Solar=Installed! My headmaster and I travelled to Mbeya (the closest, biggest city to me) 2 weeks ago to get the materials. The first stop was the bank. All the money that was donated by you, lovely folks, was deposited in my bank account. The ATM has a limit on how much money I am allowed to take out, so I had to wait in a very long line for a very long time (as a side note, coming soon: ‘waiting in Africa’). When I finally was given the money, it turned out to be about 6 million shillings. Now, Tanzanian money is colorful and looks like monopoly money and their biggest bills are 10,000-shilling notes. I hadn’t really thought about it too much, and had just planned to put all of the money in my brassiere bank (where I put everything to avoid being robbed) but 600 is a large number of bills to fit in that area. So, I crammed it all in my backpack as discretely as a white girl in Africa can cram giant bunches of colorful monopoly money into a bag, and headed out.
We went to the solar shop and within an hour had everything we needed. The installer was going to come in a few days with all the small equipment, and we returned with the panels, batteries, and invertor. It was a long trip back with so much stuff, but we made it, the solar technician finished the installation, and we now have so much electricity it is coming out of our ears! Thank you all again! With the remaining money, we are going to finish the laboratory. Updates on that are coming.
My students just had their pre-mock, mock exams (like the pre-pre- actual national examination) and they did the actual practical for the first time ever! It went really well, all in all. I was a basket case during this week trying to get everything prepared, but it all came together in the end.
In other news, I ran a half-marathon last weekend in Iringa. I ran the Colorado half right before I came here, with no training, and it was painful but not too too bad. Maybe this one was so awful because I have done no physical activity whatsoever in approximately two years, or because they didn’t start it until around 10am so we were running under a scorching African sun, or because they made us run down the hill that Iringa is built on and then right back up it, or because it is just fresher in my mind, but, all in all, not some of my finest hours. Maybe next time I’ll run a bit beforehand…
This whole week I haven’t really had anything to do because all of my students were sent home to gather food contributions. They returned today with no food, so they were sent home again, naturally. Maybe I’ll get one period in tomorrow? A girl can hope. I have been spending this idle time developing the solar club that I am planning on starting next week. Since we just got solar, it seemed like an appropriate time to teach about how it works. With the club, we are going to explore the physics behind solar and then build a solar lamp.
The volunteer who is replacing me arrives in country today. Only five more months left. I can’t decide if this thought makes me want to jump for joy or cry. Probably a little of both, such is the roller coaster of my life.