Wow- It is definitely time for an update! Saa inakimbia sasa! Time is flying – well here they use running- but it’s not only running- at least not with my speed of running!
I am pleased to tell you I am much healthier than my last post! I got quite sick in/ after going to Nairobi- and couldn’t eat much for a good week. But- don’t worry I am eating plenty now :- )
Well- really the time is going by SO fast- I will be home in just over a month- it’s completely nuts! My countdown in my office is as follows:
Days until Arusha: 30 days
Days until I land in beautiful Minneapolis 41 days
Days until my big brother gets hitched :- ) 52!
Holy cow... it’s crazy that it’s so close when I started my countdown around 100 days until I come home.... Don’t get me wrong- Things are for the most part going really well- and being here definitely feels like home now... and it has occurred to me so many times how different my countdown would be if I were not coming back to Tanzania in August, instead of sheer joy and pee-my-pants excitement.... I would have a heavy heart knowing I would have to leave this place and the people that are starting to etch permanent marks on my heart and soul. Besides- I am NOT done learning .. (thought I’m not sure we as humans, ever really are..). It’s not that I think I will ever “figure things out..” so to speak... but I am having some great and not so great experiences- and doing my best to engrain each of them into my bongo kubwa- (literally translates to big brain...) My students love when I use that term- You have a bongo kubwa so use it to think-- or I have a bongo kubwa so I know when you’re trying to get away with something you’re not supposed to ;-) They also like when I say sijazaliwa jana... I wasn’t born yesterday... I am not so sure that these idioms always translate directly- but I think they get the points still!
One thing that has been impossible to ignore is what I will call the woes of a young female in the village... I think I have written some before about the area in which I am living and the way women are to be submissive to men. Well, usually I am respectful of this and try to be very respectful to the men in the village especially pastors and leaders kwa kawaida- per usual here in Tanzania. However last week- I had enough with the students treating me different than the other teachers because for me I have two stigmas against me, 1. I am young.. (even if I feel old, at least half my students are older than me some much older, 40...) and 2. I am a woman. Oh boy.
Last week I was mwalimu wa zamu- the head teacher and the rest of the teachers were all in a seminar held at the school for pastors. This meant a few things- a) I had more lessons (yippee!- I really do like teaching) b) we had visitors c) I was in charge of all cleaning and other work projects. This is my LEAST favorite thing of all to be in charge of and my least favorite part of being head teacher. Giving the students their jobs takes so much effort- and some of them really argue and argue with me. It’s always been this way- but this past week was worse. Over and over again arguing- not doing what I asked. Finally I had enough- and I needed to talk to the principal about. As far as myself- I have decided I am done arguing with students if it happens again. I will tell them once maybe twice and if they don’t do there work- they can deal with the principal- who was very supportive. It’s just strange sometimes to be at a bible school for evangelists and be treated without much respect. Plus I feel it necessary to say it’s not all of the students- maybe around half and also I have found it quite interesting to see how things are changing here slowly for women.... Oh well- life will go on... just the woes of a young female in the village.
Other than work projects teaching is going well. This term has gone by so fast! It’s been really short with trips for evangelism on the weekends, harvesting, and other things- I just hope that I can get through most of the things I would like to teach by November! (Our school starts in January- November!) The video is also coming along slowly... It takes a lot of time to answer questions and work together to translate answers then record... but I am determined to get some of it done for this summer! It may be a preview of sorts but it will still be insightful ( I can say this because I have been working with the students and heard their answers! : )
On other news, I became a Godmother! The Danish missionaries here Inge Marie and Simon had a baby- (who I met and returned to Kiabakari with from Nairobi)- and they asked me to be God-mom- What an HONOR!! Plus it is tradition here that the Godparents hold the baby while it is being baptized, this means I held little Hanna (my God-daughter) while she was being baptized! (And she was so good- sleeping most of it- meaning she was squirming and I didn’t even get close to dropping her phew!) And yes- I think it is safe to say I’m no longer afraid of babies for all you friends back home- I am holding them and exposed to them very much here – why was I afraid again?? They actually aren’t super breakable as I thought! Who knew!?
As far as my other 9 children go... the puppies... I am so ready to sell the majority of them! I love them... most times... but they are also 1) very loud 2) smelly at times 3) pooping/ peeing more often 4) Escaping more often 5) did I mention loud.. at all hours? 6) they have given me fleas... (not the first time...hooray...) But also I am very attached to one or two of them- given them names and everything- the one I will keep is named Penny- or Pendo (Which means love in Swahili- but I think I will call her penny mostly !)
Lastly- the biggest and most recent update is about Ibadaa this morning. Every morning we have Ibadaa service, including liturgy a short message and singing. Someone thought I should be included in the message portion... so today for my first time I had muhubiri- or the sermon/ message. Ahh! Also it follows a calendar- so each day is an assigned scripture! I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep much last night. BUT- it went really well :- D I got three claps!! Three claps is something they do in Tanzania as an honor/ appreciation- you get three claps. I was pretty proud. Plus the principal Sube thanked me in his announcements asked for the three claps- and then said I am now Tanzanian and my swahili is as though I have lived here for 10 years. (Yes I think I was blushing... :- ) But I am pretty thrilled about it all : -D!! I got three claps! :D Hooray!
Other Random/ Interesting Experiences:
1- I bought my bike! :- ) In Musoma I picked one up- and I love it- a used mountain bike- I just cruised home from Maombi and the local market on it- I got back only a few minutes after the person driving a car! :- )
2- I’ve started singing with the choir at church- it is fun! : -)
3- I had a nice run in with Siafu- (army ants) they were close to my house- and I was worried about the puppies... they could wipe out all nine of them if they wanted... So – as I was monitoring where they were headed..I got bit :( Not only that but found out.. firsthand this time where the phrase ants in your pants come from.. and it’s not a phrase to be taken lightly let’s leave it at that. Oof!
4- I taught baseball : - ) Well- it’s a cross between baseball and whiffle ball! We used down tree branches / big sticks- for bats, and a soft ball wrapped in duct tape! It’s pretty awesome (as a side note- GO TWINS!)