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...

1 comment:

  1. Children and their lovely little voices always make me smile or cry with the specialness of it.
    Thanks for continuing on with the series.
    I am ready for part four.