I have been so behind on blog posting pole sana (I’m very sorry). I must attribute a lot of this to the full body hives I broke out in at the beginning of last week. I had been having a great weekend we went out dancing on Saturday at Snow Crest Hotel where the Warriors of the East play and then on Sunday we had a fun party at the center where all the Ohio students, all the watoto and even some of the day school students came out and danced. It was later that Sunday night that the hives broke out and rained on my parade. The hives really slowed me down. Plus we have been busy non-stop here since then with different groups coming through. The Monday that I spent covered in hives was the day that a group of twenty 9th and 10th grade students arrived from the international school of Tanganyika. They helped paint a new mural on one of the walls, they shared their poetry and music and also spent time having discussions with our English students.
Once I regained my strength on Tuesday, I attended a local bar’s Valentine’s Day celebration with my friend Sophia and some artists from the UAACC who performed some of their rap music. It was interesting to go to a local club instead of one of the bigger clubs in Arusha. We were the only two tourists in the whole club and since Sophia is white and that is still a bit of a rare site out here in the village we drew a lot of attention. But we were safe and it was good to see the difference between clubs in town and in the city. A couple of my English students even showed up and performed a couple of songs themselves.
Wednesday night we went to the movie showing of The Source, which I had the energy to post about because it was so fantastic.
On Thursday sewing class was led by one of the adults from the high school group. Students from the UAACC and the International School of Tanganyika worked together to create quilt squares that were later put together and presented to the center. In the evening the whole high school group plus some of us volunteers and Mama C all went to Via Via (a really fun outdoor club in Arusha). Some of the students performed their music and poetry while Mama C also got up there and sung. It was a special night at Via Via too because there was a professional dance group that put on a little show for part of the night. Just another fun night out.
Friday morning I had my students working with some of the high school students to discuss different upbringings in Tanzania and throughout Africa. It was really interesting to hear some of the different stories. I have Maasai students in my class as well as students from different villages in the region so they were sharing their traditional African lifestyle while some of the high school students come from different countries and have moved around a lot so they brought a whole new light to the discussion. It was fun to see the exchange of information between the groups. In the afternoon there was a big talent show where the dance and drumming group came out performed and students from both the UAACC and the high school performed music, poetry and skits. It was a really fun event and some of the high school students and teachers were shedding tears when everything was over and they had to head back to Dar.
Saturday we were back out dancing at Snow Crest and jamming with Mama C and the two new artists Maya and Maia. They both have beautiful voices and we have been blessed for the rest of the week to have them rehearsing here at the UAACC every night. The last two nights after dinner I have just been enjoying listening to these women and their band rocking out and then hanging out with them afterwards. There is another jam session tonight and then the final rehearsal tomorrow. Friday is the big concert that is a fundraiser for rape awareness and aid to victims. There will also be another show on Saturday that will be more accessible to the local people and include a wider range of artists.
Earlier today I had my first experience witnessing a goat being slaughtered and prepared for an open fire roast. It was hard to watch the initial and some parts of the removal of organs. The experience reminded me of how easily life can be taken from any animal on this earth. It was also a great cultural experience because for all the men cutting up the goat this was like an everyday event yet for Sophia and I it was so out of the ordinary. We were there looking on in awe, slightly queasy and taking pictures. I’m sure they thought our reactions and desire to take pictures was extremely odd yet to us some of their actions we so absurd. For example when the windpipe and lungs were removed one of the young men decided to blow into to windpipe and blow up the lungs! Just for fun I guess. Also, as one of men was sorting through the various organs he had an incoming call and with bloody hands just pulls it out and talks and then just puts it right back into his pocket. It was a very interesting cultural experience. I do not wish to see an event like this again but I was glad I was able to stomach it and experience some of the culture here.
On a different note the weather has been very interesting lately. This week has been a lot hotter than the past couple weeks but we have also been getting afternoon rain showers on and off. I have really enjoyed these showers. It makes the day so nice and relaxing. One day Sophia and I were in town at the Maasai market when the downpour began. People were letting us hide out in their shops but we were having fun running between shops and negotiating “rain prices” for merchandise.
I love it here so much. I am busy but so relaxed at the same time. I can’t believe that it has only been a month and that I have five more to come! I feel like I have already done so much and met so many cool people I can’t even begin to image what all is going to happen in the next five months. Thanks so much for everyone at home who made this trip possible for me and who have provided me with the emotional support so that I could take a six-month trip and feel so at peace. I will try to keep updating my blog with as much detail as I can. I know I’m not capturing all that is happening but I hope you can get an idea of how things are here and that you can feel some of the spirit and joy of my trip. Lots of love!