Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sleeping through my waking life...

Moving within the shadows of myself.
Tracing the walkway back through the sticky mud
(the kind that sucks your shoes off your feet)
the ponds lie still and tall grasses sing frog songs.
I spot my reflection,
blue gray in the colorless early morning world.
Out of place, even at the break of dawn.
My comrade, a young boy with a sore tooth,
makes not a sound as we march through sunrise,
and into the foggy morning mist.
My thoughts skip puddles like stones,
skimming half a dozen spots for a brief instant,
then falling into the depths.

Attempts at conversation are lost,
either in translation or the groggy morning.
One can never know.
We move through our village,
passing the mud houses already awake,
brimming with smokes from breakfast fires,
and the constant swish swish of sweeping dirt.
Outside of the village the mist becomes a rain,
the houses become corn fields,
the sound of brooms becomes our own four feet,
making headway to Nyombo.

A man passes on his bicycle,
our eyes meet for the briefest of moments,
shock meets shock, greetings forgotten.
And so we carry on, through the farms,
past the school, eerie in the absence of students,
and into the next village.

Here the breakfast fires have been put out,
the sweeping is done,
the sitting and watching game begins,
And the tremor of my presence,
feels bigger, and tastes more forlorn
in the color filled world, of post dawn light,
as we pass families and strangers.
I wonder if this undertone is felt,
by my escort. Who fits in so nicely,
without this ghost, walking within her shadow,
beside him.

So that’s my attempt at blog poetry. How does it feel? Haha.
On Saturday of last week myself and Oliey headed out of the village via foot at 6am to Nyombo to hitch a different bus then the one that passes through my village. I’ve decided that I want to boycott Sembula Exp. now that we have this new young guy driving and this new door man, and I really don’t like either of them. Tanzanian men are absolutely rotten in every way, and I wish to deal with them as little as humanly possible. Anyway, we left before the sun rose and walked 8k to Nyombo in the rain without an umbrella, got there and waited for a long time and lo n behold, Sembula is the first bus to pass…damn!
We got on it and got to town much later then expected. The reason we went was because I needed to go to the bank and post office and Oliey needed to get a tooth pulled. Luckily, I have adopted my friend Ben’s buddy Huruma who lives in Njombe. I had Huruma take us to where Oliey could get a tooth pulled…however, that was another long walk in the rain. I ended up leaving the boys at the doctors and went to the post office alone while teeth were being pulled. It’s a good thing I went because letters from Elmwood were waiting my arrival! About 2 minutes after leaving the post office I got caught in the POURING rain and was soaked through to my socks, or underwear, which ever way you want to look at this. So, I sat at the Internet place, talking to one of the other volunteers who is in the 60+ range. Her name is Bibi Jan and she’s the bomb. Then the boys showed up, just as wet as me, we all had chai and then Oliey and I had to boogie back to the village before we even had time to think about our crazy day.
About two days later I was laid up with the worst head cold later, and now that I have overdosed on all types of cold medicine and tea and things warm and good, I am feeling much better. Plus, it’s St. Patty’s Day! (Ooooooh time! How you evade me!) And I have my weeks worth of work cut out for me with all of these letters, the mgahawa, a health club, a bunch of drama with my doctor and a nurse doing dirty things and the most exciting news that there is going to be another volunteer in Ikuna. He/she is an SPW volunteer and will be here for 5 months…!?! I have no idea what any of that really means, but it should be another twist to this already outrageous adventure. Haha!

Thursday March 19, 2009

Witi went to the dispensary the other day and Mama Witi and I happened to be leaving the preschool just as she was leaving the dispensary. After Witi finished up at the dispensary (she went into the office alone), the three of us walked back to the mgahawa to do our routine pre-lunch cooking. I got bored with sorting rice so I decided to head home and wash clothes and Witi escorted me for a few minutes. We got to the duke (shop) that she wanted to go to and she pulls me aside and whispers in my ear, “ I have a present in my belly.” I think my sigh could have knocked Mike Tyson out of the ring because she just looked at me and asked if I was mad. I just had to laugh cause here is Witi, possible ex-prostitute, 20 years old, running a Tanzanian Village doughnut business with no husband, no grasp on reality (the girl spends at least 30 minutes of each day looking at herself in the full length mirror dancing) who is about to be one of the thousands of Tanzanian women getting ready to bring a baby into this crazy world…yes, just what we all need, more children. Haha. Oh man. All I can do is laugh and kick myself in the ass for not giving her more serious lectures on family planning…as if that would have been useful. She is happy as a clam. Seriously beaming with pride over this unborn child. Ohhhhh, so where does this leave me? Hm, well seeing that I spend basically all of my time with her or her mom I will probably start lecturing her on pre-natal care and see how all of that goes! The exciting part is that I will be here long enough to watch her stomach swell with life and see this baby born, hell maybe even take its first steps…dude, I am here for a long time! She says that she is due in November but I have a feeling that this is going to be a September birth- if so, it’s likely that the baby is not actually a “present” from her boyfriend/ possible soon to be husband??....ohhhh man.
Aside from that I’m in town cause I used the wrong format to do my grant…or something like that…so I wanted to come in and fix it up ASAP and get this thing off my lap. I’m not really here to gain perspective in grant writing. I went to the bank today and was almost slapped a very obese woman who was about the 8th person to cut in front of me, then I remembered that I know a secret language called English, so I swore under my breath and apparently she understands English too cause I was faced down with the most sinister evil eye I’ve ever encountered. Note to self: must stop assuming things.
Anyway, I’ll just wrap this up for now. I’m sure there will be lots to post next week after I meet the new mzungu of Ikuna…I have a feeling that things are only starting to get out of control.
Peace, love and all things eluding to Spring!


mom said...

You all have such tales to tell. You are making a lifetime of stories to tell your kids. No one will be able to compete with this 2 years and 3 months of living.Be safe and as always, when you see my Kate..a big hug from her Momma/

Patty said...

Love the poetry. I felt I was on the walk with you. Can't wait to buy the novel you will write of this experience one day. Make sure I get an autographed copy - Pat

Rose said...

Your poetry was wonderful, feels like you have done this before. I really loved it, and would enjoy reading more. You have a gift. Happy Spring!

Peace & Love~Rose

Danelle said...

Geez, every time I read your blog, my heart breaks. Witi, what are you doing? I remember my own personal talks with her about marriage before sex, blah blah blah. She told me she wanted to be a teacher, I've always held on to that even though I knew the odds were against it. Sometimes we just have to smile and nod and let it go. How I love that young woman. I'm so glad that you are there to guide her, as best you can, and at least try to lead her in the right direction. I love your heart, It's so open and loving. I look forward to the day we meet. I swear I will write. My baby is due on sunday and I've been trying to get something out before then. Perhaps today. Yes, today, it's decided. I will no longer neglect you, mama witi or witi.
Much love from D.