Friday, May 23, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Close

As we were growing up, people always commented about us. "You guys seem so close." "You three don't fight like other siblings. You must be really close." "What makes you all so close?" We would either just smile and nod at the statements, or shrug at the questions. We didn't know what made us close, we just were.

As we grew up, we stayed closely-knit, even all eventually attending the same university, across the continent from our hometown. The first year all three of us were there together, we found out, quite awhile into the school year, that many people wondered which of us girls was dating the guy. They were always relieved to find out we were siblings rather than a strange love triangle. We found it all rather amusing.

After college we all went our separate ways -- my sister Bryna to Eygpt as a student missionary preschool teacher, me to Tanzania as a student missionary doing public relations work for an NGO, my brother Tyler in his last year of school. The next year Bryn started a one-year preschool certification, Tyler set out on his own student missionary stint teaching two missionary kids, and making and editing videos for the mission organization in Guyana, while I got married and moved to South Korea with my husband where he taught English and I worked at a textbook office. For two years we were spread across the globe, then the next year Tyler and Bryn worked and lived together back in our hometown while I moved east to Maine where my husband started a master's degree. Now my brother has moved here, too, while my sister still lives in the west. But it didn't matter how long we were apart. Each time we got together again, no matter how long or short a time we had to spend with each other, it was always like we'd never been apart. We fit back together again like a jigsaw puzzle.

Last night it was like that again. The three of us siblings, and now all of our significant others, hanging out together, conversations overlaid one on top of another, never a lull or a time of awkward silence. We are close and I can't think of anything that will ever keep us from being close. No matter where we end up living, what we end up doing for work, we will always slip right back to where we left off. I am so glad it's like that. And I hope my children will also have that same kind of relationship with each other. It's just...comfortable. And awesome!

Siblings in late 1989
Siblings after a performance in the early 2000s

Tyler, I'm so glad all of us, and many other family members and friends, are converging upon Maine this weekend to help you celebrate your marriage to Amanda. We love you both so much!

My musings on the prompt 'close' for Five Minute Friday. Join in next week if you feel inspired!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Since I've come home from Tanzania...

This is the fifth and final post in my commemorative mini-series about Tanzania. It's been great to go through old pictures and videos, and remember wonderful memories about my time living there.

Throughout my 29 years I have traveled quite a lot. During my childhood, my travel-loving parents were never afraid to pack up the family into a minivan or a motor home and set out on the road, and for that I am truly grateful. I don't remember everything about all the trips, but I remember some things, and those memories are special. Those road trips let me see how mountains can fade into prairies, how cool weather can gradually give way to hot weather, how accents can slide from crisp enunciation and short vowels to relaxed drawls and drawn out As, and so many more things. Even though I don't remember every detail of these trips, they have stuck with me because their main focus was not getting from point A to point B, but enjoying the journey and learning along the way.

As a teenager I began expanding my horizons and started traveling outside of North America. And because of those early cross-continent road trips, I was well-equipped to appreciate the distinct differences I saw. My nearly-16-year-old eyes passed over the dusty and garbage-strewn roads of India to drink in the brilliant-coloured saris worn by graceful women, the exuberant smiles of brown-faced children, the hardworking men who laid block alongside us Westerners and rejoiced that they would finally have a church building to worship in. That one trip to northern India with my father sealed my fate; the world amazed me and I never wanted to stop traveling, or seeing new places and learning about the people who lived there. The next year, then the next, and the next, took me to Costa Rica, Mexico, and Belize. Each a Spanish-speaking country in Central America, but each so distinctly different from the others. Spring break of my first year in university found me squished into a nine-passenger van with six other people and more luggage than should have been brought along with us to Europe. My family and my grandparents spent 14 days traveling south from Germany to Italy, then back north to England, visiting 10 countries (we count Vatican City as a does have its own postal system after all) before leaving the van at the Frankfort airport, but returning to North America with two weeks of memories of springtime in Europe. Two years later I left the rigors of university to spend three and a half months in a small children's home in Guatemala City, where overnight I became a meal-and-hygiene assistant, playmate, discipline-giver, sitting-and-walking coach, swing-pusher, book-reader, singer, storyteller, and mother to 50 babies and young children. And another three and a half years later found me sitting on a KLM jet peering out the window into the inky sky scattered with infinite stars, trying to see through the dark to the African land below where I would be living for the next eight months -- thinking back on all my previous travels, and wondering what the future held for this new adventure.

Throughout those months, I learned more about Tanzania than I had about any country outside of North America that I had visited before -- or since. But by the time I left I still felt like I had barely scratched the surface in learning all that the beautiful Eastern African country offered. This is just a little of what I did uncover about Tanzania and what I have kept close to my heart since I've left Africa.

- Fear: As you read in my first post, the travel doctor I visited before leaving for Tanzania was fearful and worried about what might happen to me if I walked around in Africa alone. Now, his fear probably wasn't exactly misplaced. Most of what we hear on the news that comes from African countries is negative (just as most news from North America is also negative). We hear about the bad things that can happen and just assume that if we are in that same place or a place similar, those things will also happen to us. What I learned in Tanzania is that most fear is imagined or misplaced. Before I arrived in TZ, I feared that seeing and/or avoiding snakes would be a major undertaking. In reality, I saw exactly two and a half snakes during the entire eight months: one was dead and two little boys had just picked it up with a stick and were looking at it as my friend and I walked by, one had been caught and purposely brought to our campus with the intent to scare me (it worked...), and the half fell from a tree a little ways in front of me as I walked from my office to my room -- it was the tail half and the best I could guess was that a stork or some other large bird had caught it and accidentally bit it in half as it was flying overhead. My fear ahead of time did not correspond at all to reality. Exactly zero of those snakes flung themselves out of the bushes and latched themselves onto my ankle as I walked by, as I had imagined they might. During my time in Tanzania I watched people pile into dala-dalas, buses, or catch a ride on a piki-piki (motorcycle taxi), despite the fairly high chance that an accident could happen. I watched young children walking to school alone, or in groups of others of similar ages, never for a minute worrying about all manners of dangers that could await them on their walk (remember, snakes could jump out at them!). Every day, some person or another would show me that, although bad things can happen in this world, worrying about them or living fearfully rarely keeps those events from happening, and always eats away the best, most beautiful moments of life. I learned (and this is something I'm still learning, still working on (as are all of these)) to let go of preconceived ideas, to try to loosen the grip that fear holds on me about so many facets of life, either big or small.

- Consumerism: It seems like these days almost no place can escape consumerism, and Tanzania is no exception. People buy and sell there, people want items that will make their lives easier, just the same as in most of the rest of the world. But I felt that the spirit of consumerism there was much more constrained. There were billboards along the highways, commercials for products on TV (from the little I saw as the Maasai guards watched TV in the kitchen/living room area while I made supper), open-air markets and dukas (shops) filled with produce and material and all manner of items, western-style grocery stores. But despite all that, I got the feeling that in Tanzania it is people, and especially family, who are the most important. I've never been all that into shopping or buying various items just because, but during that year I found myself questioning so much of the belongings that I'd acquired in my lifetime, and doing a lot of thinking about what kind of a home I wanted to create when I returned to North America and got married.

- Creativity: As is often the case in regions where the people have less resources to work with, the people I met and observed in Tanzania were remarkably talented in creative thinking and problem solving. Need a bucket to carry home cooking oil, but don't have money to buy one? Well, just find an empty plastic container that was originally used for something completely different, cut it into the shape that you need, and put it to work doing what you need it to do. This way of thinking was seen in so many different ways, and I was often pleasantly surprised at the ways I saw the Tanzanian people using creative means to adapt to a situation. I was very impressed, and since then have found myself wanting to solve a problem in the typical North American way before I finally remember that often times I could simply take stock of what I already have, and brainstorm ways to use these items or ideas to solve my dilemma.

- Strength & fortitude:
 When you think of a North American, strength of character and fortitude of spirit are seldom the first virtues that cross your mind. As I lived and worked among the people of Tanzania, I realized that they are amazingly strong and resilient. Men who lose jobs travel hundreds of miles looking for another job so they can take care of their families. Pregnant women work full days doing hard physical labour. Some of these same women walk for miles during labour to get to a hospital or a clinic to have their babies in a place that might give their children a better chance of survival. Once the birth is over, they wrap up their babies in colourful lengths of material, and walk back home again. Children work hard on their family's property or looking after younger siblings or cooking the family's meals or getting jobs to help support their families. Of course I'm not trying to say that every member of society is upstanding and hardworking. Obviously every community has some members who don't pull their own weight, or don't do as they're expected. I am simply saying that I met and observed so many people during my time in Tanzania who showed amazing strength of character and who had seen numerous obstacles, but had persevered and overcome. And it made me want to be more like these remarkable individuals.

- Time: No one can deny that North American society (and I'm sure many other societies as well, but I will stick with talking about the countries I know best) highly values the concept of busy. Hardly a conversation ends without one participant or the other using the term, and although the word is often used in a negative context, behind the actual words spoken there is a strong sense that busy is actually a positive attribute. [Now, before you think that I want society to sway to the opposite end of the spectrum and laziness to be the prevailing theme, I will make it clear that this is not my intent. I strongly believe in balance in all things, and this is why I mention time and busyness, in this post.] While in Tanzania, I noticed that the people there worked hard. They worked hard every day doing things that most people in North America have only heard about in stories their grandparents or great-grandparents told them when they were young. But when talking to these same people, the word busy was seldom, if ever, used. It just simply wasn't needed. You saw them work. You saw that they had a lot of work to do, that they needed to work hard and work fast to get their duties completed. But you also saw them doing things that would baffle most North Americans. Walking slowly down the road, seeming to be completely enjoying a relaxing walk. Sitting in groups around a coal cookstove, exchanging stories, their voices rushing, but their body language saying that they were in no hurry to leave. Patiently sitting on buses or dala-dalas, waiting without complaint for the vehicle to fill up to bursting before it left. And by watching these scenes day in and day out, I slowly came to realize something that must have been buried way down there in my soul, something I remembered from childhood, but that, over time, I had been encouraged to push down, cover up, and forget about. My realization was this: Life is best enjoyed when you work hard then relax freely, when you allow your time to be appropriately balanced. I saw the contrast between this mentality and the "go, go, go or you'll get behind" mentality very clearly half a year after leaving Tanzania, when Jonathan and I spent eight months living and working in South Korea. If you think North America values busy, try moving to S. Korea for a while. During our time there, I learned many more wonderful life lessons, but this was not one of them. I've spent a lot of time thinking about these two far ends of the spectrum and have come to a conclusion. For now, at this time in my life, I want to sit near the middle, but lean a little bit closer to the "work hard, relax freely" side. I want to tire myself out with work (either physically or mentally), then enjoy the sweet reward of free time, time to chose activities that will rejuvenate my spirit, rather than further tire myself.

Tanzanian dadas (sisters) forever!
During the ride to the airport on the evening I left Tanzania ~ April 24, 2011

By far, the most life-changing part of living in Tanzania was definitely the opportunity and privilege I had in observing and meeting the people in my community, or in my greater travels throughout the country. I am so glad for the experiences I have had in my life to travel, and to be able to live for bits of time in various different countries. And to learn and grow from my experiences and the people I met along the way.


Thank you so much for taking this blogging journey with me. If you missed any of the posts in this mini-series, use the links below to read them.

Read Part 1 here - Before I left for Tanzania...
Read Part 2 here - While I was in Tanzania... Part A
Read Part 3 here - While I was in Tanzania... Part B

Friday, May 02, 2014

While I was in Tanzania... Part C

Part 4 of my commemorative mini-series about Tanzania.

Much of my time in Tanzania was filled with just usual daily-life activities. But once in a while something exciting and/or out-of-the-ordinary happened. And usually when something like that took place I was so busy enjoying it that I neglected to take the time - then or later - to document it on my TZ blog. So it's high time I actually share some of those events and pictures with people. :)

(Note: Although there are tons of pictures of these events that I could post here, I'll try to choose just one or two of the best ones to showcase. I might consider doing an actual post about some of these events in the future, as there are some great pictures and stories I do want to share and have recorded for posterity. If you're interested, let me know in the comments!)

While I was in Tanzania...

- I went on safari, twice. The first time was with three other volunteers over a long weekend. We had an absolute blast, and saw so many amazing animals during our three-day trip to three different national parks: Tarangire NP, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Lake Manyara NP. (I'll share about the second safari later on in this post.) ~ 10.15-17.2010
Kezia, Anika, me, and Danielle in our safari Land Rover in the Ngorongoro Crater

- I learned about the plight of the albino people in Eastern Africa. (Throughout my time in TZ, ADRA was working on programs to help them, so I had the privilege to meet quite a few albinos and learn more about their stories.) ~ Mukidoma School Presentation ~ 10.23.2010
Primary students from Mukidoma School singing a song with their teachers.
The school's primary and secondary students presented their albino
awareness campaign to the ADRA staff one Saturday afternoon.

- I randomly got a roommate for two weeks. Ann-Marie was traveling throughout various parts of Africa, and spent two weeks at our ADRA campus to do some volunteer video work for us, concentrating on the albino people in our area of Tanzania. I was sad when she left to continue on with her travels. (Sadly, I don't have a single picture of or with Ann-Marie - how did that happen?! If any other volunteer has a picture of her, please do send it to me so I can add it to this post...) ~ 10.13-27.2010

- I, along with Ruth and Jordan, two other volunteers from Southern Adventist University who worked at nearby Havilah Children's Village, Skyped with our school's chaplain and missions director for a Friday night vespers program. Although the internet wasn't the best that night, we were able to talk for a few minutes. Seeing some familiar faces and being able to talk to a few friends after vespers was so nice! ~ 11.05.2010
Ruth, Jordan, and me Skyping with Pastor Kirstein for SAU vespers

- my little sister Bryn, who was spending that year working as a preschool teacher in Cairo, Egypt, came to visit during an Egyptian national holiday. It was so great to see her again since she had left for Egypt at the end of June that year. This was the first time we had seen each other in five months! We made the most of our time together as I showed her around the Usa River/Arusha area. ~ 11.15-18.2010
Sisters in Arusha NP with our safari driver
Sisters hanging out at Mt. Meru Game Lodge
(Outfits in both pictures courtesy of each other's wardrobes...what are sisters for, eh?)

- Shae, one of the CoL volunteers, headed up a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving Dinner for US Thanksgiving (being the only Canadian on campus, I didn't have my own Thanksgiving, so I was happy to join the resident Americans in celebrating with them). ~ 11.21.2010
Our group of volunteers gathered around the Thanksgiving table
12 volunteers from 3 organizations (ADRA, CoL, & Havilah Children's Village),
and from 6 countries (USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, and Denmark)

- my Christmas present from my parents was financial help to travel to Egypt to spend Christmas there with my sister Bryn and her new friends!
Bryn & me being tourists at the Pyramids of Giza.
(We were ambivalent about riding a camel, but that actually
got us a great deal on the ride, so we jumped at the chance.)
Me playing Santa Claus for Bryn's preschool students (just the boys pictured)
Bryn & I planned to see The Nutcracker in Cairo, but decided it would be fun
to invite some of Bryn's friends and pay for their tickets as Christmas gifts.
Those tickets were absolutely the most fun Christmas presents we've ever given.
They were so thrilled and enthralled with the whole evening and thanked
us over and over. It was simply a pleasure to spend that special time with them!
L-R: Anita, Manal, me, Mervat, and Bryn outside the Cairo Opera House
One of Bryn's friends, Mervat, took us to Alexandria for a day. It was a whirlwind
tour, but we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Here Bryn and me are
at the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria near a ancient seaside castle.

- my then-boyfriend Jonathan surprised me with a visit, just a few weeks after I got back from Egypt. I had known he was going to be coming to visit sometime during my time in TZ, but he kept the date a total surprise! He then whisked me away for a two-day safari trip, then a trip to the coast and to Pemba Island off the northern coast. It was quite a spectacular trip, for a few reasons. :) ~ 1.11-27.2011
Jonathan and me on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater on our safari
Cheetah on the prowl in the Crater. Just after this picture was taken
we got to see it burst into high speed to chase a small gazelle. It was
thrilling to see, but I was secretly glad the gazelle managed to get away.
On our first evening on Pemba Island, Jonathan surprised
me further by asking a certain question. :D I said, "Yes!"
Twirling from happiness (the day after our engagement).
We did a self mini photo shoot for Save the Date pictures.
Traveling by wooden boat from Pemba Island
to small Masali Island for a snorkeling day trip

- the other volunteers and I went on a day adventure, driving up the slopes of Mt. Meru, then hiking to a freshwater pool at the base of a tall waterfall where we spent the afternoon swimming. ~ 1.30.2011
Waterfall and pool on Mt. Meru
Darren, me, Danielle, and Kirsten enjoying the cool water

- a group of volunteers from another organization invited some of the CoL volunteers and me to a beautiful back-country freshwater spring where we spent the day swimming, swinging from rope swings into the spring, eating yummy food, and enjoying each other's company. We took another trip out to this spring a few weeks before I left Tanzania as well. Both were delightful! ~ 2.6.2011 & 4.16.2011
Majimoto spring - kinda, sorta near Moshi
Danielle, Kezia, Darren, and Liz relaxing after a swim and lunch
Stopping for a picture during the drive on our second trip out to Majimoto
L-R: Natasha, Amina, Danielle, Simon, Kezia, and me
Friends watching Kili come out for the evening

- I traveled with Jordan, a volunteer friend from Havilah Children's Village, to Nairobi, Kenya for a long weekend to meet up with two of her friends from our university who were in the process of traveling around the world, from cape to cape. (I blogged about this trip - read more about it here.) ~ 3.4-6.2011
Feeding a giraffe at the Nairobi Giraffe Center
Bjorn, me, and Jeremy eating a delicious breakfast
at a little shack restaurant we found behind our hostel

- the volunteers and I went to Arusha for an evening of fun to watch the Mama Africa circus. One person in our group had seen them perform before and told us that they often grabbed people from the audience to help out with various acts, so throughout the entire performance I was trying to make myself as invisible as possible, and thankfully, I was never pulled onto the stage. All in all, though, the acrobats were amazing, and it was a very memorable evening! ~ 3.26.2011
Acrobat and his trusty sidekicks
Final circus number

- I traveled with ADRA for some albino support programs. Our travels took us to Tanga, a city on the northern coast of Tanzania, and Moshi, a city an hour and a half-ish south of Arusha that is right on the edge of Kilimanjaro National Park, as well as to Arusha for a day. ~ Tanga - 4.1-3.2011 | Moshi - 4.9-10.2011 | Arusha - 4.17.2011
Crowd listening to speeches at the Albino Registration Day in Tanga
School children singing at the Albino Registration Day in Moshi
Volunteers at the Albino Registration Day in Arusha

- I took a weekend trip with another volunteer, Kezia, to the gorgeous town of Babati, a few hours east of Arusha and met a friend there who showed us around the area, and let us see the progress of some ADRA wells and latrines being built in various surrounding villages and schools. (I blogged about this trip - read more about it here.) ~ 4.18-19.2011
Gorgeous Babati countryside
Trying out one of ADRA's wells in a village near Babati

So those are the special events that happened during my SM year. Tune in again soon to read my final post in this series with my take-away from my time in Tanzania.

Read Part 1 here - Before I left for Tanzania...
Read Part 2 here - While I was in Tanzania... Part A
Read Part 3 here - While I was in Tanzania... Part B
Read Part 5 here - Since I've come home from Tanzania...

Thursday, May 01, 2014

While I was in Tanzania... Part B

Part 3 of my commemorative mini-series about Tanzania. This is just a glimpse of my day-to-day life.

While I was in Tanzania...

- I would hurry from my office to my thatched hut, change from my work clothes into can-get-dirty clothes, rush over the cobblestone pathway from my hut to the playroom at Cradle of Love Baby Home next door, sit on the cool, tiled floor, and watch a passel of babies and toddlers crawl, scoot, toddle, or scamper in my direction for some pre-bedtime hugs and kisses.
Mobbed by babies (L-R: Patrick, Nancy, Witness, Eric, & Amani)
Bibi Helen (the night supervisor) and me hanging out with the triplets,
Anya (L), Nina (R, playing with my hair), and Tessa (in my lap)
^ The toddler's pre-bedtime version of "London Bridge is Falling Down"
(For any of you who are friends with Danielle on FB, here's a link to my
all-time favourite pre-bedtime toddler video! I so wish I had my own copy of it...)

- I spent most Friday afternoons in the preschool room with some of the other volunteers and the older toddlers who lived at Cradle, singing songs, putting together puzzles, building with blocks, playing "Ring-Around-the-Rosie," "Duck, Duck, Goose," and "London Bridge's," just learning and growing together.
Being a train as we went from singing time to play time
^Singing time at darasa (preschool class)

 - I walked to the post office at least once a week during lunch break or on Friday afternoon to check the mail (many times by myself! - oops, sorry travel doctor who didn't know one thing about living in a rural Tanzanian village). If I didn't have a package or a letter waiting for me, I'd ask if any of the other volunteers did, and finding out they had mail was almost as exciting as getting some myself. I'd stick the packages in my handmade cloth bag made of Tanzanian material by Tanzanian ladies and quickly walk back to the campus where I'd deliver the packages for others, or tear into my own to find the treasures waiting inside.
The place where dreams come true (or hopes are dashed)...
Opening a box from Southern
(Note - If you are ever inclined to send a package to someone living in Africa, remember this advice: please, please, please only ever use padded envelops, never boxes. Otherwise that person will have to choose between paying a high sum to actually get the box (which is probably filled with melted chocolates...) or letting the post office sell off the now-discarded box to a local who will then sell the items at the market. Be smart, use envelopes!)

- I hung my laundry on a clothesline to dry (luckily we had a washer so I didn't have to try to learn how to wash all my clothes by hand). I'm pretty sure I've never had such good-smelling clothes in my entire life - before or since - as I did those eight months living in TZ. As soon as Jonathan and I have a house of our own, we're putting up a clothesline! Some days, though, when my co-worker Simon and I felt the breeze pick up through our office windows, we had to dash up to the clothesline, pull all our clothes from the line, and rehang them throughout our rooms to dry inside so the coming rain wouldn't drench the nearly-dry items.
See those Canada-flag pj pants? Yep, it really did get
cold enough at night during African winter to wear those.
Laundry hanging in my room on a rainy day

- I often relaxed before bed to the soothing sounds of Irish melodies drifting from Simon's room next door as he played his mandolin. Since all the other volunteers on campus worked at the baby home and lived in the apartment above it, it was nice to have at least one other person living nearby.
ADRA huts (Simon and I occupied the two halves of the leftmost hut)
My half of hut 1
The kitchen hut, where my paltry meals of rice and lentils,
or toast, or grilled cheese sandwiches were made

- I lived right below a beautiful mountain, Mt. Meru, and within sight distance of Mt. Kilimanjaro (on the rare occasion that it came out of its cloud cover). So inspiring to live near both of those gorgeous, stately mountains.
Mt. Meru from a nearby lodge
Distant clouds hiding Mt. Kilimanjaro...
The two peaks of Kili coming out in the evening (taken in Moshi)

- we occasionally hiked into the jungle on the lower slopes of Mt. Meru, for walks or sometimes for weekend picnics.
Picnic at the river behind our campus
Fording a stream on the way to a picnic spot
Picnic lunch on my last afternoon in Tanzania
L-R: Bekki, Jacki, Danielle, me, Natasha, and Kezia

- I saw quite a lot of interesting animals on our campus.
Monkeys came from the jungle surrounding our campus to
investigate the mulberry tree and the other fruit trees.
Storks routinely patrolled the air above our campus,
screeching their raspy caws as they soared overhead.
Who can spot the iguana?
Resident lizards that scampered around the walls and ceilings of the buildings
Teensy, omnipresent ants found their way into the CoL
volunteer's apartment and into Danielle's Bible...
Kezia and Danielle with a baby non-poisonous snake a friend brought over to scare me...
...and me staying on the opposite side of the room!

- my fellow volunteers and I made frequent trips to Tanz-Hands, a nearby cafe on the campus of an organization that helped people with physical handicaps learn trades. The food, made by the students and staff of the organization, was so yummy and the atmosphere so relaxing - a perfect way to spend a lunch break or a day off!
Tanz-Hands cafe
L-R: Rahim, Rahmann, and Joshua accompany Danielle,
Kezia (taking the picture), and me to Tanz-Hands one Sunday

- we also made trips to Rotterdam, the small grocery store in Usa River and its attached restaurant.
Cradle toddlers sitting outside Rotterdam, waiting for some chips (fries) and Fanta
Packed Land Rover on another trip to Rotterdam with the CoL toddlers
Shae helping the kids get settled before lunch

- if we ever needed something (like margarine, eggs, soda (Stoney Tangawizi!!), air time for our SIM-card phones, etc.) and wanted to get it quickly, all we had to do was leave our walled-in campus, walk a few minutes down the dusty lane, and visit the small shack. The few small shops there carried a surprising array of items. For fresh bananas, though, we walked down the lane in the opposite direction, and rain or shine, would find the Banana Lady (never knew her name) sitting by the side of the lane near the main road with her bright yellow bananas spread out on a blanket. My friend Danielle made it her mission to make the Banana Lady smile before she left TZ. I think she did eventually accomplish her goal!
The Shack, complete with satellite dish. :)
Buying my last Stoney Tangawizi at the shack before leaving TZ that evening
The Banana Lady and her fruit for sale

- I rode the dala-dala (mini bus) down the road to the village of Usa River where I bargained for my produce and sometimes bought a beautiful piece of Tanzanian cloth to add to my growing collection (even though I don't sew and had no idea what I would do with that fabric when I got home).
Dala-dala conductor (in maroon) encouraging passengers to cram inside
Bekki shopping for tomatoes at the Usa River market
Tanzanian fabric in one store at the Usa River market

- some of the other volunteers and I rode the dala-dala into Arusha Town every once in a while to go shopping at the bigger market, at the better-stocked grocery stores, at the clothes market, or at the Maasai market (for souvenirs to bring home or to give as gifts to friends and family).
Jacki and me riding a crowded dala-dala home from Arusha to Usa River
Entrance to the Maasai Market
One aisle of the Maasai Market
A unique stall
Jordan in front of Kase Bookstore in Arusha
(I spent a good chunk of money here buying kids books written by African authors)

- I routinely went to the SDA church on the nearby college campus. That particular church had the sermon translated from Swahili-to-English or vice-versa depending on the preacher. I spent much of the service people-watching the kids from an SDA children's village who sat in front of us. Once in a while some of the other volunteers and I would venture in to Arusha on Sunday mornings to attend the Vineyard church and spend some much-needed time with other foreigners living in the area.
Volunteers with their special babies just before church
L-R: Shae with Happy, Danielle with Amani, Kezia with Rahim, Anika with James
Babies' outing to Vineyard church
(I never felt comfortable taking pictures at the SDA church, so there aren't any from there...)

- when we needed a break from our campus or the hustle and bustle of life, we took a taxi (or one time tried to walk...but then decided to hop on a dala-dala in the end) to a nearby hotel to use their swimming pool. Almost every time we went there, it was completely empty except for the staff walking around. Such beautiful grounds and a perfect place to relax!
Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge swimming pool and grounds
Kezia and Jordan relaxing on the lounge chairs by the pool

- I, along with the other ADRA TZ staff, ate rice and beans for lunch at least two or three times a week. It was delicious and I never once got tired of it. (In fact, I often took twice as much as I would be able to eat and kept the extras in the kitchen fridge to eat for lunch on the other days when the cook made ugali (a bland-to-me traditional Eastern African cornmeal dish eaten with meat or cooked greens)).
My co-worker, Simon, another volunteer, Bekki,
and some of the other ADRA staff eating lunch.

- my co-worker Simon and I had the privilege of watching the CoL toddlers and their nannies and some of the volunteers through our office windows most days of the week. They often took a walk during the late morning or early afternoon, and many times it was down to our end of the campus. We always enjoyed that time of day! And once they even came into our office for a little visiting time! :)
Jacki and the CoL toddlers taking a walk to ADRA
My girls Nina & Anya visiting and trying to help me with my work :)
^a surprise visit to our ADRA office by the Cradle toddlers!

And on that adorable note, I shall end this post. Visit again tomorrow for some of my biggest and most favourite highlights of my time in Tanzania (aka, part 4 of a now five-part series...seriously, though, I'll keep it to five.) :)

Read Part 1 here - Before I left for Tanzania...
Read Part 2 here - While I was in Tanzania... Part A
Read Part 4 here - While I was in Tanzania... Part C
Read Part 5 here - Since I've come home from Tanzania...