25.11.2011 - 14.12.2011
How crazy that it is nearly Christmas! Doesn’t feel like it here except the odd occasion a bar in Singida or the sisters at the social centre decide to put on a carol in Swahili. 11,500+ photo’s and 197 days in. I can’t believe its 4 months since my tour finished!!!
I've enjoyed the past couple of weeks, it has just been L and I and we have really been trying to get out and about and put our Swahili into practise. Some days I go really well, then others I can barely string an English sentence together, let alone Swahili.
The wedding was a good opportunity for this, though the day mostly consisted of “HALLELUJAH!” and “LILILILILILI”. It was really fun. Especially for a dry wedding. We were ushered to our seats of course down the very front, I was next to mother of the bride. Then the wedding party went outside to enter with the bride and groom, and we were included in the wedding party, dancing down the aisle behind the happy couple. Our gifts were perfect apparently and luckily we had been informed of the tradition of dancing up on stage with your gift to present to the couple. The flower girls looked very cute and had amazing wigs (among many on the day, but still not as good as our old man we see who wears a dyed mop head under his hat) they looked like extra members of The Supremes. Witnessed some interesting traditions including ladies throwing themselves on the ground in front of the couple, more handfeeding each other cake, lots of dancing similar to conga lines – fun – and of course we were made to join in with the Maasai jumping. I’m sure we were only encouraged for everyones amusement but that’s ok, we were probably laughing just as much at other things. Still can’t help getting the giggles with the loud & proud belching during meals, mid-sentence. I am still trying to slip the perfect one in. The wedding went for 8 hours and that was even cut short as the power went off and the generator for the music ran out of petrol so we didn’t even get to the after party, where the Sprite would have been flowing. But there was some form of dancing for most of the day and I was exhausted! It was a great day. I must admit we all looked fabulous in our new Tanzanian outfits.
G has been here a couple more times to visit and both times we have bombarded her with questions and things are now finally falling into place. Also the hostel is moving along for opening in the new year, woohooo. We handed out applications and had a meeting with students and guardians last week about how it will be run (community) etc. We are continuing to paint the hostel this week if it stops raining long enough for the walls to dry. I was pretty keen to do some cleaning there too until today when Maria showed us a room students have been using as it wasn’t locked…..there are a few suspicious looking ‘chokito bars’ on the floor and they have been DRAWING ON THE WALLS WITH POO! I got the giggles so bad when everyone was so disgraced by it but I couldn’t stop laughing, so grose it was ridiculous! Laughing again now. Heheehe.
Our house has been fitted with plugs and points for electricity, so now we are just waiting for the electricity company to wire it up. Thanks to the fundi, we have found the infamous rat! (R.I.P) Though when I emailed the photo of it to B and J, they were sure it is a different colour to their visitor.
The sewing group are going really well and have kind of assigned me as embroiderer for the Upendo label that they sew on. So I am not completely useless. We had a girl my age, E, visit last week who is currently working over near the Burundi border for an organisation focusing on crafts. She is coming to focus on the sewing group to develop further craft skills, which is exciting. We all went into Singida on Friday for Tanzania’a 50th Anniversary of Independence celebration. Not many people seemed to be all that bothered about the occasion. I must be great company as a guy trying some chatting up at the bar fell asleep talking to me then vomited on himself haha. We saw him at the end of the night on the floor as the cleaners had nudged him off the chair and table to pack up. And Celine Dion is so hot right now in Singida. Must be because of that new movie ‘Titanic’. I found a section in a shop in Singida with a bunch of Titanic merchandise. Amazing.
I have now written 2 police statements in Tanzania, something I never expected to have to do in another language. One for the camera, for which I was noted down as being a ‘pagan’ then another for an incident involving a man beating his wife, as she came to the house for advice.
Anna, who stays at the organisation's site just out of the village, took L and I to the rocks (probably featured in many of my photos) just out of the village for a day to walk around and the views are amazing! Especially as the purple clouds and lightning roll in in the afternoon. It looks like the set of The Lion King. She showed us rock art from the Stone Age, to be honest, as with most of my other ‘rock art experiences’ over here I didn’t know what I was looking at but just aimed my camera in the general direction. Why does every tree and bush in Tanzania have to have thorns??!
Yesterday we felt the lowest of low when we actually hid under the kitchen table from kids who were Hodi’ing outside. (to enter someones house or yard you say “Hodi” and the resident will say karibu, unless that resident is me). Some days I don’t mind taking a bunch of pictures for them or showing them some pictures and books or whatever but some days…..no.
Had another fun trip home from Singida Saturday evening. Waiting in the rain for over an hour being told yes a car is coming. Then found out the only one still running was across the road being repaired, so we snuck over there to see if we could get a lift. A little unnerving seeing your lift having the pole the wheels are on (sorry I have no knowledge of cars at all) being welded together, and seeing a lot of flames around petrol, I was torn between backing away from a possible explosion and losing a seat therefore spending another night in Singida, or getting to the front of that line of men trying to push on. I chose SEAT!
L and I are going to a Taarab concert in Singida on Saturday night and on Sunday Lydia - the sewing group teacher - is cooking us an early Xmas dinner. The big market is on again today so might head down and see what’s going.