Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
- 4 medium potatoes
- 2 eggs
- Oil (for frying)
- Peel potatoes and cut into the size of steak french fries
- Heat enough oil to cover the potatoes until drops of water cause “boiling”
- Put potatoes in the hot oil and cook until soft, turning occasionally so they cook evenly.
- Remove potatoes from oil and place in frying pan with 1 TBSP of oil.
- Beat two eggs and pour over the potatoes in the frying pan
- Cook them together for a few seconds and then flip using a plate (invert the frying pan over the plate and then slide the chips mayai off the plate and back into the pan with the uncooked side down on the heat).
- Press the chipsi mayai into the pan with a spatula as it cooks. After a minute or so, flip again using the plate and press again with the spatula
- Continue cooking until the egg is completely cooked.
If you try it out, let me know!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Peace Corps also encourages (highly encourages) us to get integrated into our village as quickly as possible. We thought that attending church would be an easy way to meet people, be seen, and get integrated. As far as I can tell, the church we attend is a non-denominational Christian church. There is a Roman Catholic church down the street, but they don’t have a priest. The first week we attended, many of the students from our high school were also there. They took up about 1/4 of the church. These students provide the gospel singing and dancing which is phenomenal. I was pleased we went simply to see these students sing and dance. There is one student who plays a drum as well. The remainder of the church congregation are some teachers, and many people from the village. Of course, the whole service is in Swahili, so we understand very little of the message.
The first week we attended, the principal or mkuu of our school introduced us to the congregation. We were pleased that we were able to get an introduction to many villagers so early on. We also got to meet the pastor personally and he is very kind. At the end of church, everyone goes outside and they auction off items. Basically, someone will bring in items as a donation and then the church auctions them off to people to get money for the church. The first week, people donated eggs which were bought and then given to Jon and I. They also auctioned off pencils.
The second week we attended was slightly different than the first week. The biggest thing we noticed was the church went from one hour to 2.5 hours. The students were having a break from school, so they were not in attendance. There was an additional pastor and we played a game. Basically, the church has been trying to build a larger church for the last two years. So, this week included a game which took about one hour to do, but raised money for the new church being built. If you chose, you could buy a card for 1,000 TSH (TSH = Tanzanian Shillings) (like 75 cents). Then, inside your card is a prize. You could win a piece of candy, soap, pencils, a notebook, or the grand prize of a T-shirt. Jon and I each bought a card and oddly enough we both won a notebook which we were happy about. Then, we did the same auction at the end, where again, the eggs were bought by someone else and given to us.
I hope that we can improve our Swahili to talk to people more. Also, it will be interesting to see if church begins to make more sense to us as our language improves. Overall, it’s not too bad not being able to understand anything because the singing and dancing is entertainment enough. In fact, in the Tanzania Lonely Planet guide, it marks church singing as one of the top 10 cultural experiences!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
After going into the village and introducing ourselves to some people, we were ecstatic to find a little restaurant where we can buy chipsi mayai, one of Tanzania’s famous foods. It’s basically just french fries and eggs together (it’s really good). We also discovered places to buy more minutes for our phone and some food so we don’t have to buy it all in the major city that is expensive to get to for us.
On our way home, we decided to stop and ask what was going on at that house with many people. Of course, we used Swahili to try to learn what was going on. The conversation that went awkwardly wrong went a little something like:
Jon: Hello! What’s going on here?
Man: Hello! It’s a <enter word we don’t know>
Jon: Hmm, I don’t know <that word>
Sara with a big, happy smile on the face: Ah! Is it a party?
Man, in English: No, it’s a funeral
Jon & Sara: enter foot in mouth
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
The next game we went to was the championship game. This time there were other women and easily 100 spectators and likely more. The winners of the championship were to receive $20 for the whole team plus a goat. Yes, a real live goat as the trophy for the winning team. The game was wild. Every time there was a goal, the spectators rushed the field, people were doing flips, and children were dancing. There was one man who had a horn to provide the noise for the game. It turned out that the horn was literally that. An animal horn where the person had made a little place to blow into and made noise.
As it turned out, the score was 4-1, but the losing team was very upset. At the end of the game, a fist fight broke out! We couldn’t see much because the crowd rushed to the fight. Once the fist fight ended between the teams, the losing team starting chasing the referee out of site. Jon and I left before we could determine what had happened. Our neighbor came over the next day to let us know what happened. The losing team was supposed to receive a second place prize of $8. But, the villages got together and determined that the losing team will not receive any money and those who fought and chased the referee will not be able to play in the next tournament. All of this over a goat (and maybe some team pride)!
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
One common nuisance that comes along with living in Tanzania are the presence of rats. Most families have this problem at some point throughout the year. For instance, my host family had to buy poison to get rid of a rat problem they had while we were there. There are several strategies to try to prevent this problem, one being simply not leaving any food laying around. We definitely know that that volunteer in our house previous to us had rat problems. When we rearranged furniture in our house, we discovered hundreds of rat pellet poop. However, we had not seen any in our home….until two nights ago.
I was having one of my insomniac nights, I was just teetering on the brink of falling asleep without actually sleeping. I was laying in bed and I heard a noise that seemed to be coming from within our bedroom. I figured it’s probably nothing because there are a lot of noises in the night. But, then I heard something that sounded to be coming from within our clothing cabinet. After ten minutes of making sure it sounded like it was inside the house, I finally woke Jon up. It took about five minutes of convincing him that it was not “a bird on the roof at 3:00am”. We lit a candle and searched our room, but found nothing. Jon went into the kitchen and there it was, our first rat scurrying across the table in which we prepare all of our food. It jumped off the table, ran behind our buckets of water, and scurried into our spare room where we have a bookshelf.
So, at 3:00am, we put all of our food underneath pots and set up rat traps. We took buckets, put some peas and powdered milk underneath it and then propped it up with a nail. We set one up in the kitchen and one up in the spare room where we thought it was hiding. After hoping that it either gets caught or leaves, we went back into bed. It wasn’t even five minutes where we heard it scurrying around in our room. We got a flashlight and caught it staring back at us! It must have come into our bedroom while we were trying to set up traps. We chased it out of the room and fell asleep.
The next morning, we woke up feeling hopeful that the rat fell for one of our traps. Sadly, it had not gotten caught underneath the one in the kitchen. Jon went into our spare room to check on that trap and he came running back out screaming. The rat was on top of our bookshelf and when Jon walked into the room, they were eye to eye. We shut the door to that room and went right over to our neighbor to borrow their cat named Miss.
Miss (who by the way is a male cat) was placed into the spare room to catch the rat. After about thirty minutes of the cat trying to get the rat who was hiding underneath the bookshelf, we decided to try to to help Miss out by shaking the rat out of the bookshelf. Jon went into the room to shake the bookshelf. But, nothing came out. Miss was scared of the commotion and left his resting place on our bag of charcoal. As it turned out, Miss was sitting on top of the rat on the charcoal bag! We didn’t know if the rat was dead or not.
Our neighbor came to see if she could help the situation. She is a 25 year old Swahili teacher at our school. So, her and Jon went back into the rat room and I stayed outside peering into the room through the window. The rat was not dead. Our neighbor went to check on the bag of charcoal and the rat came running out, scaring our neighbor who jumped up and nearly landed on the rat as she came back down. Miss was excited now. I could see the whole room, so I was screaming at them where the rat was at all points. This rat can jump! It climbed up the bookshelf, jumped down, scaled all corners of the room, jumped two feet into the air to climb up our bicycle, hopped over onto my hanging laundry until Maida whacked it with a fly swatter back to the ground. Finally, Miss caught the rat and enjoyed a rat snack. The whole process took hours to finally get that rat defeated!
If we get another rat, we are going to get a cat. Our neighbor told us with Miss around they have not seen any rats in their home at all. Rats eat everything: they chew holes in your furniture, clothes, shoes, eat your food, and are just disgusting to begin with. So, that was the beginning of our week!