Monday, April 23, 2012

Trip to Nairobi!

Hello from Nairobi Everyone- I had the opportunity to come to Nairobi Thursday-Tuesday- although Thursday and Tuesday were full days spent in the car... I took the bus up here on Thursday with another missionary and his two children a trip that included 2 hours in a car, 10.5 on a bus and some various stops along the way. It was a nice trip. Strange things are happening to me... Strange experience one:Friday I got up, put on my trousers- pants... Ahh- it was so strange! I haven't worn trousers for a few months now, and I felt naked in them! I slowly got used to them again.. Weird Strange experience number two: Where I am staying I could drink water from the taps- and brush my teeth from it- I was terrified at first so I drank just a tad to know if it'd make me super sick... but it did't- so then I thoroughly enjoyed it.. Strange experience number three: Shopping. Holy Cow. Shopping MALLS- huge- multi-level- stores apple stores, I went into a large supermarket and felt like everything was so foreign, 15 kinds of toothpaste?! what is this! There were things I didn't recognize and by the end I just left without seeing the whole store, because I was a tad overwhelmed... (but I did buy me some apples, oreos, and cockroach killer..) Strange experience number four: HOT shower...okay not strange, more wonderful.. it's nice almost not to have it- to know what I'm missing- because truly.. it's not a big deal to have a hot shower, just something extra that's nice.. Strange/Awesome/ Amazing experience number five: Getting internet to work so I could watch my best friend Carly Tonkin turn into Carly Peet-- PLUS getting to watch it together with friends in Hong Kong and be able to chat with them during the wedding! Strange/Horrible Experience Six: Getting SO sick that I wished death upon myself a few times.. Came out of nowhere had AWFUL fevers that would spike quickly.. plus spending some quality time on the bathroom floor.. an entire day in bed... meaning prolonging our return trip to Kiabakari because I was to ill to travel... That being said- I've been mostly upright 70% of the day today- fever free 90%- ate some and thus we will return to kiabakari tomorrow- It's been real interesting.. until next time Nairobi... ~Annie PS- Carly and Dave- Hongera SANA!! (congrats!)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Heri Ya Pasaka- Happy Easter!/ Video Project- would love input

Yesu Amefufuka! Amefufuka Kweli Kweli Aleluya!! (Christ has risen- He has risen indeed!) Happy Easter everyone! I hope you all had wonderful joyous Easters – How can you not! Christ has risen! My Easter was a bit busy... I woke up expecting to be a little sad to wake up Easter morning alone in my house- but woke up to some really nice sunlight in my room and I also ate a piece of chocolate that I ration- (which always helps! I think chocolate and ice cream are two of the best medicines- I don’t know if I wrote about spilling on my computer- but that day we went to Musoma and I had a ice cream cone similar to a drumstick and I swear for a brief moment I had the thought of – I would rather have these in my life than my computer... but.. I am glad that my computer is reborn and working again.. and think I wouldn’t trade it for ice cream in reality.)

Anywho, my Easter: I went to church in a village called Butiama about 40 minutes from here, Mama Emma’s boy Daniel was getting baptized so I was invited to the service. This meant we had 3 different services, one for Easter Sunday, One Ibadaa for Chakula cha Bwana- (communion) and the last for Baptizo, the baptisms. The service itself was a bit over 3 hours. But it was great – I held Daniel for a lot of the service, including when he fell asleep literally 2 minutes after being baptized- so funny- (it was quite a workout holding him too because he is a big boy! (and extremely cute and well- behaved). Afterwards we were invited to a house for some chai.. and food uffdah after we went to Mama Emmas for more food and to visit and watch the movie The Life of Christ- with voice-over in Swahili... interesting yes... Then we came back to the school-at 6:30 so we left for church around 9:30 am... just a 9 hour day- uffdah! I was pretty tired but also happy.

This past week we had a seminar with some teachers/ pastors at 3 different bible schools. I was really happy to sit in on the sessions, we had a teacher/pastor here from Zanzibar teaching about Islam, (he studied Muslim Christian Relations for his Masters) He really shared a lot and challenged us to think about some things. It was a bit strange being the only woman in a group of 11 men, most being pastors and two bishops... I felt a little out of place, especially at the discussion we had about ordaining females... I was of course the only one who was pro-woman ordination... in this group – and unlike what is expected of me- I was open about it- but did reserve myself a little. I definitely felt like an outsider at this seminar in many ways- but it was really good to get in on these discussions to be more aware of how many (especially those higher up) are thinking on these issues... and also to be challenged to think of why I feel the way I do- it’s always good to be challenged into actually thinking about your beliefs, which I think all of us were...

Then something AMAZING happened on Wednesday- well first I was pretty sick- my stomach has been acting a bit strange – and I’m hoping it’s not a parasite or amoeba friend or worms, but.. the missionary here who was a nurse told me many times those even work themselves out of your system- so .. that’s cool I guess. (don’t worry I’m eating and everything!) BUT the amazing thing is.... The female dog at our school had PUPPIES! She had ten beautiful puppies and only lost one. However it was a very unfortunate time to be born, as rainy season is now in full force, they were born Wednesday and that night it was POURING and really cold... I couldn’t stand to wake up and have all the puppies dead... so.... I offered my guest room to them... so now I have 10 guests at my house- 9 teeny tiny puppies who still can’t open their eyes and mama- who’s afraid of me but I’m working on it... I sometimes just sit in the room and work so they she gets accustomed to me. So that’s that I’m pretty pumped and every break from school I run home to see how they’re all doing and count them all to see that they’re here and safe and sound.. :- ) I won’t keep all of them.. but think I may get attached and maybe keep one... the school says I could give it to the school when I leave to work here as a guard dog... so we’ll see...

That’s about all- I’m heading to Nairobi Thursday – Monday to attempt to have internet for my wonderful roomie and best friend’s wedding! (Hooray Carly and Dave are getting married!! =D!!!!! I’ll be travelling over 20 hours in 5 days- crossing the border twice and taking a few busses... :- ) So prayers for safe travel- are VERY appreciated!

Thanks for all your emails and continued support- I miss you all but am doing well here- getting ready for term two to start tomorrow- VERBS- (eek! If you have any advice for teaching verbs.. please email me!)

Hugs from me mama dog (who I’ve named Lady) and the nine pups (who are all lying besides me ...) from Tanzania-


ALSO- Please read the following about a video project I'm going to start this semester- I would LOVE feedback!

Take a minute to read this if you're interested in helping me in a project I'm undertaking here in the next couple years here in Tanzania all you have to do is read this and let me know if you have input! It's as easy as that!!!!!

What is it?? - So I've gotten some inspiration to create a video about life/ the school here in Kiabakari. What I plan to do- is interview my students asking them maybe 3 or four questions and then make a quasi-documentary including some of their responses and then footage from around the village here- and neighboring villages.

I just though this would A) be a neat opportunity for my students we'll work one on one answering first in Swahili- then translating it together into English- so it's also extra practice/ practical practice too- for their English B) Something for me to remember my time here from (no I'm not anywhere close to being done, but if I start now maybe I'll have some to share this summer) and most of all - C) Something to share with others which my questions will be focused around.

So why am I writing to you- Well I need some help deciding on a few good questions... Here are some that I spurted out of my brain somehow onto paper - but if you have better ways to phrase them/ other ideas-PLEASE let me know!! I am going to be introducing the idea to the students this week but probably won't start working with them one on one until at least the week after !

My Questions so far:

ο If you could share one thing about what it means to be a Christian what would it be?
ο If you could share one thing about faith...
ο If you could share one thing about being an evangelist what would it be?
ο Why do you want to be an evangelist?
ο If you could share one thing with people around the world what would it be ?
ο If you could share one thing about life in Tanzania/ Tanzanian culture/ or what it means to be Tanzanian... what would it be?

Okay these are just some I've been brainstorming- if you have any input- please take time in the next week to write! I would appreciate it- I'll also ask my students of course too.

Asante sana- thank you very much!

Mungu akubariki!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Bwana Yesu Asifiwe ! _- Amen!

This is a common phrase any church occasion you attend- it means Praise the Lord!

Hello from an empty Shule ya Kiabakari- ALL of the students have returned home for Easter- now campus is quiet- and weird... I guess I enjoy the students- even when they’re giving me lip and don’t want to do work... kids these days... wait some of them are 40.. yes- my students range in age from 18-40 ha- okay- well students these days ;- ) Sometimes it truly is a challenge being a young, blonde female- I just wasn’t made exactly to fit in here... but I do my best- and try not to let it bother me.. I think it’s importance to bridge those gaps... building bridges... one of my jobs here- -

Things are well here- I have a nice cold that makes me sound strange and look a bit like Rudolph – although it’s not quite the season for that- and getting bad colds when it’s 85ish degrees outside- never does make any sense to me, but many of the students had colds- so they decided to share with me- how nice- ;- )

Another pesky thing is the new visitors in my house... I have SO many bees.. it’s awful.. SIPENDI nyuki! I don’t like bees- many of you know that bout me.. well I’m getting accustomed to them.. but I still hate them...They’re building a hive in my roof.. and I see hundreds swarming my roof daily- also some find cracks to come inside my house- how lovely.. so I guess on the bright side- I now have many visitors in my house... I just would rather have others.. You know it’s bad when you find yourself in bed one morning at 6am- the bees have woken you up- and you find yourself yelling.. “I want the fleas back, I want the fleas back...” Not a sentence I ever dreamed I would utter, let alone yell at 6am- yes this is a true story! Haha.. I guess it’s mildly funny... My mom doesn’t think so though... Hopefully I’ll figure out some way to get rid of them- with help of course... My students laughed at me- because for Fun Fact Friday- and Maswali Monday (Two short ice-breakers to warm up their brains for class... ) have been about bees... One of them was about how queen bees can lay 800-1,500 eggs a day.. (NOT comforting) the other was about bees have 5 eyes... (yes.. my random facts have found a home here too) Now- however my students make fun of me saying my house has many eyes... and the bees are all watching me with their five eyes... Har har har..

Oh well- This past week again I taught/ led bible study again for the women at church- we started studying one of the camp’s bible studies- it was a lot of work translating bits and pieces and making sure the questions still make sense- but it went well – really well, there were only four of us this week, but one of the women reminded me- where there are two or more, God is with us- so let’s take time to study his word.. how can I argue with that! :- ) It went really well we all had things to say- and I felt I understood a lot better today when we were discussing things!! PLUS I took the school bicycle to Bible Study because I was running late and it’s about a 30 minute walk.. when I got on the bike the principal’s wife said... do you know how to ride that? I said oh sure- I do it all the time at home... still concerned.. Annie- - that’s different this bike is not good- and the roads are quite different... ah, nah I said.. no problem... hahaha.. She didn’t mention the difficulties I would have riding in my SKIRT! Boo.. next time it’s trousers and a kanga for sure-! But I made it and it was so nice- I can’t wait to pick up my own bike from Musoma (thanks to the TTF/ MD- DE Synod- who gave me money to buy one as a Christmas gift :- ) I’m pretty excited!)

At church two weekends ago, I played drums with the choir! I was nervous but it went well- I felt pressure because I am the mzungu- playing the drums? Can they do that? Haha – I think they found out it’s possible.. I also had a row of children sitting right in front of me staring at me intensely... Oy! Sometimes here I feel like a safari animal must when people just stare and say mzungu mzungu—like elephant look an elephant! Or sometimes when I’m next to small children at Kiabakari church- I feel like I’m at a petting zoo, because every so often I’m next to bold children who just like to play with my skin and from time to time grab my hair... I think maybe some of them think they can rub off my mzungu skin.... hopefully they give up on that soon- - sometimes it’s endearing but others it’s not pleasant... haha

On a reflecting note... one of my friends asked me if I was happy here and if I’ve adjusted.... and I thought... woah big questions... I think as far as adjusting goes... is it’s a constant – something that will be constant for the next few years... there’s always something I’m learning and don’t think I’ll figure out everything in the next two years...but as far as being comfortable with my surroundings- most days! (lately- not as much with the bees!) As far as being happy- something I’ve been shown/ learning here is that happiness is a really a state of mentality, a choice we can make- we all deserve to be happy but I think so many things in American society teach us not to be happy/ content... producers/ advertisements want us to think- we don’t have enough, we need more, we’re not good enough - - But I really try to think about being content with where I am/ what I have, and also live with everyday experiences here, the people, the place- the culture, the flora and fauna- (Buuuut maybe not the bees....) – I mean- if we take time to think about things we are thankful and blessed for – we have so many things to be happy about- even if 90% of our culture tells us not to be happy/ content... What if Jesus came to earth and put up a fuss, was not happy or content...Jesus definitely did not have an easy life either hmm an uncontent unhappy Jesus.. that would be a whole different story... Anyway that’s enough rambling- !

After a nice hiatus-- I have started running again!! I love running- it’s so hard to believe how much I need to train again and really difficult to believe I ran an entire marathon- - but I really enjoy it- My first day back at running was one day in Michezo- only one student came... so I said let’s run... we did.. and he laughed at me.. I followed him and he kept saying Mwalimu- umechoka... Teacher you’re tired.. (Yes I’d love a piece of humble pie while I run.. thanks ;- ) haha- oh but it’s been fun- I have even convinced another missionary to run with me some days- and I have been running many mornings at 6:15! If I’m alone I stick to the school/ or school shambas (fields)- But with the other missionary we go on the roads, which is nice! It’s so BEAUTIFUL up here- If I haven’t written about the landscape- it’s very hilly- I would call them mountins—but then again I am from Minnesota... it’s also rocky–yet green with lots of shambas- fields to farm :- ) It’s pretty there’s also lots of kinds of trees (many banana trees- which look like bright green starbursts (not the candy...) and lots of kinds of flowers!) It’s very pretty and to run and see the sun come up is always something I enjoy-- (more-so when I go to bed around 8 or 9... ;- )

Other Fun Tidbits/ Experiences
• One of my banana trees surprised me when they produced baby RED bananas- I had a red banana in Arusha- nice and sweet- and now I have little baby red bananas- yum! Yes- they’re gone..
• Innge Marie had her baby- just April 2nd in the middle of the wee morning hours- : - ) which is pretty exciting! Can’t wait for them to return from Nairobi- to meet her!
• I had some bad milk- when I boiled it (I boil all my milk it comes straight from the cow ☺ ) But when I boiled it.. it turned into crazy weird- cheese like substance... I didn’t eat it- but fed some to the cat who’s still alive!
• I started cooking some things and two of my ladies from Bible study are coming over to bake cookies this afternoon : - )