Hello again Winona friends and family!
You may notice that this update is occurring relatively quickly after Eileen’s, and let me inform you that for this we may thank the delightfully sporadic electrical situation that currently exists in Tanzania. Due to several days without daytime electricity, the Internet cafes were lifeless and therefore, our posting for last week was delayed a number of days. With that in mind, this update is not yet a full week out from our last and so will have a bit less to inform you on, yet as always, there has been plenty going on in our lives to tell about!
On Sunday of this week, our surrogate brother, Billo (Babu’s son), his wife, Eve, their newborn son, Heri, and their house-girl moved into Babu’s house with us. I believe they will be staying with us for the next week or so, however time is never a sure thing here and it is better not to think of any future event with certainty until said event is actually occurring! With the addition of these family members came the return of Babu’s sister (yay!) and all of these people, plus the nearly constant stream of visitors due to the presence of the new baby, the house has gone from being fairly quiet to a bustling abode of activity!
This change quickly reminded me that I was not in the Midwest anymore when, in honor of the birth of this newest family member, Babu brought home two of his goats and slaughtered them in the backyard as a celebration dinner! Now, for many Midwestern girls this event would have (I’m sure) remind them of hunting trips from their childhood and the killing and preparing of deer, thereby seeming fairly routine. However, I am no such Midwesterner! I have never shot a gun in my life, much less gone on a hunting trip and seen a deer prepared, so you can imagine this slaughter, skinning, and gutting of the goats to be a new experience for me! And like any new experience, OF COURSE I took pictures! However, I was warned that maybe posting these online would be less than appropriate so alas I must report that you will not receive photo-verification of this event and will have to take it at my word.
Although let me just say there were still probably one or two differences between this and a Midwestern hunting trip, one of which being that the same machete (yep machete, huge knife-like thing) was used for killing the goat, as was used to chop the wood for the fire, clean the oven beforehand, and then section off the meat! Wow. Definitely one of those “Well, I’m in Africa” moments! Gotta love it.
Now a great deal of our time at home is spent with Eve and Heri, and whatever guests are popping in to give their congratulations and visit the baby, but by no means all of our time. Eileen and I have another FANAKA project (although this one is very small compared with our water project!) and unfortunately it is taking up much more of our free time than Heri currently is! This project is the typing, printing, and copying of the midterm examinations for the FANAKA students. Believe it or not it we have now approached midterm and so the teachers must prepare midterm exam for each subject to gauge the students’ progress thus far. As both Eileen and I have our laptops, and it saves FANAKA time and money because they would otherwise pay a lot of money to someone else to do them, we volunteered to type the midterms. So the teachers have written out their exams and submitted them to us to then type. While tedious, there has not been much issue with this except that it can be challenging to read some of the teachers’ penmanship and when I’ve gone to have the teachers check-over them, many of them decide this is the moment they are going to become concerned with particulars like spacing and having things numbered exactly as they wish. This can be a bit frustrating and does make me wonder at times if it is not a bit of a power struggle with the white American girl when they tell me “I would like a line after [this or that] roman numeral” even though the students answer on separate sheets….But it is of little consequence.
The other thing this project means is that midterm is next week, which means two things. First, I do not need to prepare lessons as I will be assisting with administering exams and supervising the testing room, and second, we have a week off school after the conclusion of exams!
Eileen and I have decided to take this time to go visit the island Zanzibar for a four day mini-trip. The culture of Zanzibar is supposed to be quite different from the mainland, and the beaches on the eastside of the island are renowned for their beauty worldwide, so needless to say, I am looking forward to it a lot!
So that is the news on this side of the globe. For any new readers check out our webpage (www.tzeducationproject.org) to get the back-story on what we’re doing in Tanzania! It’s the middle of March, I wonder if Winona hit you all with that lovely end of the season snowstorm or not. Don’t worry, only a few weeks left until the trees begin to blossom on Main Street! In the meantime I’ll be here, across the globe, dodging the ever-burning sun (less I end up lobster-red and blistering like my travel companion after an afternoon sitting on the beach while using sunscreen…yes we are THAT much closer to the sun here!). Talk to you all next week!