Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Jon & Sara – 1 point (for 1 dead rat)
Team Panya – 4 points (for each time they get the food without dying)
The rats are living underneath our bookshelf. So, once we get enough of them dead, we’re hoping their little happy rat colony ceases to exist and we are going to try to cover all the holes into our house every night before bed. But, don’t get me wrong, I feel bad about killing the rats. They’re kind of cute. Seriously. Unfortunately, they chew through clothes, furniture, and are pretty dirty. So, they’ve gotta go. They really piss Jon off when they eat the food and don’t die. I’ll update weekly on how the competition is going.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
It was quite entertaining to get it back to my site. We talked to two taxi drivers to see if they would be willing to transport our bike back. They said they would for the fee of an extra person in the car, which was not a bad deal at all for us. However, they were concerned that the street police would stop them and not let them take the bike hanging out of the trunk. We agreed to walk the bike up the road that we live on, past the street police. Then, the taxi driver came by to pick us up there so we wouldn’t be seen. I love this country where people don’t care about laws nearly as much as stickler Americans!
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
After about an hour of this video, they turned it off and one of the teachers said, okay we are going to a wedding now. I thought there was some lost in translation going on there or perhaps he was making a joke since we had watched so much of a wedding video. As it turns out, it wasn’t a joke and he was telling us that all of the teachers are going and so should we. We said, oh, really, you’re inviting us? We need to change at least. He said, '”we are waiting for you then we will go, it’s just over there”. Luckily, we only live a 2 minute walk from the school, so we ran home and got into nicer outfits. I have one nice Tanzanian outfit and Jon has a suit coat he throws on for nice occasions. We came back and sure enough all the teachers and us walked over together.
As in most situations, Jon and I are the guests of honor. Even though we just ate lunch at about 1:00 and it was only 2:30, we were fed HUGE plates of food. Meanwhile, none of the other teachers ate. It’s always awkward for us, but it seems rude to decline. The wedding was held in the unfinished church in our village. This was a unique wedding because it was an open invitation – anyone can come and you are expected to give a donation. Jon and I didn’t know how much to give so we starting stuffing an envelope. One of the other teachers saw how much we were giving and said it was too much. In the end, they told us to give the equivalent of .60.
The weather today was rainy and very, very cold. But, it did not put a damper on the wedding party! There were easily hundreds of people there and many of which were dancing. Tanzanians LOVE to dance. And let me tell you, they are good! I sure hope I can pick up their moves before we leave. The food was rice, beans, vegetables, and some form of meat. You could get soda or water, but no alcohol.
After a while, I became the free babysitter. It started with two kids being brave enough to come near the white people. In no time, I was surrounded by 15 kids all under the age of 5 dancing with me, making fishy faces with me, or playing peak-a-boo. The other teachers and community members thought I was crazy. But, the kids loved it and I enjoyed it, too.
We stayed for a few hours and left with our colleagues. We shook the bride and groom’s hand, but we didn’t even know them. And that is how things roll in Tanzania. One minute you’re watching a wedding video and the next minute, without any warning you are being filmed in a wedding video.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Jon was technically on the food committee because after the graduation, they feed all the students and parents. After decorating, I joined the food committee mostly because it was amazing to witness everyone cooking for 1,000 people. They had about 10 bonfires going in which they just set HUGE cooking pots up and cooked for about 6 –8 hours straight. I helped cut up some of the food, but overall, there were too many cooks in the outdoors kitchen.
Jon and I were on the “honored guests” podium. Basically, the students do a bunch of performances from singing to dancing, the honored guests do speeches, and they give out certificates to the students. Then, the students all go to take their pictures. The ceremony lasts about 4 hours. This year’s ceremony wasn’t all that special to us since we don’t know the students graduating. However, it was a great cultural experience and great way to bond with the teachers during the preparation. We look forward to next year’s, where hopefully we will know the students much better!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Each one of the teachers at our school has a plot of land that is owned by the school but that they are allowed to grow food. Our neighbors grow “maize” or a type of corn on their farm. Since we have arrived at our site, they have had hundreds of ears of corn drying in their front yard. Last week, they rented a machine to turn all of their ears of corn into corn flour. Corn flour is used here to make the Tanzanian staple food called ugali. Essentially, it is just corn flour and water over heat that is mixed over and over until the right consistency. It simply looks like mashed potatoes and doesn’t taste like much of anything. You eat it with a sauce that brings on the flavor.
There were about 15 students helping bag up the corn to bring to the machine to process it into corn flour. It takes about 3 men to operate the machine and 4 women to help with the job. There is one man who stands nearby the machine and hands the bags of corn to a man on top of the machine. The man on top of the machine inserts the corn into the machine. Meanwhile, there is a man underneath the machine catching the flour into huge sacks. The four women are on the side of the machine catching all of the cobs of corn being spit out by the machine. They carry the bags of cob to the side of our house and make a pile.
The process went on for about one hour until all of the corn was processed. I helped the students bag the corn to bring to the machine. While working in the pile of corn, we came across easily 10 rats living in the corn. I think I have a great idea where our rat problem stemmed from. The students initially thought it was hilarious that I was assisting with bagging the corn. But, they found even funnier every time I lifted up some corn, found a rat, and screamed at the top of my lungs.
One of the teachers who was also helping asked me if this is how we get corn flour in America. I explained that I don’t think we really have corn flour, but even wheat flour, I have no idea how it’s made. We are so disconnected from our food in America. I often am asked about food processing in the USA and I basically just look really stupid because I can never answer their questions. I have no idea where our food comes from whereas people here know exactly where the food comes from.