Holiday madness. Love it. After only a short snafu in Amsterdam which left me sitting in a plane, stuck on a snowy runway for over 3 hours before take-off, my return to Tanzania was a great success. Everything, including myself, made it back in a single piece, and my post-flying plane gut wasn’t that bad. A holiday miracle.
After getting back to country Keith and I made our way to Njombe for a few weeks of make-shift domestic life, before going to Matui (the village he works in as a Peace Corps volunteer) for Christmas. While in Njombe we did good making Christmas. We chopped down a large bush, cut out some ornaments, strung popcorn, hung lights twice (both strands burnt out), found a Christmas flag, hosted a few Mexican nights, hung stockings with care, wrapped presents, baked cookies, brownies, pita bread and hummus and made pasta salad to share with my co-workers at our Christmas party, where we indulged in the open(ish) bar and closed it down with some of the great people that I work with.
A few days before Christmas we hopped on a bus to Iringa, spent the night there, accidentally took the dirt road to Dodoma town (which was a 10 hour long ride of beautiful sights outside the bus and awful everything- baby feeders, music, body odor- inside the bus), we almost clawed out each other’s faces but upon arrival promptly downed a few beers, got over it, and went to his village on Christmas day.
Upon arrival in Matui village (a Mecca by my standards, as no village should have over 15,000 people, albeit still a vill with no electricity and seriously scarce and dirty water) we met up with 2 other volunteers who came to spread the cheer with us.
As we hiked up to Keith’s house we noticed that an animal, a donkey it turns out, was being butchered right on the side of the road. Very unusual. And disgusting. Apparently the donkey* just up and died on Christmas day, so the owners decided to make a Christmas feast out of it, leaving the guts to rot on the side of the road, as we noticed later on our return trip back to the “heart” of the village….
Although, before returning back to the “heart” the few of us went to Keith’s house, busted out a box of wine, 3 liters of homemade wine, one bag of homemade cookies, one container of PB brownies, and some Christmas music. We immediately got to getting drunk, filling up on sweets, and putting on our Santa hats (well, Keith did) and reindeer horns so we could pass out candy canes to all of the kids between Keith’s house and the “heart.” It was hilarious, and maybe not the best idea, just because kids already think we should have candy all of the time anyways, but it was fun. Some of the kids got the “Happy Holidays” saying down so we got from random people for the rest of the night. Once in town, after passing donkey guts all covered in pine branches, we hit up the bar, had a few laughs, watched a bar flight, came home, crashed out, and a few days later (after yet another amazing Mexican feast) I find myself back in Dodoma anticipating a fun New Years Eve and wondering how it is already going to be 2011.
*Am I alone in finding total irony of a dead Donkey on Christmas day. What if the donkey carrying Mary, carrying baby Jesus, just up and died on the side of the road. They would have never made it to Bethlehem to find all the inns full, the child savor would have not been born in a stable, but en route (if at all) and then where would our heart- warming Christmas tale be?
“…And as Joseph carved up the dead donkey to make a post-natal stew for Mary, the three wise men arrived just in time to help salt and preserve the unreliable beast.”
HAPPY NEW YEARS!!! I’ll post pictures next week.