Thursday, September 16, 2010

Inky black newsprint love meets pure white hippie love; Insanity ensues

There was a time in which dreams were visions of hot baths, live music and endless rows of coffee shops. I’m not particularly sure where that dream has gone. I now dream in black and white, of the grind of TZ journalism and the endless warmth of CA hippie love. I dream in non-sensible chaos and piles of compost. Altogether its confusing on the level of life goals, and yet personally enjoyable.

Taking in all of these different energies is wonderfully exhausting. It’s almost as though I’ve become some sort of battery charged by the mixture of resonating energy exchange, absorption, and distribution.

Some of the bigger events of the past few weeks have included the launch of the first issue of Kwanza Jamii Njombe newspaper (Community First…or First Community Newspaper… check it out, OR facebook Daraja). The event was held Monday August 30th. Our team rented out a huge outdoor venue, hired a traveling car and speaker system to advertise the kick off, enlisted some music groups from inside Njombe and a semi-famous Dar es Salaam singer, invited special and important people from town, had T-shirts, caps, beanies, and 3,000 copies of our paper. It was awesome. The response was great. People are pumped. The Daraja team pulled together to get it done, and after a nice dinner with the guests of honor and the famous musician, we had a few drinks and then all went home to pass out after the longest Monday of our working lives.

I’ve been selling/ gifting copies of the paper everywhere. It seems that distribution is a slight problem. Next time…People are STILL loving it, and everyone is very excited for the next issue.

After the kick off we got Thursday and Friday off of work, so the hippies and I took a road trip out to Ikuna Village to greet the family and get some of my left behind goodies. Mama Witi was happy to see that I was alive and doing well. She was wearing a Kwanza Jamii hat when I got there, which just tickled my heart. She was highly impressed by the paper, and even more shocked to see that there was a picture of me in it. It felt wonderful to make that woman so damn proud. After some food, and chatting at the mgahawa, but before a fight broke out over which one of us girls got to hold Benja we headed home. It was just a quick trip. Everyone is doing well. Benja has teeth and is crawling all around. At the end of November I am going to stay a few days/nights for Benja’s birthday. I’m still trying to put more time in between town and village life.

It would behoove you all if I told you some more about my awesome roommates. First, I should stop calling them the CA hippies because they don’t really love love it. However, it makes it easier to understand how much I jive with them and everything that they have going on. Right now there are five. Chevy, Curry and Jose are all planning to start their own NGO in Tanzania. Chevy and Curry are sisters and their other sister, Georgia, is also here traveling and checking out the TZ scene. Her friend Shannon was studying abroad in Kenya and came a few weeks ago to stay until the end of the month when everyone (but Curry) is going back to the states. So, it’s 5 ladies and one gentleman living in my little red house on the dirt mound.

About my house. It’s made for a Tanzanian. By that I mean there is a showering room, but no shower head. There is no hot water heater, but there is an outdoor dish washing station. There is a small kitchen sink and a little pantry. There is a drop toilet (porcelain hole in the ground), but also a western toilet…however the lid is broken and it’s in the “off limits” room. There are 3 bedrooms and one living room that is also off limits (but we’re using it regardless) and is missing all of the glass for the windows. It was just build last year and they did no landscaping so we’re surrounded by a wooden fence, on a little hill of dirt. Also, the land they chose needed to by sliced into to make a plot, so when you look out the back window you’re looking at a slice of inner Earth. My roommates have taken the planting seriously, and I should have beans, some weeds, and a bunch of great little plants that they got clippings of on some of their random adventures. I’m only worried that it won’t be enough to keep the house in place when the rainy season comes and we’re getting washed down the hill with no vegetation. …maybe that’s when I’ll move again.

For now I am in a stage of intense learning, sharing, growing and good life living. Balance, play, friendship, love, excess, and nothing at all is here. Pieces of me are just missing home, but the whole of it all is happy with how its rollin’. I hope the same is happening for you.


Rose said...

Awe Margaret it was so nice to read an updated blog. Glad you are having fun and loving life. Enjoy.

peter shapland said...

I am an RPCV from Mali. I am looking to reach out to local agricultural NGOs for a small grant program that we are developing at Horticulture CRSP. Could you please email me if you know any local Ag. NGOs in Tanzania, or if you have the contact information of other volunteers who would know of Ag. NGOs?

I would really appreciate any help you can offer.

Thank you,

Peter Shapland
Graduate Assistant
Horticulture CRSP

Renee said...

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! TO ME? TO YOU! I know it is tomorrow but I will be out of town without access to internet...
Love you!!!

PS bought you a card, and never mailed it. I am a horrible friend. so you will get it just late... :)

Nate Bloss said...

Hi. My name is Nate Bloss; im a PCV in Namibia. Ill finish in December and three of us plan to do some travel in Tanzania. Were wondering if you could give us a little advice.

The questions we have:

1. Can we free hike around Tanzania? We do that in Namibia all the time, but dont know if we can there.

2. Were planning on coming into Tanzania from Mozambique. Do you know a good way to do that? Bus, train? Right now were just planning on traveling straight up to Zanzibar, but maybe you know of something we shouldnt miss on the eastern coast?

3. Any recommendations for Zanzibar. Well have about a week there.

4. After Zanzibar I wanted to head to Uganda. Whats the best way to travel from Dar to Uganda? Im extending next year in Kenya, so I probably wont want to do much in Northern Tanzania, as ill be able to do it next year. But for future reference, is there anything we shouldnt miss up there (other than kilimanjaro, i hiked that last december).

5. Do you know what the visa cost is for americans?

6. What else should we know about Tanzania?

Nate Bloss

nichole said...

hey margaret! long time no talk! reading ur little profile snippet and this latest entry is exactly what my heart and soul needed. im in austin student teaching and sometimes feel a little mundane and a little homesick. every now and then i just need a reminder to find the simple beauties and joy in my "human condition." thanks for being that reminder for me today :) ill try to read again soon