I am still alive and kicking after 2 weeks at site!! Sorry I have been bad at posting. I actually have great internet at my site, but no electricity…problem. Anyways, let’s start at the beginning. Thanksgiving was awesome. I was sworn in in Dar, for a picture go to: http://tanzania.usembassy.gov/pr_11242010.html
I wasn’t able to have a big hat thing made because the material I had was too thin. Oh well. We then went to the ambassador’s house for Thanksgiving dinner where I gorged myself on stuffing and mashed potatoes. Turkey is really hard to get here, so we had chicken instead. It was AMAZING!! Especially after so many meals of ugali (the national dish of Tanzania-corn flour and water with a mashed potato consistency–tastes like nothing).
The next day, Thanksgiving, I went to my site. The drive to my site is beautiful. To get to my site I have about an hour 1/2 trek via dirt road. On this dirt road, we were going around a bend and we almost ran over a bicyclist. We went up a hill and he went up the same hill to avoid being hit…very bad. No worries though, we said pole (sorry), and the guy, rightfully was a little shaken. Anyways, he went down the hill, around our car, and we started to backup off the hill. No joke, 2 seconds later we heard a crunching metal sound! We backed into his bike!!! We were going really slow, so there wasn’t much damage, but it was the funniest thing of my life. We said pole again, drove 2 feet and then burst into laughter. I couldn’t believe it! This sounds horrible, but no one got hurt and it was just really really funny.
Anyways, made it to my site. My house is really huge and fully loaded. I really didn’t need to bring anything to Africa besides clothes. The first few days were a bit hard. I was essentially dropped off in a village in the middle of nowhere Africa knowing no one, barely speaking the language. I sort of just wanted to hide in my house. In fact, I sort of did that. Everyday I have to give myself a pep talk to leave. I do though. I have a dog, a cat (haha, yeah, I don’t even know), and a garden (or the beginnings of one). I feel like such an adult.
I made my first meal the other day by myself. Spaghetti. Although I haven’t been able to light my jiko (charcoal stove) by myself yet. Everyday I give it a good all-american 30 minute try…with kerosene and all, then I go and ask my neighbor for a hot coal.
I have decided that the key to happiness in Tanzania is learning the language. Yesterday, in front of my boss mind you, I wanted to say I am from America (which I have literally said a million times here, but I get flustered sometimes and mix up letters…) Instead I said I have one butt cheek in America. Swell. If nothing else I am getting used to being laughed at. A lot. And Swahili is nuts. If I mess up one little letter I am saying something completely different and it always seems to be bad!!
I will start teaching in January, so until then I am working on my friendship bracelet making skills (I found a kit in my house). I read a lot, and have been writing many letters to you :). I spend a good hour everyday fumagating my house from bugs. I take a no bug in my house stance, which is difficult considering I am in Africa, and there are many bugs…and these bugs are on steroids…I have mastered the shriek here. The two things I have learned you always must carry with you in Africa: bug spray and toilet paper. With those 2 things you can do anything. Hamna shida.