Nyoka and Ugali

All classes were cancelled at the secondary school today to allow for Jubilee preparation, so when Aidan and Mom headed off to teach primary school again, Linda and I went to see what was happening at the school and could basically do anything we wanted. We talked with the girls who were working on the garden, then asked one of the girls, Esther, to take us and show us the dormitories. The girls were so excited to show us their beds and trunks, and LOVED when we took pictures. Their dorms are very crowded, have no running water or electricity, and some girls don’t even have mosquito nets! But they are very thankful for what little they do have, and are very welcoming and always willing to share. During the students breakfast/tea break (around 10 am), we came back to the mission house to take a quick break, and then went back to explore some more. We found Patrick and Joseph, who wanted to show us the water system that they’re in charge of, so we walked around with them, took some great photos, and then headed back to the main school compound. It cracks me up to hear the conversations in Swahili between some of the students while we’re around…no one will ever translate, but it’s pretty easy to guess by their tone of voice and the fact that they’re always laughing!

Linda and I encountered a nyoka (that’s Swahili for snake) on the road back from school and (although we didn’t know what kind of snake it was or how dangerous it was at the time) we made the smart decision to back away, allow it to carry on with its venomous snake business, and then pass by after it was quite far away. We later found out that it was a Green Mamba…yikes! Definitely put me in my place and reminded me how careful I need to be!

Mama Toni let us help her prepare ugali, which is a very common, traditional food here in Tanzania made from cornmeal and water. It’s like thick grits, and you eat it with beans or meat using your hands. It’s delicious, and has quickly become one of my favorite local foods!

After lunch and a siesta spent reading TIME magazine (while Linda, Mom, and Aidan watched 42, about Jackie Robinson), we all went to secondary school to continue “helping” [aka. observing, talking, distracting, laughing, wandering] during the Jubilee prep. I showed Mom the dorms from this morning, we helped the girls prepare corn, and then observed the platform being built for the guests of honor. Linda went around and said her goodbyes, and we left from the school for the last time with Aunt Linda. A village woman joined us for dinner to answer our questions about life for women in Tanzanian culture, which was interesting! I did learn that women expect a dowry to be paid for their hand in marriage and that girls are frowned upon if they date more than one guy in their lifetime. It seems very unusual to me, but it’s fascinating that those are the cultural norms here! I’m so very sad that Linda is leaving tomorrow morning; it was such a blessing to get to spend these last two weeks with her!

We almost forgot to take our malaria-prevention pills tonight (oops!) but we ate granola bars, took our pills, drank a bunch of water, and all was well! I spent a while tonight sitting outside and gazing at the stars…they’re INCREDIBLY beautiful, and since there are no lights to obscure your view, you can see so many of them. It’s become an evening routine to stargaze before bed…there’s something so peaceful about it.

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Meghan the ugali cook…yum!

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Lunch time! 🙂

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Helping the girls at the secondary school prepare the corn

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We love Linda…not sure why the pictures is in front of the bathroom, but oh well!

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Joel, myself, LaFyte, and Linda

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