I have a lot of catching up to do. On March 8th we had a big going away party for my roommate Sophia. The students wrote and sang songs for her and performed skits about her photography class. The staff also prepared a nice cake for her. After all of that there was the first of two dance parties. Sophia was so popular and loved to dance so much that there was a second nighttime disco for her.
The next day was Mama C’s birthday so we had another even more elaborate party that Friday evening. Some of the students sang happy birthday to her, others danced and some performed other songs and skits. We made two cakes for Mama C. One was a vegan chocolate cake that I helped make myself and that we decorated with a picture of an obokano (Mama C’s favorite instrument). Her party turned into a big dance party that lasted well into the night. It was fun to see all the children, staff and day students dancing together and having a fun time.
Since those two parties things have been a lot mellower around here. A week and a half ago I went into town to see a herbalist/nutritionist. He suggests a raw vegan diet until dinnertime when cooked food is allowed as long as there are more vegetables than starchy foods. I am trying to stick to this diet and it is probably easier to do here than in the states because there is an abundant supply of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. However, I do have a sweet tooth so I haven’t been cutting out cake yet. But the diet is simple and I do feel healthier having a higher fresh fruit and vegetable intake instead of eating a lot of rice, potatoes or pasta.
Lately, I have just been relaxing at the center, baking with the chef here and focusing on teaching English and Microsoft Excel. For a while I had stopped teaching computers and just focused on my English class plus assisting in sewing and architecture class. Part of the reason I took a break was that the English students werent split up by level for computers so I could easily teach in English. But the larger issue was the undeniable power and slow computers. Sometimes the power will go on and off multiple times during a class period. When this happens, most of our time is spent turning on the computers switching power over to the generator and so forth. And since there is a shortage of computers the shortened time on the computer because of the power meant that only one person per group actually got to practice on the computer. After a while I decided I would teach my intermediate English students how to use Microsoft excel only. I started teaching them the English and steps in class and then creating a new computer class time just for this class. A couple times the power went out and I had to resort to using my laptop as well as one from another guest. So they were able to become familiar with excel even though each of them had to work in groups of four. Thankfully this past week the Internet has been good and they have been able to work on excel in pairs. Here in areas where power supplies can be so irregular there is really a strong need for laptops. For one, they use less power than a desktop computer. And two, they can hold a charge so you can use them even when the power is out. If anyone knows of a company that sells used laptops at a very low rate or of any charities giving away laptops please pass on the information. I know there isn’t a big supply of unused laptops but they could be greatly used here and help to decrease the technology gap that exists here.
I am going to be really sad to leave my students at the end of next week. Last weekend two of my students invited me over to their homes in the nearby town of Usa River to meet their families. It was a really fun experience to see where they live and learn more about the average lifestyle here. For example, I found out that they walk an hour to school, each way, everyday. The family of one of my students is originally from Mt. Kilimanjaro. His mother gave me a beautiful knitted ski mask type hat that people wear who live on Kilimanjaro. She also showed me how to make woven baskets out of banana leaves. I really enjoyed spending time in town with my students and seeing what they do and where they live.
I am trying to make the most out of my last week here before I move onto beautiful Zanzibar. Thanks again to all the people who have helped make this trip possible. I am having such a great time and having so many new experiences. I can’t even imagine what the next few months are going to bring.