Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Traditional Healer and then some

I am very sorry that I have not posted in about a week seeing as how it is now Tuesday the 27 (my birthday!) and I went to see the healer last Tuesday. Time really is flying. Let me backtrack.

The healer was not as exciting as I hoped he would be. We had to sit in a hot hut on hard benches or at least an hour while Zik translated while an old man fell asleep in a chair. Highlights of the talk included lots of powders that cured all sorts of ailments that I have never heard of. Apparently they just wander into the forest and find some plants and bark to grind up. One of those snazzy powders can cure 150 different things. Amazing. Not really. What I did enjoy though was the part about the witchdoctor putting or taking hexes off of people. When I told Douglas at placement where I had gone he just laughed and told me it was all fake and they they just do it for money. Oh well no potions for me!

Wednesday July 21st:

Today's English lesson went really well because I think I found a balence between what I want to do and what they are used to. We started with me using a map to describe location, and since they are totally fascinated by geography this went over very well. Then we spent some time with possessives which also went quite well considering it is grammar and I really dislike teaching grammar. Overall, it was a good couple of hours.

On the way home I saw several broken down trucks, but one was particularly funny because it was missing tires, up on blocks, and instead of cones or a hazard triangle or two to warn people, they were using branches with leaves to mark every couple of feet in front of and behind the truck. Also today in class we had a sheep vs. ship conversation. There is not much difference in sound for an English language learner then throw wool into the equation and we have massive confusion. But all was well because Lucas explained wool as what cows and goats have.

Today Douglas was also looking quite spiffy in shirt, tie, and pinstriped pants. This is not normal Tanzanian attire, but it turns out that he had to go to the land office to prove that he owned a piece of land because the government wanted to build something there. He needed to go trade his land for a new piece of land and pay the difference or something like that. The reason for the nice clothing was so he didn't have to wait in the office all day. Apparently it worked because he was back and really proud of himself before I left class. He explained corruption in the government and that you need to dress well in order to get welcomed into the office because they think you have money.

That night, I helped Robert and the chefs at CCS cook dinner. Of course I didn't do this by myself lots of other volunteers got in on the action too. We made chapati which was very time consuming but a lot of fun. I also peeled cucumbers which was also exciting. I opted not to peel the tomatoes with the knife for personal safety reasons.

Another side note, later that night while at Hillside there were bats in the hut type thing we were sitting under. Just another fun part of Baga.

Thursday July 22nd:

Placement went well with my computer lesson, and I got to leave early to work on some research. I wasn't very successful in finding other small handicraft groups around the world. I'm thinking that most of them don't have websites like that group I am currently working with, so if anyone knows of any groups I can network with that would be awesome.

After giving myself a guilt trip, I decided to skip my last Swahili lesson in order to do some things around town. My first stop was Ras'T's studio when I decided to commission a painting. He wasn't there, but Moyo was, so he will be working on my giant painting of a long list of things I wanted included. I even managed to get a twiga included :o) It's my new favorite animal. I then went over to Pili's shop at AMAP where I got my measurements taken so she could turn my Khanga's into a dress and a skirt that I can hopefully wear when I get home. I also found out the meanings of these lovely phrases. The red and black one means "live good to be good," and the purple one is something along the lines of "your work is going unnoticed." Being a teacher I know that phrase very well. They seemed to fit nicely. All of that should be done in about a week.

All of that was exhausting so Amber, Sheila, and I decided that it was time for a beverage so we headed to the New Millenium by the fish market. After going home and having a very enjoyable and actually somewhat warm shower we had a carb loaded dinner and it was off to Hillside for a show. The full Zawose family was performing. Apparently we just saw a few of them the week before. They definitely didn't disappoint. They were in full Khanga even the Obama one made an appearance. They love Obama here it is just too funny. Throughout the show they pulled us all up to dance. I ended up hopping around stage with a chubby kid for quite a while in an effort to keep my shoes on. I did manage to keep my shoes on, but I looked crazy (chizi) doing it. It ended up being a lot of fun, but I was pretty exhausted.