Saturday, August 13, 2011

Field Trip!

Ok so I have been neglecting my blog as per usual, but this time I actually have stories to tell. Hmm where to start...

For my birthday I went to the saba saba (7-7) mnada (market) and spent the week grading exams. I then became old and did something painful to my back/leg that won me a trip to Dar. I'm still not sure what I did and what went wrong but whatever I am slowly recovering.
When I got back I learned that CBG field trip to the Ngorongoro crater, shifting sands, and dupye gorge. After a day of trying to get permission to go to something that I already had permission for and planned to do I went.
I showed up at 5:45am ready to leave at 6. one was there. At last (around 6:20)the two land rovers come. From school to town wasn't bad...the kids were squished in the car but I had my own seat. Then we got to town and the mkuu (headmaster) magically appeared and took my seat. So I got the joy of doing the crater Tanzanian style and sat on top of another teacher and the corner of the wooden console. To add insult to injury now not only did my left side hurt from before but now my right side hurt in a different way.
We went to the gorge of dupye (spelling) where the first hominid fossils were found. Then we went to the shifting sands. Over years this sand made from a volcano keep moving as the shifting sands. It is super fun to play in and watch move. The students loved taking pictures and playing in it as did I. We then went to a hill to eat lunch consisting of bread, muffins, and soda. After lunch we crammed back into the car and headed toward the crater. The crater: going down the crater is like driving down the side of a mountain. It's super steep and winding and with an overloaded car with 20 people I sometimes wondered if the car would tip over or make it down and then back up okay.
I saw awesome scenery and animals including lions (male and female), ostriches, a bird i've never seen, zebras, baboons, elephants, camels (so cool), twiga (giraffes), a warthog, and wildebeests. The rest stop in the crater had zebras surrounding it which the students successfully scared away.
then we were running out of time because the gates closed at six and we had to go back up the crater and then back down the other side. so we carefully rushed up the side of the winding narrow road of the crater and then rushed back down the curvy green side to head to town and eat chipsi mayai. By the end of the day I had a great time, minus the pain. I got some awesome pictures but my memory card got a virus and hid all my photos, but alas I finally got it fixed and some photos are up and sent.

Back at school my students are preparing for the mock national exam and finals. Who knows what will happen in September but will try to update.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dead Birds and Goat Lungs

Wow, so I'm a horrible blog updater. In my defense I don't have electricity at site so appreciate what you do get.
Ok so I went to IST in Morogoro and had good times there with friends. It was my working vacation since A-level is out during march. Anyway I got back to my house to find a dead bird on my floor and my bench moved in my courtyard. So I called Utouh (another teacher) to tell him that someone broke into my courtyard and there was a dead bird on my floor. He came over and cleaned up the dead bird and mopped floor hardcore! He also found the kid that hopped my courtyard wall and found out that they were playing futbol and kicked the ball into my courtyard and he was the one who retrieved it.
So then I went to town to research dissections for school and came back to another dead bird in the house which Utouh kindly cleaned up again but no mopping this time...bummer.
I got new students (had to wait a week for them to show up). Most of the boys (form 6) returned and I have ~70 form 5 who are all female. Form 6 was learning about the respiratory system so for class I went to the butcher and requested the lungs and trachea. I got a straw from the papaya tree and let them blow the lungs up, deflate them, and dissect them. Afterwards they chopped it up and asked if they could eat them. I said karibu but cook them first. Utouh ended up eating them.
So bird story not yet over because I was at home trying to eat dinner and a bird came in. I opened my door to try and encourage it to fly out and then it went into my kitchen. (these birds are stupid they fly around and hit the walls and they can actually stand sideways on my walls as well. How do I get this bird out? Wait there are now 2 birds! Crap. So I sprayed mosquito repellent....didn't work as I had hoped. Finally got the one out of the kitchen and shut the door. Then I proceeded to chase the birds with a stick because they were on my rafters to try and get them out. I went outside with my light to try and lure them out...shouting at them didn't work either. They kept going towards the door and then veering to the wall. I called my neighbor who wasn't at school for bird chasing advice and he just laughed and told me to catch it for dinner. After one of the birds sat on my shoulder and more chasing I finally got them out. Then I took my only two hand towels and plugged the holes where they were getting through. Bird problem solved.
Anyway, I've been busy teaching (20 periods a week) form 5 and 6. I'm trying to get form 6 caught up in bio from last year and now I'm going to start helping teach them chemistry at night to help them finish that syllabus.
We have two lab technicians who are training at my school so I'm helping them as well. Things have been hectic and teaching is a lot of work, but i hope the students are getting something out of my classes.
Made a birthday cake for my neighbor's niece yesterday and get to go to the birthday party today to enjoy it.
Oh and it's cold season now and need to figure out how to stay warm in a skirt.
Hope all is well with everyone, mail is always accepted here (ask my mom or sister for my address if you need it or send me a private message for it).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's Been a While

So I finally beat technology and am able to log into my account.t New battery is dying so this will probably be short as per usual.
I'm getting ready to give my students there annual exam and then I'm on break because A-level is odd like that, but I don't really care. I finally got mail and now I have more than 2 stoked, but I cannot wear them this week because of the enormous blisters on my back that I got from sitting outside for three hours when the mkuu called an all school meeting on Monday. (These meetings are all in Kiswahili. One of the teachers wants to do teacher meetings in english only...I said if he did that they wouldn't last 3 hrs long)

What else have I been up at night takes a while and well I'm having food craving for things I can't have here because they aren't available so I take what I can get. I slayed some bees a few weeks ago and thought I might have to slay a snake. My neighbor got stung by a scorpion the other day. I have identified goat meat and prefer not to buy it with the head staring at me. Things are becoming slightly normal here and I know it will be weird to go back to the states. Really missing dairy and cold weather though.

Yeah, not much new other than teaching and going to town. I'm working on posting pictures on fb so check there for updates. Hopefully I'll have more interesting things to say later.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Turkey Day

So I'm swearing in on Wednesday and moving to site later this week. I won't be able to post for a while so in short I am doing well and having fun here. I will be starting work soon as I arrive. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. Eat some pie for me and enjoy the cool weather.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Plains of the Ngorongoro

So sorry for the delay everyone, internet and electricity has been tricky and coordinating time. First off my assignment: I will be living on the plains below the Ngorongoro Crater (can see views from my school grounds where I will live like roaming elephants and fields of sunflowers) and in walking distance to Lake Manyara (Arusha Region). I will be teaching at a school with 883 students and 5 teachers including me. I will be teaching A-level Chemistry and Biology (first A-level Bio teacher for the Peace Corps TZ) and starting in three weeks (mind you most people get a month to settle in before they start teaching...I get 2 days). My house has four rooms and fruit trees. I've also inherited 2 cats.
Come visit me if you want to see the famous migrations of animals and see where life originated. I will be here and am not far from Mt. Kilimanjaro. Karibu sana. However I will not have electricity, pole sana, so send letters to contact or txt/call.
I'm in shadow week now, caused a slight riot on the bus and am doing science experiments all week.
finished internship teaching last week. I learned a lot and am preparing to start teaching soon. If you want to send me something here are some things I would appreciate:
Good chemistry book
Micro or Biology txt book
Soaps (shampoo, deordant, ect)
Chocolate chips
good pens

If I don't get to post again before swearing in on the 24th, Happy Thanksgiving and Karibu Sana!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Green Oranges and Lemons

So I've been in TZ for about a week and a half. Currently I'm sitting in an internet cafe listening to I want it That Way by the backstreet boys typing my blog. I apologize in advance if this seems random and out of order but I pay by the half hour so I don't have a lot of time to think it out.
The good stuff you've been waiting to hear. You know how I've 'roughed' it during the past two summers without a/c and tv and even furniture? Well i live better here than i did in my apartments. i arrived at my host family yesterday and have my own room with a bed, indoor choo (toilet) that is western style and flushes! boy i am spolied. i have two sisters that i've met Sabina and Agnes (Agnie) who will leave soon because they are on holiday from school right now. There's a house girl, cousin, and baba wango (my dad's) sister staying in the house at the moment but they will leave.
My kiswahili teacher is Rehema and I have 4 other people in my group (Educare in Kihonda, Morogoro). Before I arrived to Kihonda I stayed in CTT and went to the market the first time and bought a kanga. I still have to have it tailored but use it as a towel/wrap at the moment. It's blue and yellow and says "brotherhood/sisterhood is our treasure" in kiswahili. The market was insanely busy with the women working and men sitting around. the streets were crowded, daladalas whizzing by with pikipiki (motorcyles) on the side walk. the oddest thing was when a westerner said hello to me in english instead of being stared at and called a muzungu (white person).
My baba is a math professor at Dar or somewhere I forget and my mama is a human resource worker of some type. Agnes likes science and is form 5 hoping to be a doctor (surgeon I believe)..she's 18 and on holiday.
Today was also my first day of school at Educare. It was ok. We did class and chai and lunch and then took a safari around the town. Hence how I found out I live around the corner from the internet cafe=bonus for you. Oh and my title: oranges are green here as well as lemons but they are good. the melons are round like a basketball and every plant is smaller. Will my neighbor has banana trees in his yard and the mangoes will be ripe in Decemba.
The house girl laughs at me every time I say something in Kiswahili so I just laugh with her. I got to see how she grinds up peanuts yesterday. Dad--my baba has 2 cell phones and I think they have 3 cars as well as roosters and chickens and a dog that has no name.
the sidewalks are made of sand and streets are a dusty red. There are mountains surrounding me as well as beautiful vegetation. I was told by my baba on how not to get malaria and the importance of not getting it. I also eat with my hands more now and have to stop using my left hand.
I don't know much else, but will try to write real letters soon once I figure out the posta.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


For all who are wondering I made it to the TZ (after 30hrs of travelling from Philly to NYC over MA and Boston, England, Paris, Zurich, the alps, Egypt (yes I was thinking of you Kristy), a stop in Kenya and in Dar). We got in at night so my first impression was that it was dark. There were a few weddings and send off parties when I arrived. I'm staying in a christian center that is like a hostel. I have my own room and shower!
It seems like all I do here is eat and sit. I've eaten fried bananas, bread, muffin, champati (like injera), chiken, beef (yes JulieAnne beef, but I passed on the chicken liver--only because I knew it was an organ), fish, sweet potatoes, veggies, and chai. I get a soda today.
We've been doing trainings and meetings, learning Kiswahili and getting laughed at when I try but it's cool. The weather (to fulfill the old person conversation) is supposedly cool with humidity (~80 not sure but it feels like IN) and it rains when it's sunny like IN and maybe only on one side of the compound.

For background of the program: Pres. Kikiwete of TZ was the first (and current president) that met Pres. Obama and the first thing he said to him was can you send TZ more Peace Corps Volunteers? (Like 400 --we currently have 131 serving). also TZ was the first PC program ever (it's a controversy though with Ghana). Apparently they put the selection process for volunteers to be rigorous here and if we don't meet their qualifications we can't come. So I am honored to be here (said to be the best place they send volunteers). The people are friendly and welcoming and the staff is awesome.
I also determined that my Microbiology major is a bunch of witch craft because if you can't see it and do not suffer from the illness that you are dealing with witch craft which I thought was amusing, but see their point of view.
I'll try to post pictures later. I also had another post written with more details and such so if you want to know more I'll tell you later.

Kwa Heri