Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sitting on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll my way.

Ah, the life and times! The past few weeks have been semi-steady. I’ve been busy (and not so busy…) with the mgahawa, school, farming, planning stuff for later, being in my village and just living.
School rocks and I love my students, although I will admit that I could be making a much more pro-active approach to teaching English or something that they want me to teach. However, in my defense I’m trying to be the poster child for “Tell me you want to live in America then I will show you YOU HAVE TO WORK EVERYDAY,” Which is one of the many problems at my school, it’s usually a random day of the week when I come to town and I can’t think of a single ride to town without one of the 8 teachers coming with me…meaning they are not teaching. It’s just not a standard here. I didn’t come here to temporarily pick up the slack of the teachers that just don’t feel like teaching, so I’m not going to.
In related terms, I went to town for the weekend and my friend Kate’s Birthday Bash. When I got home on Monday I found out that the head doctor of my dispensary had been locked up in the village office building because his wife complained that every night he goes home and sleeps with Anita, the nurse, my across the street neighbor. Sweet. Anita, who is like 24, tiny little thing, missing one front tooth, but sassy as hell. What in the world???? The doctor is the head of my “health club” which I have officially declared broken up. Anyway, since then neither he nor Anita have bothered to go to work, which is STUPID. Hello people, you guys make choices and live with the consequences. I just got back from giving Anita maybe the 7th lecture of the week, after going to the dispensary and seeing how crazy things are over there night now…
Aside from bossing around my neighbors like I have any idea what the hell they should do, I gave the standard 7 students their first homework assignment to choose who really wants to be in my health club. They have to write me a paper and I’m excited to go and pick them up. They should be interesting to read, or at least mildly entertaining. Out of the 60+ students I am only taking 15 for my club because I want to create a small environment and hopefully it will help them to be more open and less shy. Anyway, consulting one of the teachers on Monday after I read the papers to see what he thinks.
The farm is, as always now, OUT OF CONTROL! No worries, I have harvested a very small amount of cucumbers. My carrots are huge (ps fresh picked carrots are mind blowing). The tomatoes had to be torn up cause they are all bad…oh well it’s the one steady thing I can buy here! The corn is frickin hilarious. When you look at my farm from the side it’s like this little slop of great corn and little baby corn. Haha. The potatoes are doing…well, lets be real, I haven’t looked. The green peppers are turning red- YUM! I do believe the beans will survive through anything. My peanuts are rocking along and most exciting of the month- my sunflowers are just beautiful and big and crazy! I think that’s everything…oh I have this monster pumpkin vine growing out of nowhere in my courtyard, it’s grown the length of the courtyard and now is deciding if it wants to grow out the door (a bad choice because I’ll have to kill it) or into the choo (another bad choice cause it’s the bathroom…)!
So aside from dealing with my farm and it’s every growing list of needs and attention, I went to one of Mama Witi’s farms for the first time yesterday (just a side note I have been to 5 of them now…like ones that are not near her house). It was on this hill slope and consisted of countless rows of corn all the way down to the bottom. Just she and I went (and the dog…more on that in a minute) with a small bucket of fertilizer and some hoes. I’m thinking that it’s not big deal, just the usual, maybe weed a little, dig up some dirt, whatever. Yeah right. She puts a little bit of this white fertilizer at the base of each stalk and then you basically have to go through each row and re-till the earth up around the bottom of each stalk. So, 8 rows later I was DEAD. I have decided that even if I come back from Tanzania with a sick beer gut, I will have monster arms! Haha.
After Mama Witi (who’s at least twice my age) kicked my ass two times over in the farm, we went to the mgahawa. Dynamics at the shop have changed a lot in the past week. First off, we got these two poor farm girls from another village to come and work there everyday, they even live there! They are about 18 and cute as buttons, but man, I scare them. I guess if women empowerment is going to start anywhere it’s going to be there. Also, Witi is making the mgahawa super “safi” (half assed translation is “nice”). She got a new cabinet for the fried food and some tables and some plastic chairs. She wants a radio but it’s going to cost her 100,000 tsh, which is a lot. I keep telling here that she doesn’t need it to sell food or live so she doesn’t really need it. This usually equals a hissy fit…she’s a brat but I love her….
Because we have there girls working there now I am basically useless. I guess we could say that I have been fired from my job at the mgahawa. Crap, what do I do now?!?!?! Well, I came up with a great idea! (Which actually started before these girls came). I decided to teach Mama Witi to make perogies! Haha. So after the day of farming we went to the shop and I busted out some perogies. Let me just say, I have actually never made them before so it was a little bit of a test run. I fried some onion and threw it in with the potatoes and I think that was a hit…I don’t really know yet, have to stop buy and see what people are saying and wait to see if Witi wants me to make them again, if so CA-CHING! I’m back in a job! : ) Although I will say, making those babies is so much more time consuming and much more work then I ever anticipated, do I really want to make dozens of them everyday…yeah, probably not. Maybe today I will try cinnamon rolls...
Okay, so about the dog. Yeah. I got it and it was cool for about 23 hours. Then on the 24th hour it pooped in my house and I knew that Loki and I could no longer live together. I put the pup in its basket and high tailed it over to Mama Witi’s and dropped her off a little present. I figured that at least it would eat well and her kids would play with it, never did I think that she was going to fall in love with the damn thing. The next day she took it for a stroll around the village after she dressed it in white lace…! Oh man, Mama’s got a new best friend! Now I see Loki when I go to the farm and he is our little escort. The funny thing is that he always follows me around and could give a crap less about Mama Witi. Little rascal, I know where his alliances lie.
Peace Corps came to my site on Tuesday of this week and it was great. I should say Karen, the PC Tanzania doctor, Jackie, the go to girl and Brie, who was hitching a ride back to her village, all came to Ikuna. You know that you are in with your village when Peace Corps shows up to your house and you are wearing some REDICULOUS Tanzanian outfit that your Mama had made for you as a surprise. After some chatting and snooping around my house I took them all to the mgahawa for lunch, and I knew that I had maybe gone a little too far when Witi busted out of the mgahawa wearing the exact same matching outfit and then I proceeded to serve them all because, ugh yeah, my PC experience is a 9-5 at this little hole in the wall making French fries the size of your thumb. Ohhhh classic! (FYI the outfit was two different kanghas sewn together to make matching skirts and tops. The skirt was a Mama Witi original with a tie going up the sides and a bottom that poofs out, like the end of the sleeves on the top.)
Like I said, the life and times! Could love life no less right now. Miss you all. Thanks for reading. It means so incredibly much!


Renee said...

Loved the update and miss you! I mailed you a letter yesterday we shall see how long it takes to get there.

Love you!

Rose said...

Enjoyed the post, thanks for keeping us readers updated on the life & times of Tanzanian Mags. As Always, Peace & Love

annette said...

Hey Miss Margaret,
would love to see pictures of the sunflowers, and Loki.
You know I probably would fall in love him too..Miss you much!

mom said...

Loved the blog ..Maybe Kate and I can get matching outfits..LOL..Everything sounds so great. Your girls really get it shaking. All the work and ideas. As always, when you see my Kate,a big hug from her Momma