July 4, 2006

Fourth of July in a country that doesn't celebrate it

Wow! Okay so I finally get a chance to sit down and write a little bit. This past week and a half has gone really well, with the exception of the lack of power all last week, but that wasn't a HUGE deal, just mildly annoying. I've been taking in a LOT and had a lot to process; this really is an amazing experience. (Not just because I get to see Wes. :P Although that's definitely the best part). But anyway. I'm not entirely sure where to start. I guess I could explain the last pictures I posted. Last Monday we had dinner over at the Igosha house, both the wife and the husband are teachers at Mzumbe Secondary. It was really nice; Mama Igosha was amazingly friendly and even showed me how to tie a khanga (finally!) which is what I am wearing in the picture. It never occured to me just how versatile a large piece of cloth could be. Seriously. Women use them for so much here. Skirts, dresses, shirts, shawls, they even tie them a certain way to hold their babies on their backs. Craziness. Plus I felt like people in Morogoro were a lot friendlier to me when I was wearing one. Not that they were UNfriendly before, just...friendlier. I like at least making the effort to show that I'm trying to respect the culture here. Same with the language. Although it's funny. People seem to vary between being surprised I know words like "hello" and "thank you" after being here for two and a half weeks, and seeming shocked that I'm not yet completely fluent in the language.

Anyway, Tuesday and Wednesday were good, Wednesday we played scrabble again with Wes's teacher friends (this time III won! It was really, really close though. Wes and I were neck and neck the whole time. And then we played again the next day and Wes beat me again. Rar. Just wait until next time! ) Thursday Mukama, Rugora, and Gosbert (the teachers) came back and came bearing meat, fried bananas, and drinks! They brought us dinner to welcome me to Tanzania. It was an absolutely amazing night. Everyone talked, and then we played this game where everyone wrote down questions to ask everyone else, not unlike questions in a fishbowl from camp or ASB, but sparked a two hour or so long, really good conversation. It was great.

The next day was amazing but for a completely different reason. We went into Morogoro and ended up going spur of the moment to this party at this guy Joel's house. (Joel isn't Tanzanian, I'm not sure what nationality he is, he works for a tabacco company). It was like a completely different world. Lots of rich people, hardwood floors, tons of food and , dancing...I had a really good time but I couldn't help being struck by the fact that it felt like we were lightyears away from Morogoro and Mzumbe even though we were IN Morogoro and only about a thirty minute drive away from Mzumbe. Anyway, Joel was really nice and even let us spend the night when it started getting late, and fed us awesome leftovers in the morning. :P

This week has been pretty good too, the power came back on, Wes has had a bit more free time, and we took a walk up the foothill of a mountain around sunset yesterday, which was amazing. (Pictures below)

Throughout everything I've been having more and more really interesting conversations; the culture's so different here. At the same time, I'm thinking that I'm pretty sure it's possible to feel at home anywhere. Cultures can be different but I think people are the same; you're always going to have the generous and the selfish, the outgoing and the shy, the rich and the poor, the kind and the rude, etc., and I think maybe it's possible to make friends anywhere if you can communicate. :)

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