Friday, June 26, 2009

Ninakupenda Tanzania!

Greetings and Mambo from Tanzania!

What a jam-packed week i've had. I'll start from where I left off in my last blog (but I only have 20 min. to type at this internet cafe).

THE WATERFALL HIKE! UGH! The most challenging and difficult thing I have ever done in my life. However, I couldn't be more proud of myself. I had no idea I was capable of such things. We began the 12+ hour hike up Mount Meru on Sunday, and it was obvious the hike was going to be a lot easier for people in the group than myself. I am not a soccer player, gymnast, dancer, or rugby player (as almost EVERYONE here is). Needless to say, I was very slow. This hike was up a very steep path with such thick mud that I slipped and fell on my face (no joke) 32 times on the whole hike. I wish I had more time to be descriptive. It was all exhausting and terrible at first; we were following Tanzanian guides to this waterfall that brought us UP a mountain....then DOWN a mountain valley....then back UP again...then down again. PHEW! I was not prepared for such a trip. However, I finished and it was worth it in the end.

I was awe inspired by the communities that live on the mountain and make that same hike every single day. Could you imagine if your life were like that? If you were carrying heavy loads of supplies to your house up a 6+ hour hike. Of course, when I was busy falling on my face in the mud, there were Tanzanian women carrying loads of goods on their head, barefoot, passing me on the path. So you could really tell the cultural divides along the hike. It was clear I have been taking my commute for granted my whole life.

Again...sorry for the poor writing. I have a short time to write this and a whole week to write about.

So on Monday we moved to Mount Meru University in a more-rural area of Arusha. It is a beautiful campus full of life and spirit. I can tell I am really going to enjoy orientation. We were divided into smaller rooms and live with some of our Tanzanian teaching partners.

Let me explain a little about them...

SIC has young adults from Tanzania work as our translators when we are teaching in the villages. But they are so much more than that. The teaching partners have become some of my very dear friends. They work so hard to know allllll the material we are learning about HIV in both Swahili AND English. They are such kind and caring people who love to learn. I don't know what I would do without them. I find myself hanging out with them more than the other volunteers because I know how rare of an opportunity it is -- I can now say with utmost confidence that friendship knows no country.

Every day we have 8 hours of class: HIV biology, Tanzanian history and culture, myths and facts about HIV, anatomy, etc etc etc. IT'S A LOT OF WORK. I haven't had 8 hours of straight class since high school. It's incredible how much I am going to learn before going into the villages. It's true that you need 10 weeks worth of knowledge before you teach for 6 weeks. I feel more prepared than ever.

Of course, after 8 hours of class we need to unwind and play some games!!! It's great the kind of things you can do without electricity and technology. At home, I'm sure any of my friends would be board of playing games after 2 hours...but here we played for 4! We were taugh Tanzanian games & songs...I have also earned the nickname "Miss Games" from the Tanzanians. I have taught the whole group of volunteers about 5 games we learned at DA in our theatre classes. The Tanzanians love "biddy biddy bop"!!!! They play that and "zip zap zop" all night long now. We also play scrabble on a nightly basis.

I am working very hard to prepare myself for a rigourous 6-week teaching span in King'Ori Ward. We will be spending over 80 hours in classrooms, not including the many community teachings we will do.

I will update you as soon as I can. I love you all!

1 comment:

  1. I am inspired, still, Sara!

    I miss you so much, but it's great to see you spreading so much of your sunshine!