Friday, July 16, 2010

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

I knew that posting every day wasn't going to happen, but that doesn't stop tons of things from happening and me forgetting all of them. I'll do my best to remember though. Every moment of every day is just a complete bombardment of sights, sounds, and smells that it can be completely overwhelming. Pictures just don't do this place justice, so in order to capture a moment, you need both the visual of a picture and the anecdotal description of the moment itself.

The Zawose family is a perfect example of this. We all hopped in the CCS dalla dallas and went to this compound to watch this family perform, and boy did they perform. They make all of their own instruments including drums which I bought one of. I did take video of them dancing, singing and playing their instruments, so eventually when I get home or if I am sitting in an airport with internet I will post it for you. It was amazing, and I just couldn't wipe the smile from my face. We sat on straw mats surrounded by children, dogs, and chickens. It was quite a sight! What struck me the most though was they everyone was so happy. They truly loved what they were doing. The women drumming with a giant drum between their legs, singing and dancing at the same time was pretty spectacular too. After the show, we had some chai and nuts, a tour of where they make their instruments, and we were back home in time for dinner.


Thursday morning I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do at my placement in the morning. All I kept hearing about though was this flash drive that they had to find and a brochure I had to make. Everything here is a bit vague, and I never really know quite what is going on. The phrase 'just go with it' has never been more useful.

Did I mention that I walk on my own to my placement saying "mambo," "shikamoo," and "jambo" to everyone I pass. The people here are super friendly, so everyone talks to you, especially the kids. They call white people "mzungu" and they will just yell at you from across the street. When you turn to look at them and wave, you see a group of smiling faces waving at you. I feel like a celebrity. I think I will be very sad to go home and not have anyone care that I am walking down the street. Although at TAESIS I am a bit of a celeb.

So it was a good thing I brought my laptop with me because I ended up giving a computer lesson. Picture this: a very small room with a dusty concrete floor, two long benches, a sewing bench for a desk, me in the middle with 4 people crowded around me learing how to use a computer for the first time. It was an amazing feeling to be able to teach a skill that I have known for a very long time. I had to step back and just appreciate the moment. That was what learning was all about. At the end of the session, we found the flash drive, and I now have the brochure to work on. Most of it is finished, but I will try to put some finishing touches on it. I also found a grant opportunity through another volunteer here, so I will be working on that in my spare time. Although I haven't had much of that lately. Just as I thought it was a great day, my fainting friend from the other day fainted again. This, of course, ended class. I am really worried about her and keep trying to plot how to get her to the hospital. Maybe that can be a small goal for me to work on while I'm here.

On my walk home, I ran into an interesting character carrying a mechete. Yes, I do mean the very large knife/sword type of instrument used to cut various things. Funny, if someone was doing that at home he would be arrested. Here, he was a very nice guy who I talked to for at least 5 minutes. T.I.A. I wasn't worried at all, but I just kept thinking about how rediculous it was. 

Because it was the first Thursday of my trip, it is sports and games day. This gave me a bit of anxiety because I am not much of a sportsman. Luckily there were a couple others who agreed with me, so we sat under a huge tree and chatted while the group and staff played a rousing game of football (soccer). Next came the chasing of the chicken. Apparently when the staff drove the van over they also brought a chicken in a box. The prize went to Ben though for being able to outsmart our feathered friend. There was also tug of war and a dancing circle to get to know each other better. It was so much fun singing and dancing with the staff and some local kids who tagged along. After a much needed cold shower (all the showers are cold), we were all off to a huge dinner at Hillside. The food was awesome. I even tried to eat goat, but I didn't get a good piece and couldn't get through the fat. Oh well, maybe next time. While I left Hillside fairly early, I ended up having quite a long conversation with Sheila. Then off to bed to get some sleep before another busy day.


In an effort to catch up, I am not being as detailed as I should. I am totally exhaused right now after being here for almost a full week. Placement this morning was really good. I am getting great satisfaction from being able to teach adults. They are just so eager to learn everything I have to say. They even asked me for homework over the weekend so they could practice and be ready for their lesson on Monday. I couldn't believe it.

After my walk home, some popcorn (daily afternoon snack), and a bit of conversation, I worked on making my clock. Today I learned that the concept of time is very different, so in an effort to explain things a bit better I had to fashion a clock out of some construction paper and a brass fastener. It is hideous, but it will do the job on Monday.

After lunch, I finally got to go to the beach. It has been so close all week, but I finally walked on the sand. It is absolutely beautiful. Over near the old German fort and the fish market, there are boats everywhere. The tide was out, so they were just kind of leaning in the sand. Brooke and I took a long walk all over the place and got to see the Millenium Hotel which is pretty posh and right on the water. That's where the white people go. As we walk around, we are now suprised when we see other white people. Too funny!

As tired as I am, I am excited because there is a huge music festival here this weekend and it starts tonight. More on that to come...