August 24, 2006

Okay, making progress. I really want to write about this. Not only because I want to have a record about it to remember, and I want to share, but also because I've had so many new experiences and things going on within the past seven months that basically everything I've done is sort of in this huge knot or jumble in my mind. There's just SO much information in my head I can't really make sense of it all, and writing about it seems to be helping me organize it a bit. Anyway.

After the party at Clarissa's site we made dinner (fried rice and egg rolls! The egg rolls were amazing) and played Scrabble! The next day we left Clarissa's site and met a bunch of other peace corps volunteers for lunch in Moshi itself, then the other volunteers all left and it was just Wes and me again. We got a hotel in Moshi and stayed for two nights. It was nice; we spent some time exploring, and some time just relaxing, talked to some people, got my khangas sewn, went to a pretty cool rooftop bar...the rooftop bar was funny because we were the only people there that night, so we ended up having a fairly in depth conversation with some of the workers there about schools in America and various other topics. Moshi was also pretty good for my Swahili; I took every chance I got to speak it a little bit and I think improved a small amount. I like learning languages, and I like being able to understand - and contribute - to what's going on around me, and I also liked being able to show the Tanzanians that I had made an effort to understand THEIR language and culture instead of just assuming they'd know mine. I never learned all that much - six weeks, while it seems long, is sort of short for learning an entire language, even if you ARE immersed in it - but I was proud of myself for learning what I did.

The part that amused me most in Moshi, though, was when we went to get one of my kangas sewn by these two young women, probably around my age. They talked with us for awhile as they sewed and were fairly amused by us. Then Wes told them that I was his fiance (they don't really have a highly appropriate word for "girlfriend" that doesn't connotate "lover" so we figured we'd go with mchumbe instead) and one of the girls giggled and asked the equivalent of, "Do you want another?" Wes paused. "Uh...I have one." "Yes but do you want another?" Wes then explained that in America, you only have one, which sent them into gales of laughter.

After Moshi we took another bus to another village near Lushoto to visit another volunteer, Andrew. The bus dropped us off a couple of miles away from his village, since it was kind of small, so we walked up the mountain with our stuff. The walk, while kind of long and hot, was also pretty funny. We were greeted by sooo many people, and at one point there was this entire group of Tanzanian women all just standing there waving at us enthusiastically and all talking at once; I wish I could have taken a picture. And when we actually got to the site, the headmaster gave us sodas, and on the way back to Andrew's house, we attracted a following of a few children. Literally a following; they followed us almost all the way back to Andrew's house, and at one point started giggling and imitating the way I walked. It was hilarious. Cooked dinner at Andrew's house, and played Scrabble again, hehe.

The next day we stashed our stuff at Andrew's house and left early to go to Amani, which is a rainforest in the northeastern part of Tanzania. I'll write more about that later...

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