2013 In a Nutshell (Blog-Shell):
Quick, informative, only slightly disgusting
PLEASE NOTE: While I didn't write teaching at the Secondary School, Teaching to the waiting patients at the Zahanati, Clinic, village health announcements, and other weekly work, I did them, I promise. Figured whale sharks and all that would be exciting to read about though. Will hopefully get a vill- centric blog in somtime
- Parents came and left (wahh)- Safari, Christmas in my village (HOT!), Zanzibar, Tanga town (12 days!)
- Mid-Service Conference with all my long-lost PC pals from my class in Dar (big city, big prices, good food)
- Had quite the 14 hour journey adventure to Mafia to SWIM with WHALE SHARKS! Such an amazing expirence. p.s. they don't have teeth
- Came back to vill
- Started up withe Life Skills class at the Sec School, those little rascals
- Water Shidas started (problems!!)
- NO WATER
- SPENT ALL MONEY on buying hauled water from an hour away
- LAID on concrete floor to try to cool off
- (can you tell i won't miss Feb 2014??)
- Completed my first 5k in Africa, near the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, sporting a fine eyeliner mustache
- Watched several of my friends complete the FULL MARATHON (in the hottest season in TZ!)
- Swam in Hot Springs (not hot, but very clear, clean water near Moshi/Arusha)
- Back to the Vill
- Hand-Washing demo days at the Primary Schools
- Tried to get Zinduka started again (HIV centered youth soccer program)..of course nothing happened
- Tried to get village health group motivated to write World Malaria Day grant....nothing happened til too late
- Easter Feast at Peace Corps Extendee's house with Italians, Germans, Americans, and Tanzania...with easter egg dying and the hunt!
- Had my 2nd birthday in Tanzania...the big 2-5. Was a difficult age to turn in my head, but ushered it in on the quiet beautiful private beach of Pangani with a some friends
- Continued the usual teaching at the school/helping/teaching at the Zahanati, etc
- Held a pretty unsuccessful World Malaria Day (30+ handwritten flyers and 15 ppl show up? not that I'm still bitter. :), but a successful Cinema night about malaria
- Headed to the Usambara Mountains of Lushoto to hike, celebrate a friend's birthday, buy a real coach leather purse for $2.50 (didn't really know or care its Coach, but liked it!)
- Taught/taught/helped..almost got Zinduka started, but then school was to close in June so didn't start yet
- Hosted a new Tanga friend's bro, a young British doctor, at my site and got to show him the "real tz", and he brought me solar lights and hung up my hammock.. fair deal if I say so!
- Read copious amounts of books (add this to every month along with the working)
- Counted down the days to pick up my friend (see June)
- Headed back to Moshi to pick up my dear bestie, Sarah Jones and to begin our adventures! Safari with near Jurassic Park-like experiences with Elephants, High School Musical themed guest rooms, shopping extravaganzas, private beach villas in Zanzibar for the price of a hut on the beach, village encounters, and Tanga fanciness. Reconnected after a year and a half, was a lovely trip. :)
- After dropping Sarah off at airport, met up with a fellow PCV friend, then headed to get scuba certified!! definitely one of the coolest things I've ever done. and I saw Nemo.
- Temps dropped! It rained alot!!
- Hosted the (now) annual Tanga 4th of July Bash on the Sandbar (well an hour on the sandbar) with 40+ PCVs. woof! but fun, including sparkler candles and clubbin!
- Hiked up to Lushoto again, and sat on the edge of the world (or so it feels), froze
- Back to the vill, STARTED ZINDUKA!! This time with Standard 6 kids (or like 7th graders)
- Played with some babies, ate a lot of chappatis
- Worked, played, read, plotted
- Took another 2 week vacay (hey, i had alot of vacay days to use) before and after my COS Conference (more later). Headed north solo to see the desert-y accaia-lined area of the Katesh, Manyara, then headed to see Lake Victoria at Mwanza...rocks and home of the haggled happy hour!Then took another flight! (between my fam, sarah, scuba, and then mwanza to dar, I rarely took the bus this year, WOO!) to Dar.
- COS (Close of Service Conference) in Dar, but not just any Dar place, a fancy beach resort! Paid for by Peace Corps (and you, American taxpayers, thank you). Wonderful way to wrap up two years with friends and a wonderful facilitator, my ex-pat friend Pam from Tanga. Also, we all started planning our adventures before returning home (more later)
- After Dar, headed back to Zanzibar (what a life, I know), to go see the HUMPBACKS migrating through! A dream come true for a Free Willy obsessed little girl. Then on to Iringa (southern TZ), to complete my TZ quest
- Back to the vil, teaching, teaching, trying to get projects wrapping up/hugging up every minute with my babies
- Got Zinduka rolling again after my travel absence, they kids were so excited and kept coming to my house to see when we'd do it again (def a great work motivator!)
- Continued teaching at the clinic and really trying to teach/work with the pregnant mamas and regular mamas that come through. Going to miss them...
- To make a long story short (ha, Mom), finally got in contact with a man from Muheza who works with the local government on sustainable energy, climate change adaptation, and fuel efficient stoves. Had learned about these a year ago, but wanted someone with better knowledge of it to really lead the demonstration, and the angels sent Mr. Nyimbile! So within the span of three weeks, we met, planned, and will now HOST the training (for free! no grant!) in my village this coming week! wooot!
- Carried a bunch of babies on my back because I know I have limited time with them
- Had a full moon party bonfire with Americans, Brits, Austrailians, Kenyans, Indian Tanzanians, and who knows where else. Gotta love the many sounds of English!
October....to be continued....
So, things are moving SO QUICKLY now, my fellow PCVs and I trying to do a little work, do a little playing, do a LOT of getting rid of stuff (who knew how much you could accumulate in 2 years in 2 rooms!), and do LOADS of goodbyes..the hardest part. Though Tanzania has frustrated me like no other, it has welcomed me and pulled me into it, and entrenched me like no other. It is a beautiful, raw, still new country, but ancient with traditions and hospitality. Where else can you see a 90 year old bibi (grandmother) on her cell phone in her mud house? I could never truly do it justice here, but perhaps will try in another post. It has been the best, most growing 2 years of my life, and whet my appiteite for life/traveling abroad even further.
In that vein, I am happy to report a small group of friends and I are traveling to India, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, before making our way home (before Christmas!!) because being on this side of the world makes it so cheap! ALL of our flights to every country and even around India, including Bangkok to Chicago, are all for less than Peace Corps is giving me for my return ticket home! Then HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!! A bit excited/...
So thank you, loyal readers for reading this and hopefully forgiving me a tiny bit for my haitus. I appreiciate all the love, support, good vibes, prayers, smoke signals, letters, packages, or whatever else you sent my way. It got to me.
Pamoja na Upendo, Amani, na Raha,
(With love, peach and happiness)