Friday, May 22, 2009

Redemption Songs

So much happens in just one day that it’s hard to try to trace the steps back and bring home up to date with Tanzania.
A lot of the past month can be summed up in a few words; chaos, gossip, illness, anticipation, freedom.

Chaos? This describes not only the past month but my life every month since last year when I graduated college (which I still cannot believe is already done..)

Gossip? A lot of PC drama and insanity went down this month and it’s been a non-stop talk/texting circle of gossip, lies, truths, and misinterpretations. In the end a few people that I really did love had to go home, a few people got to stay on “probation” and on the whole the PC office in Dar is sick of the shenanigans.

Illness? Aside from the hospital stints of Olie and Joshua, half of Ikuna has been sick, I got a pretty bad case of the stomach flu (or something like it) and everyone seems to just be not in great health. I actually think that this season is the time for dying…That’s really morbid, but I cannot tell how many funerals I have been invited to.

Anticipation? Well, I can finally, FINALLY say that I am doing real life work. Not teaching too much, but working on income generating projects that the villagers have been asking about. They are SO excited, and so am I. In defense of not really teaching, I must say that with the SPWs teaching day and night about AIDS, I really feel like they have the bases covered, and plan on taking over the things they have set up once they are gone. It will be great. Actually, it already is great : )

Freedom? The past week I have been traveling. Not for fun, but for work and “supply collection.” I must say, it has been wonderful. I know that most of you won’t like to know that I have been traveling alone, but I have and it ROCKS. Yes, I am being VERY careful. Yes, I am meeting up with my PC friends, but for the most part I am just exploring my will to explore. Man it’s exhausting!

I just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees, and I put it on the must read list for everyone. Even though it’s not about Africa, it’s about African Americans and it just really speaks to how I feel most days being the white girl in the black village. I must admit, my color has never mattered more to me, and at the same time, it has never mattered less. I don’t know if it’s because Westerners have lived in Ikuna village before, or if it’s because I took the time to really get to know people , the community and culture, but I do not (on an average day) feel out of place when I’m walking around Ikuna. I don’t get anything out of the average, just a greeting, handshake, and that’s that. It makes me appreciate Ikuna SO much, knowing that I do have a place to go home to and know that I really don’t need to explain myself to anybody.

Well, on Sunday (and most of the reason for this long crazy trip) Mama Witi and I are going to teach a bunch of Mamas how to make Batik (WEBSTER: a method of hand-printing a fabric by covering with removable wax the parts that will not be dyed). I would like to try and turn it into an income generation project, but first we need to see what the Mamas think about it. It should be a BLAST, and a headache, but I look forward to it.

Right now I am in the beautiful city of Iringa. It’s about 3 hours north of Njombe (my banking town/home base town). It’s on the top of a mountain and it just totally jive. There is a university here so a lot of the Tanzanians know English and assume that I don’t know Kiswahili, which turns everything into tons of fun. There are a lot of places to get good Western food, and just an all around awesome vibe to the whole place. Aside from that, being on the top of a mountain on the sprawling city, you not only get food, culture and life but a breath taking view. I’m a big fan and never knew it. I will admit that it saddens my heart a little bit to know that I will come home one day and have nobody (but my fellow PCVs) to relate to about all of this, but hey that’s life and this is my adventure, so I won’t let it stop me from just doing my thing.

Well, I promised a picture post and here it is, assuming I can get them to actually post! Hope that you are all enjoying life and looking forward to the summer sun. I’ve been basking it in for 11 months now, and I must say, it feel damn good!

Pic 1: The Kibena Hospital waiting room, complete with fresh breeze, tea, and a bicycly
Pic 2: The day I got some of the baby hats that my grandma made (thanks g-ma!) I went to visit Olie and Mama Witi and found out a woman in my village had twins! So, I gave them matching hats (not the ones in the pic). It's Mama Witi and the babies grandma holding the kids
Pic 3: While sitting in the hospital "waiting room" I met a little boy and tried to show him how to make glasses with his fingers...he got this far. It was cute.
Pic 4: Mama Witi and I have spent a lot of time looking at each others feet, we have decided that they really are not all that different. We walk the same path together and it's good.
Pic 4: This is my Mama, and I just love her. What more can I say?
(All of these were taken during a LONG 2 week wait at the hospital)


Rose said...

Nice pictures Margaret! I find it hard to believe that you have been gone a year this month, time is slipping fast. Hope it has been an enjoyable year for you. Peace and Love always...

mom said...

Okay, time to do an update..How can I know what's happening when you don't blog any more...Hugs to my girl..Carol