walking on wings is a sign of rabidity; so maybe next time I’ll toss aside my affection for furry-faced flying mammals and stomp it out of its’ misery. After this episode we checked the whole house and, finding no additional creepy crawlies, headed over for beans and rice with the Dr. and his adorable wife and family.
We were both tired from a long day, all the way from Dodo that morning at 6am, so we stayed long enough but not too long and went to bed nice and early, making ourselves a nest out of the khangas and the travel blankie I always carry, and a pillow for myself out of all the clothes I had. Just like camping.