Hello friends and family! Sorry that it has been so long since my last post. Things have been CRAZY. First off, I am finally an official Peace Corps Volunteer! Yesss! Secondly, I have moved to my new home! My village is called Ikuna. It is in the Iringa district of Tanzania, in the southern highlands- thats right I am in the mountains! (And yes, it is a little bit cold right now...)
My banking town is called Njombe and that is where I am right now. The internet here is the whip, but I still don't have a working flash drive so all of my fantastic ditties that I have written for you all are still just waiting on my computer...sorry!
Anyway, I will try to give you all a little highlight of what the life and times of Margaret Bidigare have been of recent.
First off, we swore in as official volunteers last Wednesday. Then on Thursday we all boogied off to our sites. There are 10 other new volunteers in the Njombe area so we all traveled together and spent the night in Njombe. The next day we had about 2 hours to do all of the shopping for our new houses that we thought we would have to do. It was pretty ridiculous. Seriously, what in the world are we supposed to buy when we have no idea what is at our house...? Oh, great times. I bought a jiko and some paint...a bed probably would have been a good idea, but thats okay cause my pops made me bring the camping airmatress which has been my saving grace.
SO, My village is FANTASTIC. First off, it's totally just a little farming country village out in BFE. There is not a lot to do or buy and there is no electricity or running water or any of that "good" stuff, but there are a lot of people, I would say like 750 and they are all very excited that I am here. My house is HUGE. I have three bedrooms, a courtyard, a dining room, an outdoor choo and shower and kitchen area. I love it. There have been 3 voulnteers here before but not since 2006 and I am the 1st health volunteer. There is a church, a dispensary, a primary and a secondary school. It is really beautiful. The weather right now is a lot like Michigan in the fall…actually the scenery is a lot like MI in the fall as well because there are a bunch of dried up corn fields just chilling out.
When I moved in I left Njombe with my Village Exec. Officer, his name is Sambanye and he’s pretty cool. He speaks no English, in fact nobody in my village speaks English. They all speak Kiswahili and Kibena, the trial language which I now get to learn! Yesss!
Anyway, Sambanye and I took the public transportation to the village which was totally insane. The only “bus” that goes from Ikuna to Njombe is this crazy van that is driven by a man named Sembula. He’s old and funny and thinks I am crazy, especially when I just showed up with a million bags and a bunch of random house crap that pretty much filled his bus to the brim, but wait, we still had about 20 other people in it…hahaha. Oh Tanzania! The ride is about 2 hours, give or take, through the mountains and it’s beautiful/scary (Tanzanians should NOT talk on their cell phones while driving…oh man).
When we got to my house it was totally EMPTY. Seriously, not even a chair. Well, I guess I was a little lucky in the fact that a clothes line was still hanging in the courtyard, but really that was it. The inside of the house is painted all fun with dog prints from the previous volunteer so even though my house is empty is feels homey. There were three women there trying to help me figure out what in the world I should be doing. It was cute. They helped my get water from the spring fed well down the way (seriously, it’s a little cut in the mountain that I am getting water from) and they cooked me dinner : )
Since I have been here I have just been meeting all types of great people, trying to make a home, hanging out, and learning Kibena.
My best bud in the village so far is totally Malisalina, she is like 25 and has the most adorable 4 year old daughter- who absolutely loves me and calls me sister Margaret. It’s sooo cute. I have also meet some good teachers, learned a lot about the previous volunteers and basically just chilled.
I came to town yesterday to buy some essentials for my house and I am actually feeling pretty excited to get back to the village. I have SO much more to say but I don’t know how much longer the internet is going to be working and I really would like to post my NEW ADDRESS
This is not actually MY address, my friend Jess is lending me her PO Box for a while, but have no fear, anything that you send me WILL GET TO ME. When you send stuff please address it as follows: (and put AIR MAIL on it…)
Jessica Clark, Peace Corps Volunteer
c/o Margaret Bidigare
Tanzania, East Africa
Don’t ask why…I promise it will work and I am basically dying for mail.
I told my mom that I would post some ideas of things to send me if you are interested in sending stuff so here goes:
Solar Charger (for I pod and phone)
Fun “home” stuff
Things that smell good (hahaha!)
A new flash drive!!!
That’s really all that I’ve got…I like to keep it random.
Listen, I love you all and I miss you lots and I hope that you try to call me or send some love. I have 3 bedrooms so KARIBU VISITORS!!! I promise, I will buy a bed for you…they are crazy cheep here : )