Saturday, August 27, 2011

Official volunteers

We all made it!  As of Wednesday morning, we are all official volunteers here in Tanzania!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Plattsburgh alum, again!

Last night, we met up again with more Plattsburgh alum!  It was a spectacular evening reminiscing about Plattsburgh.  It was great to see that all the students who I worked with are successfully employed back in their home country.  I am looking forward to seeing them all again the next time we are in town for work/visit!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our neighbor

This is our closest neighbor to our home!  He's a 79 year old volunteer who is teaching math.  He will be located about one hour away from us.  I think he needs to be highlighted since it is amazing that he has chosen to volunteer in his older age!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So much change

Well, things are slowly wrapping up for us!  We left our host family on Sunday morning.  It was a very sad goodbye for us.  Unfortunately, our host mama's brother passed away unexpected earlier in the week.  So, our last week was spent without her which was very sad for us.  We were able to see her briefly when she got back home, and at about 6:00am the morning we left.  I know that we will definitely miss them so much.

We left our training site and will become official volunteers on Wednesday!  I am proud to say that our training class is the first group to go through in a very long time without having anyone leave early!  We had a nice tour of the Peace Corps office and have been just doing last minute stuff.  This afternoon we met with our the principal of our school.  He seems very kind and understanding.  Our school has about 950 students with 12 professional teachers.  They have around 4 student teachers there and then us.  We learned that our house has no electricity or water and that we are living amongst our colleagues in teacher housing.  We have our own house, but are surrounded by teachers.

There have been two other volunteers at our school before us.  So, the students are accustomed to Peace Corps teachers and are very excited to meet us.  Additionally, the principal was ecstatic to learn that he was getting both of us!  In our school of 950 students, there is one math teacher and Jon.  So, he will definitely have his work cut out for him.  There are two English teachers and me.  So, I also will be quite busy.  However, our principal is very understanding.  As it turns out, we won't even officially start teaching until September 20.  This gives us plenty of time to adjust to our home and make it our own.   I want to get into the school before that, though, and give a self introduction since we will certainly be seeing teachers and students around before we first begin teaching.

That is all for now.  I hope to "write" more than just post pictures when we get to site.  But, the internet is so slow and things are complicated in terms of computer stuff.  So, if this turns into a picture blog, I am sorry!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wedding photos

One evening when we had no electricity, one of our house girls (a girl who works in our house cleaning or cooking, etc.) asked me if I had any pictures of myself.  I brought out my wedding photo book that Julie gave to me as a gift.  It has several photos of our wedding day.  The girls were fascinated with the photos - from the dresses to seeing our family and photos of Jon and I.  The best cross cultural experience:  "Sara, your dress is so beautiful and you look so fat!".  Being called fat here is a compliment.  It was very entertaining given it's such an insult in the USA!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Broken Down daladala

So, this picture is the back end of our broken down "daladala".  To fix it, the drivers piled up a bunch of rocks, and used some sort of jack to raise up the daladala.  It got fixed eventually, but we were amazed at the creativity of getting the car to rise...and a little nervous the rocks would go crashing down!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Peace Corps Volunteers like to share their secrets, for example, "the fruit place" where they sell freshly squeezed juice for only 5 cents.  Below is mango, avocado, and grape juice!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane is sold all over this country!  You basically cut off the outside, then you bite off pieces of it and suck out the sugar juice and spit out the hard part.  It's delicious, but after about 20 minutes of it, it feels like your teeth are about to fall out!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dinner with Plattsburgh alumni

One absolutely amazing part of my previous job are the contacts I currently have all over the world.  There is one Plattsburgh alum that Jon and I had dinner with last night.  He was born and raised in the city we are training in.  I actually ran into him at a hotel where Jon and I often relax in the outdoor courtyard.  He was here playing pool and we ran into eachother.  Small world!  Anyway, we certainly got together last night and enjoyed dinner together.  I am really excited because we come back to this training city every now and then over the next few years.  It felt great to reminisce with someone from Plattsburgh and hang out with a Tanzanian my age.  I will also be having dinner with many alumni in about a week in Dar es Salaam.  Super excited!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Exfoliating in the Indian Ocean

Last week I spent the whole time with a current Peace Corps Volunteer shadowing what it's like to be in an isolated village.  I went with Jon and another trainee.  Our host is a health volunteer who lives in a village of about 850 people.  It was great, I will post more pictures soon.  We spent a weekend in the city nearby and got to spend a day swimming in the Indian Ocean.   We met up with another volunteer and two other trainees.   The whole day was swimming and exfoliating our skin with sand as seen below!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Making mandazi

As mentioned before, my host mama is a caterer.  Last night, I helped her make the donuts which are called mandazi that she sells in the morning at a nearby university.  I probably fried up at least 100 of em on my own! The houseworkers told me I am a real "African mama" now since I knew how to make them.  I'm frying them over a charcoal grill.  They sell for 100 shillings which is literally 6 or 7 cents.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Milking the cow!

Finally, Jon milked the cow...something he's been wanting to do since we got here.  He's also killed a chicken, but I didn't take pics of that and he didn't particularly like it.  He won't be doing it again.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where is Sara?

On Thursday, the 28th my female students and I played games all afternoon together.  They taught me a bunch of Tanzanian girls games which includes lots of booty shaking and a game similar to dodgeball.  We even had a human tug of war.  Peace Corps encourages us to do female empowerment with our students to encourage them to stay in school.  After this afternoon with my girls, I am psyched to do it when I get to my permanent site.  They were so much fun and so awesome.  I loved their booty dance!