Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ni Bebe

Monday DEMECMBER 1st!
God I love the sitar! I’m sitting in my house after one long crazy day, listening to some of my favorite music, wondering, of all things, how in the world someone ever learns how to play the sitar. Haha, and the world turns!
Oh man I love life. Even after this crazy long, kind of cold, very wet, and muddy day. First off, I should have been doing something grand being that today was World AIDS day, but I talked to everyone in my village that would have been able to help me way before today and they all said that unless I could pay for everything (which…I can’t) then we would do nothing. So today I say F ‘em all, and I went with Mama Witi, Witi and Sophia (someone’s niece) out to the farm.
Last night I fell asleep to the song of the rain on my tin roof, and this morning I woke up at the crack of dawn to the same song. I though for a fleeting second that maybe we wouldn’t go out to the field, being that it was pouring rain, and then just laughed myself into 2 pairs of pants, the boots my mom bought me before I left, my CMU hoodie and rain jacket. Grabbed my umbrella and rod my bike over to Mama Witi’s. When I got there we ate some Kandy (don’t be fooled…it’s like corn soup…?) then I made the decision that there was no way the 4 of us were going to ride 2 bikes out to God only knows where. Everyone was shocked that I thought I could walk all the way out to Idongeyla (the field), but I knew before we even left that there were going to be some atrocious hills, and I neither wanted to risk them in the mud going down with some kid on the back of my bike, or push my bike back up.
So, around 8 we headed off, in the rain. Me, gear in hand or on my person. Mama Witi and the rest decked out in plastic flip-flops and crappy coats. Haha. Really?
We walked down the hill, over the bridge, up the hill, over the hill, down the hill, over the bridge, up the hill, over the hill, down the hill, over the bridge, up the hill and finally made it to Lole B (the village that Baba Eliza, Mama Witi’s hubby, is the Village Executive Officer) about 2 hours later. Did I mention it was raining? Haha. We didn’t care. Sophia used my umbrella and we all sang Rose Muhando (more about Miz Muhando later) and danced. I will admit, when we got to Lole B and some lady had us come in for Chai, I was getting pretty antsy to get there. After tea and bread we walked over to Sophia’s house and dropped her off where she lives, I guess she was just visiting. Who knows what the hell 7 year old girls do in the village. After some finagling (I refused to stay and eat ugali and veggies), some scary dogs, and a billion greetings in Kibena we finally made the last ½ hour long walk down hill to the valley of random farms. Somewhere along the way we stopped and all got hoes, which cracked up every person I passed who wanted to know if I was really capable of using a hoe (My reply is I have hands and feet, right? Why do you think that I can’t farm?...Response is usually laughter, but what the hell, gotta say what I gotta say).
Around noon we finally made it to Idongeyla! Hooray! Yippie! We’re all wet, mud covered, and we’re at the bottom of a valley, which looks eerily similar to a swap! Haha. Mama Witi has three long mounds of dirt in Idongeyla, three mounds of dirt worth a ½ days walk and a whole days work. Her family has planted corn, potatoes, mchicha, pumpkins, and some other leaf. So, the three of us got busy. Witi and I picked leaves, Mama Witi picked pumpkin leaves. Then we all took a mount and got to weeding. After that we took the hoes and turned up the dirt around the plants. Olie and Joshua (Mama Witi’s sons) came and helped us finish up (they were already in the area doing work for someone else). Around one, we had 2 plastic grocery bags full of leaves, and we boogied with our little troupe. By boogied I mean we climbed back up the rather large hill, dropped off the hoes, re-greeted everyone we already talked to, and I got antsy to get home and refused food of any kind.
Mama Witi was pretty much astounded that I didn’t drop dead from not eating lunch and then basically running back to my house. Even she was whining and lagging behind. Around 3:30, still drizziling, I made it into my house, kicked off my boots, ripped off my mud covered pants, and made myself a salad. Well, a bowl of veggies. On my way home I passed Sembula (my “bus” driver) who didn’t understand why I didn’t go to town and see all of the wazungu today.
See, this very strange thing occurred the last time that I was in town. All of the new education volunteers for the Njombe area got dropped off at our hotel, just as Mick and I were getting ready to eat dinner. I helped them all (we have 8 new people here!) get their stuff off the bus, and I was totally freaked out by how freaked out they were. Could it be that only three short months ago I was in that exact position? Have I really adjusted that much in such a short time? Weird. In two different conversations, I was talking about something and somebody asked me if I kept a journal because they had been reading THIS before they came to Tanzania! HAHAHA. How strange. I wonder if I am what my journal makes me sound like. Hmmm….?
Anyway, they all headed back to Njombe today with the headmasters of their schools (they are strictly here to teach secondary school, a completely different type of volunteer) to learn about Njombe (AKA where is the bank?) and to buy whatever they need for their house. I think that some of the other education volunteers who have been here for a while went to town to help, so Sembula, seeing a crap load of white kids, naturally wanted to know why I wasn’t there. I love the thought process in that one.
How I ever could have given up a fabulous trip to the farm and miss a whole day of walking in the rain was too much for him to handle, but hey that’s how Tanzanians see me. I am white, I have money, I don’t need to do work, in fact I actually can’t. Damn. Well, if I do nothing here I hope to at least disprove that one.
The rest of this day has been a lot of nothing. I won’t lie, I a pretty much wiped out, but I’ll wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. I am going to town on Thursday to buy rice for Eliza’s (Mama Witi’s daughter) confirmation (?) party. ? because I only know the Kiswahili word- kipinemara- (am I really coming to that?!). I also need to buy seeds for my farm, which has been plowed! (and suddenly looks bigger then ever), and look into the price of fruit trees because we’re starting a fruit tree farm on the school ground and maybe on the village plot…which also happens to be my backyard.
The last time I got back from town I went to see Mama Witi and she was in the process of putting hair extensions in Witi’s hair. She almost fell over when I grabbed one of the braids and finished it, and then started working on the rest with her. It made me smile and think about that time my mom came to pick my up from Epoch and I was having my hair did by all of my African-American girl friends. Thanks mom, you know, for helping me learn to live in a colorless world.
Well, that’s it for today. On the list for tomorrow- make banana bread to bring to Anita’s house on Wednesday, finish the book “What is the What”-the life of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and re-edit my Village Survey Analysis…
Best English to Kiswahili translation of the day- If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, so I am saying nothing- in regards as to why I don’t like the teacher who tried to make me his 3rd wife…yeah. Apparently we have a “special connection” because he has 16 kids and so does my Grandma. Haha! Oh, Tanzanians! (No worried, I haven’t talked to him since September). How I am learning to just shake my head and laugh it off. Really, after 2 years of this crazy I am going to be the pokiest, most easy-going, patient girl. I’m apologizing right now, I swear, if you lived here you would have to become the same or else go insane.
Almost forgot! Rose Muhando! Well, I will continue about her later. Just know that I love you all and I think about everything everyone comments, and it makes me smile! Thank You!


aunta said...

Hey Margaret,

Heard that you wanted to do a little traveling between Christmas and New Year, so I gave your mom some cash for your Christmas present. Please do enjoy your trip and make sure to take good notes. We sent you a birthday gift at the end of October. Did you ever get it? I'm so glad that you are still able to keep your chin up through your daily adventures. Sometimes when I read your stories I thank "God" for my crazy 5 kids and adoring husband. We are so proud of you!! We miss you terribly. Your mom is having the kids over next weekend for the cookie party. My girls can't wait.

Take Care,
Aunt Anne

Patty said...

Hi Margaret--Love your Maggie Mae philosophy- perfect. Gandhi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." You certainly will make the world better with your hopeful and inspiring attitude. I am sure Tanzania is better off just because your spirit is infectious. You asked if you will come home different- of course, richer in so many ways and there is nothing wrong with being patient and easy going. Our culture could use way more of those traits...remember rush hour traffic??? I hope your garden grows abundantly. Love ya kiddo - Pat

k said...

hi Margaret,this is Karly,my dad wants 2 say how very proud of u he is.:]

Karly your cousin

Faye said...

Woah! You're like a celebrity now. It would be great to be someone who doesn't know you, to read this blog and then meet you. I'D like you meet you now!
I've been reading your blog, let me introduce myself...

Haha. What would an African swamp look like in comparison to the swamp lands in Michigan?

Well, I miss you and I think about you everyday. I also brag:

Keep boogie-ing

Love ya,

Margaret said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
k said...

ummmmm.........Margaret there's no e in my name it's Karly.You'll never believe this!!! So I'm going shopping with my mom.She says 2 show her anything i want.So i picked out a sweatshirt with a giant sparkley peace sign on that u would love <3.Then i got a t-shirt that says"Peace love,and Candy! I thought I should tell u that.I would wear them but by the time u get back it would probably be 2 tight.My mom was wondering r u coming 2 visit any time.What evs!

old guy said...

HEY Margaret!! finally got my but somewhat computer savvy?? Am truly enjoying your blog makes me laugh and cry at the same time..Keep up the great things you are doing stay strong healthy and happy..LOVE AND HUGS DAD the old guy..

k said...

hi Margaret.Some events r happening in the family.We just had Ben's birthday party at Pump it up.It's an bouncy place.There's a bunch of a inflatable moonwalks
racing corses and slides!!!!!!!! Ben seemed 2 be happy.Another event is that your mom is having her annual cookie baking baking party.Right now I'm getting ready 2 go i had time 2 leave u a comment.I'll contuining reading your blog.