Thursday, November 27, 2008

It’s the holiday season! Wait, seriously, it is? Time is screaming by. November is actually almost over? What the hell am I doing?
Who knows, but I’m alive and I’m loving life, so I guess that’s all that really matters. That and the whole trying to save Tanzania from AIDS bit…about that. I’m trying to establish some attainable goals here, stopping AIDS is not one of them. I’m realistic enough to get that.
Okay, so what AM I doing here? I’m teaching English (yuck!- why does every 3rd world nation think that they need to learn the language of people who are just too lazy to learn anything but their native tongue?), I’m working with an adult health group to educate my village and others around us about malaria, TB and AIDS, I’m getting ready to start a student health club after my In-Service Training (IST) in January (that’s when school starts again), I’m trying to figure out some sort of income generation project for the families that have adopted orphans, I’m doing a lot of farming, working on starting a fruit tree field for the village to make some money in a few years, I’m writing a Village Survey Analysis (VSA) of Ikuna for Peace Corps in English and Kiswahili, I’m looking forward to Christmas and New Years away from my village and Njombe, I’m living. Haha. Does any of that actually make sense? Well, that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s crazy and it sounds like so much but most of it is still just talk and waiting, which are the staples of Tanzania. That and things getting canceled because of funerals.
Other then all of that I have had a lot of great funnies over the last few days. The other day I was given a kitten. It was brought to my house in a bag, crying and freaking out the whole time, then it ran around my house for a little while, meowed in my face until I couldn’t take it and I locked it in a room for two days (don’t worry I fed it). After that I made Mama Witi take it back. I did name it- Bingwa (champion!). Today I went to Mama Witi’s to get my cocoa so I could make a cake for my bus driver and I watched this cute little chick walk past Bingwa and then get tackled to the ground and knawed in the throat until it died…ugh yeah, that’s why I didn’t want the cat. It’s a baby killer. Haha.
My guitar skills are still pretty crappy, but I did have an impromptu guitar session in Mama Witi’s kitchen one night with her, Witi, Eliza and Bossi. I made them all play, or at least try to play, and it reminded me so much of all the summer nights at home when I would pull out the congas, tambourine, guitars, maracas, and all other musical instruments and give them to any of the cousins, or kids or neighbors that were around and we would have some crazy (usually terrible sounding) jam session, laughing and dancing our asses off the whole time. I think my favorite of all of those nights was a few summers ago when I strapped a conga drum around my neck, Dad had his harmonica, Dana and Drew on the broken guitar and tambourine, Mom with the maraca and God only knows who else, and we paraded down the street, playing music, singing and laughing all the way to the Powell’s back yard where Caitlin was having a high school bon fire. All of us just barged in, Bob Powell laughing his ass off with us, Caitlin red as a tomato ready to kill us all, and then Mary Powell called Bob from her bed upstairs to tell us all to get the hell out. Haha! Oh the places your mind takes you to when you’ve got nothing but time on your hands. Anyway, I sat in Mama Witi’s kitchen on a little stool watching Eliza trying to play the guitar for the 1st time in her life and it just brought me there. Love it.
Besides still having crappy guitar skills, I’ve started beading again. It’s nothing as fabulous as it was before due to the lack of some necessary supplies, but I really miss making jewelry! I’ve also been trying to ride my bike 16k everyday. Day three and all is well. My goal is to ride to Njombe soon. Probably next weekend for Ralph’s (he’s another PCV) 40th birthday party. Yeah that’s right, Thanksgiving and Christmas still happen in Tanzi and so do 40th birthdays. It’s funny to think that even though the world that I knew isn’t the world that I know right now, things are still happening, time is still moving. It’s going to be a total mind F when I get back and everything is different.
I hear that Michigan is getting some snow. I tried explaining the concept to the Tanzanians, but they don’t get it. I have to say that for as much griping as I do about winter, I know that in a few months I will be missing a freezing cold walk in my knock off, torn up Uggs, wearing my good old trusty red peacoat fighting the winter winds and a foot of snow on my way to class. Yep, I’ll miss it…in a few months. Right now I am still highly enjoying my sun and the now occasional day of monsoon rains that flood my courtyard and fill my buckets with water.
There is really not a lot to report on this end. My garden is starting to sprout some babies and that’s exciting. My one corn stalk will never actually make corn because it has to germinate…damn. I’ll be eating green peppers in about 3 weeks and that’s AWESOME. Everyone thinks it’s a total riot that the white girl can throw a hoe and get down in the dirt and plant some seeds. It’s funny until the 20th person who walks by asks you how the work is going. I know that I have the “skin of money” (as one man told me), but I really can actually do the say work as the people with “skin of poverty”(same guy).
In really sad news, I heard that Mr.Smith, one of my favorite high school English teachers, died from cancer last week. I cannot say how much that burdens my heart because he was one of the 2 teachers who introduced me to Peace Corps and I give him ½ the credit for me even being here at all. Please keep his family and his good name in your hearts, as they will be in mine.

Well kids, that's all I got on this rainy Thankgiving day here from Njombe! I love you all SOOO much! Eat some stuffing and turkey for me...cause here or there I wouldn't be eating it anyway : )
Peace and Love!


Rose said...


Happy Turkey Day! I just knew that if I checked your post before I busied myself with my Thanksgiving meal preparation that I would find a new post from you. One that would remind me to say thanks for the things that I have, the people I love, the fact that nobody I love right now is facing illness so bad that death is waiting to take them, unlike the daily lives of those in TZ. Your post's remind me how fortunate those of us who live in the good ole USA are, as we all have tendencies to get caught up in our daily lives and what we don't have forgetting just how much we do have! So today, when we say Grace I will be thanking you for reminding me just how much I have to be Thankful for, thank you for keeping me grounded, and reminding me that although my life may not be everything that I would hope it would be, I am fortunate, and I am blessed. Happy Thanksgiving Dear Margaret!
Gobble, Gobble :)

michelle madoun said...

Dear Margaret,

You are loved and thought of often. Thank you for sharing your awesome journey with us. All of our lives have changed reading your blog. My boys are even thankful for the water we are able to drink. xoxoxoxo
Thank you again God Bless

Michelle madoun

Working On Joy said...

Margo, I was wondering what your actual "Peace Corps" job was... Geez, your plate is full. Next thing you know, they'll be putting you in charge of World Peace.:)

You are missed and you are loved.. Nancy

Anonymous said...

You make a great point about everyone else learning English- convenient for the English world, but I've taken it upon myself to learn a language this past year- French. So I took 101 and 102 and suddenly it's my second language. Anyway, I think it would do all well to be exposed to different languages and, with that, different cultures as well. And by the way, I enjoy living vicariously through you and your blogs in Tanzania. I'm slowly but surely making my way through them now that school is done.