Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sorry it’s been awhile but last weekend, the grandfather of the guys who run the internet cafe passed away so they were closed all weekend for the funeral.

On a brighter note though, one of the things that I couldn’t share last week was that one of my students, Joyce, became a Christian! 

So a week of funny stories!!!!  Somehow, Timo, the base leader, found out that in English “hot” is the same as beautiful.  People are very free and generous with compliments here so you should hear him running around the base: “Good morning! You are hot, my sister!”  Bev and I have tried to explain that really it’s a little bit shady to say this to all the women you meet but he doesn’t seem to mind!

On Monday we learned about weddings in class and we were talking about dowries.  It is common practice here for a man to give a dowry for his fiancee and when Kanuti heard that we don’t do this in America, “Oh, I think I will go there!” he was practically on the next plane!

To learn about birthdays on tuesday, we had a birthday party complete with Pin the Tail on the GIRAFFE and presents and cake!  Yes that’s right I baked a cake!  I’m sorry, did you hear me? I BAKED a CAKE.... in AFRICA!!!!  If you haven’t fallen down dead from the shock, I’ll also tell you that it was even GOOD!  Most of you will realise that the “in AFRICA” is nowhere near as impressive as the “I BAKED a CAKE”  I explained to a friend this morning that at home, I’m the girl who brings plastic cups to the party.  But our little celebration was loads of fun...

I’m leaving Tanzania one month from today.  I’m getting a little bit more mentally prepared for it but emotionally I’m still a bit of a yoyo and I go from being tragically homesick and thrilled about getting back to really sad about leaving my new family here... but I guess I should be used to that by now....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

So I’m freaking out a little!!!!

Six weeks from today I am leaving Morogoro!  I’m so excited for what lies ahead but I’m not so ready to leave!  

I had a great day on Friday though!  A few weeks ago I met some other missionary families and when they heard that I work in theatre at home they got very excited.  They are all homeschooling their kids and they get together every Friday and have someone from a different profession come and talk to the kids about what their job is like.  So Friday I went to their meeting and shared about Costume Design and theatre in general.  It was a lot of fun (and I hope a little interesting).  As you can imagine not too many people in my line of work come through Morogoro.  I often have a hard time explaining to people here exactly what it is that I do and how it is possible to make money doing it.  There is no concept of professional theatre here so most people end up thinking I am working in a factory making clothes...It was really good thought to talk about what my job is like and what some of the challenges are of being a christian in my world.  A couple of the older girls especially were really interested and I think I’ll get together with one of them a couple of times before I leave for some drawing lessons.  

I’ve also been sending a fair amount of time playing chaperone for a couple of my friends who are about to announce their engagement.  The rules here are incredibly strict on starting relationships and there is no “dating” like we know it.  It pretty much goes like this.  A guy thinks that he might want to marry a girl so he goes to the base leaders and asks for their permission to talk to her about it.  If they think it is good and what God wants, he is allowed to pursue her.  If she is interested, they both have to get letters of agreement from their parents and their churches.  If everyone agrees, the leaders will then announce that the couple is engaged!  But once he has made spoken about his intentions and especially after the announcement, they are not allowed to be alone together!  So I have been spending a lot of time with the two of them mostly just allowing them to spend time together.  We joke that I’m like a character in a 19th century novel and after we watched Miss Potter a few weeks ago, he’s started calling me Bibi, swahili for grandmother because of the old lady who was the chaperone in that film. I do my part by casting dissaproving glances at them every now and then and joke about bringing along my knitting everytime we make plans to go somewhere.  At first glance the whole thing seems ridiculously strict and awful but the truth is that everyone involved is praying their way through the entire process and I can see that there is some wisdom in it.  There is a lot less unecessary heartbreak.  That being said, if I’m honest, I’m glad it’s not my culture! 

here's a video of the class during our singing time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fifty fifty

Tanzanians LOVE this phrase.... How are you feeling? fifty fifty.  How was town? fifty fifty.  This week I am "fifty fifty."  Things have picked up a bit from last week.  Yesterday was Bev's birthday so we celebrated by going to a hotel in town!  For 3000 shillings (about$2.50) you can go and swim in the pool!  We took Bebe with us (who doesn't know how to swim) and apart from one tiny near drowning--mine AND Bebe's--we had a GREAT time!  It was a real blessing for me as school this week was a little tough.  I'm getting a LOT of blank stares these days and I'm having to go back and re-teach things from three and four weeks ago.  It's really frustrating at times.  I just want them to understand and I don't know how to make it stick!

As usual, here I am in the internet cafe utterly unable to recall all the funny and interesting things that have happened to me this week so I think I'll wrap this one up... this week I'll have to write something everyday so that I'll have good stuff for next time...