Friday, October 28, 2011

Off to Kenya- Then Arusha- -

Hello Everyone-

A lot to write about - - but not much time to write a lot – I am finishing packing up things here at the guesthouse because tomorrow early in the morning, I will be traveling with the Norwegian missionary here at the school to Nairobi –It’s about a ten hour journey – Eek! Haha- It will be good, then from Nairobi Sunday morning I will take a bus from Nairobi to Arusha- that is about a five hour bus ride plus border stops! I appreciate any thoughts and prayers! This seemed like the best (most cost effective way ) to get back to Arusha for language school (thank goodness! ) Swahili is definitely necessary up here-

Promise to update you all more when I am in Arusha!

Love and Peace


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Roosters Bees, Cobras and Phone Calls!

Hello from Kiabakari Everyone – Sorry it has taken me a while to put that I am safely here in Kiabakari.. I have to figure out something for my internet because I am starting to think that this may not be the best situation, but maybe it’s all I can do- after 3 attempts and a total time of probably 25 minutes I was able to open my email. We’ll see how posting this blog goes! (otherwise at the bottom is information on how to call me! I would love phone calls!)

I am here and trying to get adjusted. Which to be honest has not been easy. It has been really hard trying to figure things out an get settled here so far. I am trying really hard though! People are nice here, but it’s really hard to communicate, I am really anxious to go to language school because my Swahili does not cut it.. and that is really hard. I am trying though and learning slowly here. But not being able to communicate really does make one feel like an outsider let me tell you and... well turns out I am not a huge fan of living all by myself.. I miss my wonderful roomies! Hmmf – enough complaining- I am sure it will just take time and adjusting..

The flight up here was amazing! I got to ride in a tiny airplane- (8 passenger) And I was the only one on board so my pilot let me sit in the co-pilot seat and wear the other headset- which was awesome!! Flying into Musoma was beautiful, the scenery up here is gorgeous- lots or mountains and fields and Lake Victoria is beautiful – (and where all my water comes from so- Hallelujah for Lake Victoria!).. When I got to Kiabakari it was getting dark and there was no electricity so I had to wait until morning to see it. It is a beautiful campus and nice and small. Right now I am staying in guest housing, but I think that I may be moving into a teachers house eventually... but only time will tell.

Some adventures of the past few days: Woke up to a baby snake in my bathroom the first morning... when I asked someone to look at it in the afternoon when it was still there... I found out it was a baby cobra.. Oh... yeah poisonous snakes here in Africa.. I’m not at camp with garter snakes anymore... Yikes!!) So.. I’m keeping my eyes out for more...) haha when I told my mom she didn’t believe me... it wasn’t a cobra.. yes. Mom. It was. No.. ;-) sorry mom- I wish it wasn’t too... but on the plus side since I got help spraying my room with some bug killer spray (hope it works on snakes too...) and they left the spray here... so when I saw a scary looking spider I stood at a distance and sprayed it like crazy! And it worked! ☺ Also – my blog title comes from the fact that there are some bees the size of small birds here- you all know how much I love bees, but so far I let them live/ burrow in my porch roof, they leave me alone! Also Roosters- All over the place! Roostering- ok- crowing all the time ;-)

I got to teach some already which was nice, hard since my Swahili is so awful, but we just worked on introduction stuff and the verbs be and have. So it was fun.. (that was actually where I planned to start my lessons so I had done some of the preparation already! ;-) I also got to go to the market where I got some basic food ( rice, beans, potatoes, onions sugar tea etc..) because I will be cooking all my meals – which takes time and I am trying to learn – I asked the cook in the kitchen if I could help her some so I can learn.

I also got to go to Bunda yesterday where I was given a tour of the hospital. I found out African women are tough because when I was leaving, there was a woman who was squatting down and found out within the next 15 mins she had given birth to a baby boy... she was squatting down to push out the baby! Eek! I also got to go to see where President Nyerere lived and a museum for him.

That’s all I really have for now, things I hope to find out in the next week, (how to get to the market by myself, how/ where I can buy a bike, more about water and cooking... and also maybe how I am getting back to Arusha in November for language school).

After talking with Linda Jacobson (My wonderful TZ mom in Arusha) before coming up here I realized that some things are just way out of my control, and many things here feel like that- especially being so new to so many things... All I can do is rely on God and hope that patience and time will bring good things! Sometimes I am good and can keep that in mind, but at other times, I get overwhelmed! -- Thoughts and payers are more than welcome in this time of transition!

Thank you all so very much!



PS- Dear friends and family - - Since my internet has been really hard so far here in Kiabakari for communication I am heartily welcoming phone calls if people would like to call from time to time- I have gotten a few from family and best friends and it is so nice to hear from people! The best way to do so is a calling card called (online) it’s about $10 for 100 minutes of talking time- If you go you click on Tanzania under countries and buy the top card – Wild Africa... Then after you buy it , it will give you numbers to type in...- (you dial the calling card number- an 877 number- then your access code or pin number which they give you after paying, then 011 255 – the country code then my phone number 0786017592 - (If it doesn’t work with the zero try dropping it to 786017592. I think it’s $10 gives you 100 minutes of talking time and it just saves whatever isn’t used so if we talk 10 minutes you would still have 90 left. Then the next time you add money you just recharge your calling card online- you don’t buy a new one. PPS- please do keep in mind somewhat – the time difference, +8 hours from MN time.. (I don’t mind being flexible but probably won’t fully enjoy/ remember a phone call at 3 am!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Off to Kiabakari!

Hello Everyone-

Just wanted to update you - tomorrow is my last day here in Arusha- I've been here for almost three weeks! It's crazy, makes me feel like my few months in Rwanda was so little! (but of course I still cherish that time!) Wednesday I will leave Arusha (Tuesday night- back home..) to fly (!) to Musoma where the Norwegian missionary at Kiabakari Bible College will pick me up. I found out today I will have to pay for some of my luggage, but I think it will be easiest to take it now, then I can get settled and bring a smaller bag back with me for language school- not that you all need to know that... haha

So-- tomorrow will be a day of getting my stuff organized ending with a great dinner with lots of good friends/ volunteers I have met here in Arusha- look forward to it, I have decided they will make it feel a little more lonely in Kiabakari- until I get settled (hopefully!)

Things in Arusha are still good-there was some sort of stomach virus-thingy- going around and I was lucky to catch some of it- but after not eating too much for a day or two and sleeping in until noon (I got up at 8 and fell back asleep.. next time I rolled over it was noon...whoops..) Now I am fine- In fact I ate half a donut today- it was great :-) I am sure gonna miss fancy donuts-as many of you know ;-) ! I played my oboe in church with Linda yesterday - which was wonderful, glad she asked me to do so- I am very glad that I brought my oboe with me - I think it will be really nice in my house to play when I need something enjoyable to do!! :-) Especially since I realized I moved to Tanzania for my first experience of living in a house by myself... (yes, I realized I have never lived alone!) Most people just get an apartment by friends, but decided to move here! :-) we'll see, I am thinking it was a good decision!

I have already posted the address to my school - I also have a mobile phone number (which you can get from my parents or email me for!) - -and my email is feel free to email me- I bought a modem that plugs into the USB port of my computer and it will run through the mobile phone company here so I will be able to check emails and will probably save in them in word documents and respond (since it will be a prepaid sort of thing) I also promise to update my blog still!) I am not sure how much I will be getting electricity either- so I may try to limit computer time some-- I am not sure! I have a lot of unknowns and am keeping a very open mind - they'll all be answered soon enough and I cannot wait :-) Whatever it will bring - will be good, God is good - can't wait to meet my new neighbors and community for the next two years.

Salama everyone (peace)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Let it RAIN!!

I have been told that I have brought the rain here to Tanzania- it has been raining a LOT here in Arusha- so much that it actually feels cold – can you believe it ?? I can’t – but I have spent a couple nights cuddled in my fleece and now have enjoyed two lovely fires ☺ (now if that isn’t Minnesotan starting with talking about the weather I don’t know what is..)

Anyways – Things are still going well here in Arusha I think I found a flight to go up to Musoma on Wednesday Oct- 19th! So prayers that will work out and for safe travel please! I am getting excited to go up there- see my new home and unpack and get settled in my house! I was talking to a good friend here Jenny today and realized I have never lived in a house by myself... (Holy. Cow.) - - To add to that I realize I have been making such great friends here.. that it may make the transition hard.. just with the loneliness factor.. Needless to say, it will take adjusting to no matter what.

Mark and Linda Jacobson ... Two EXTREMELY wonderful ELCA missionaries (and well just people) here in Arusha Tanzania, who I have been extremely blessed to stay with during my time here in Arusha. They are just wonderful I realized I didn’t give them enough mention in my last post. I feel like I have family here in Tanzania and it’s been SO wonderful spending time with them. I started calling Linda Lucy and I’m Ethel, because apparently Thelma and Louise are too violent.... according to Linda ;-) We’re becoming great friends...

What’s new here : I went to ICTR!!! The UN International Tribunal Court for the Rwandan Genocide! I was SO excited to go– (yes I am a bit of a dork..)... it was interesting. I only got to go in for a little because it became a closed court after 20 minutes (to protect the defense witness..) Then another hour and a half later I got in for 20 more minutes. It was a tad disappointing BUT.. somehow I almost expected that a bit.. anyways glad I got to go experience it some.

What else, I am not losing any weight – I have been eating lots of good food- and lots of not so healthy food- you name it – DONUTS! (can you believe it – one was even iced and another was sugar coated...) Tacos- Ice cream- Ethiopian- Stoney Tangawizii (strong ginger soda ☺ ) - Indian Food- Pizza- - and all of Linda’s great cooking – I helped make French toast this morning (holiday ☺ ) Yes- I am being serious – I do however, think things will change when I move out of Arusha- I believe I will expect lots of Ugali and beans! (But that’s tasty too! So.. no weight loss for me people – mom – don’t worry ;-)

I have gotten my bearings around town by now which is quite nice- I feel like I can figure things out and find places if/ when I need which is nice – I walked around town myself and did a few errands. It was good- On one of my trips, I got proposed to, which was nice- I was flattered by being called beautiful many times... - - don’t worry though I showed him my “engagement” ring, and he sadly said ohhh it’s too late for you .. and then proceeded to ask my friend if she was married hahaha - -(no..I am not proposed to everywhere..but it does happen sometimes.. so far I am only at one!) In other news - - I jammed to the backstreet boys in a taxi with some friends, have made lots of friends, had many great discussions, made a fool out of myself many times ;-), used a squat toilet (which if I need to get used to that in my home I need to learn to go faster .. what a quad work out!), went to a movie (Captain America hahaha) and have played my oboe some already – even with piano –thanks Linda - (I am already SO happy I brought it – can’t imagine how much I will enjoy it in my house up north! ☺ )

Mungu ni mwema – God is good! I am so thankful for what I have in my life – also for this opportunity- can’t wait to see what else it will bring me. I am also so thankful for the wonderful people I have already met here in Arusah- it has been great – Mungu ni mwema – Thanks to all my wonderful friends for the emails- once I move out to Kiabakari- that will be much appreciated and probably the easiest form of communication – I have a USB stick that’s a prepay internet service thing- - otherwise I have my phone number : +255 – Country code) 0786017592! There’s a pretty decent rate at (MUCH cheaper than skyp calling from skype credit to phone.. TRUST ME!) if you want to try using it and have questions ask!!

Much love to you all – Salama (peace)


Swahili Lesson of the post: Pole – (Poh- Lay) means sorry, or I sympathize or anything happening bad news people say pole- It’s used quite a lot.. however.. if you say Pole Pole.. it means slow... don’t make that mistake ;-)!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Habari - Nzuri! ( Here in Arusha!)

Hello from Arusha everyone!

Sorry this is delayed- I should have told everyone I was safe and sound here in Arusha! It has been one week- wow! Crazy- even though I am still adjusting and my swahili is still a work in progress I feel it's been longer. It's taken some time to adjust to being here again. Which perhaps naively I did not expect, I was wondering when my excitement for being here would begin. On the long (but fortunately smooth :) transit here from minneapolis I decided, duh Annie- you'll get excited the minute you step off the airplane - it will hit you! However... when I stepped off the airport, smelled the familiar smell of Africa (yes I swear it DOES have a smell (must be the different flora and fauna- - I thought everyone was crazy but I totally got it getting off the plane).. anyways my thoughts were not! yippee hooray... but more.. Oh. My... What in the world did I get myself into? Two years? Here.. oh boy.. No.. nothing dramatic happened to me (aside from smelling my stinky sweaty self- waiting in long lines to get my visa) to make me think this.. it was just how I reacted to stepping off the plane.. and thereafter ..

Today however... I am feeling so much better (it's been gradually getting better and I've been adjusting...) But today has been a great dya..Which is why I decided to blog. Excitement, assurance, and determination may not have hit me all as I stepped off the airplane... but today I am feeling like this is good. So... let's do it! Today I was able to go visit a place called Plaster House- it's truly amazing. Words cannot describe how great it is. Plaster House is a home for children in Tanzania to stay in during recovery following corrective orthopaedic surgery, plastic surgery or neurosurgery for disability. Many of the children there now have surgery for things like fluorosis, spinabifida, club foot and more. I was lucky to go there learn more about the work done there and spend some time with the children. Then Sarah, the woman who runs plaster house took me and three wonderful med student friends to her house for coffee. It was so reassuring and she reminded as many others have (somehow today it all sank in) -- I'm here for a reason, I really want to do my best to help through teaching English at the college I will be going to (and I have been diligently trying to learn swahili because I know it's important to my work.. and I love talking to people.. who knew right? ;) Even though I will have days where I will feel like I made a mistake in coming and I know that I stick out and may not ever fully belong here, I'm here for a reason and can't wait to see where it brings me :)

Hope this all makes sense it's really late here but I knew I needed to do this now, while it's all fresh! As for now, I will be staying with Mark and Linda for ?? amount of days, before I go to the "bush" as some people are telling me.. I think they exaggerate some, but compared to here, with a toilet, nice electricity most times and internet.. I've even had ice cream twice for crying out loud... it may seem more bush-like ;) But who knows we will see. Anyways I'm still figuring how to get out there-- it's a good 11 hours driving through here and yup. that's all I will bore you with, there's lots of details like park fees and stuff that we're figuring out, but it will all work out :) when I know when I leave I will be sure to let you know!

I miss you all! Thank you so much for your encouragement, thoughts and prayers!! They are MUCH appreciated!!! Love you all!


PS - Sorry - I promised myself I would write shorter entries I saw my last blog and realized woah... hope this was good! I was just so excited by today- lots to write :)

PPS - Here's a swahili lesson for you all- greetings/ asking how things are... habari - response nzuri (good!), habari za leo- response: nzuri; habari za asubuhi response: nzuri; habari za mchana? response: nzuri habari za jioni: Response : nzuri...... (haha basically anytime you hear somenone say habari- you say nzuri back!) :)