Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Lazy Sunday Afternoon

After a week in Arusha, I am back “home” in Moshi.  We arrived late Wednesday afternoon and pretty much crashed.  Now that I have gotten some much needed rest, I am so happy to be back here and to see Fatuma and Sumaya again.  While I can’t say that I miss the gigantic hot tub, western toilet or firm mattress from the hotel, my tiny little room here at the home base is a welcome site.  And seven days without Fatuma’s chai and chipati was about all that I could handle. 

Fatuma said it was too quiet while we were away.  She missed the laughter in the house.  We do tend to laugh quite a bit!  Margaret has left for her next adventure, Marianne is in Zanzibar for a week and Sumaya is in Arusha visiting her aunt for the weekend so it’s just me, Fatuma and Jasen in the house.  Between Fatuma’s laugh and mine we still manage to keep things loud around here though!

Yesterday, Fatuma and I went on the hunt for a couple of shower curtains to replace the mold-covered doors on the bathroom and shower stalls.  We went down to Memoria, a large - and by large, I mean gigantic - outdoor flea market of sorts in our neighborhood.  We went from stall to stall asking for a shower curtain.  Often we just got blank stares.  One woman even pretended to know what it was, but said she didn’t have one.  She got called out by the woman in the stall behind her who started teasing her, saying “You’re from the village.  You don’t even know what a shower curtain is!  Why would you say you do?!”  After what felt like a couple of hours or searching, we nearly gave up.  Thankfully, Fatuma finally found a woman who knew what a shower curtain was.  Not only did she know what a shower curtain was, she knew where to find one for us!  Now if we can just figure out a way to hang them…

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon here in Moshi.  After getting up at 6am and spending nearly 5 hours doing the laundry, Fatuma is laying down to take a nap.  Jasen went into town and I am sitting at the kitchen table, listening to Jason Mraz, and working on the new website for JustGoodSafaris.  I may be jinxing myself, but we’ve had power since last night and I even have a fan on in here to keep cool.  All in all, it’s shaping up to be a pretty good afternoon. 

While I'm keeping busy with the work for Jasen, I am also faced with so many people who need so little on a daily basis.  On Wednesday, Mama Jane shared with me that she and her husband James had purchased 4 acres of land on the side of Mt. Meru in Arusha.  They are praying that God will provide them with the money they need to build a new orphanage and school on the land.  They are currently renting and can only permanently house 11 children onsite.  The rest go off to distant relatives during the week and Jane invites them in on the weekends to make sure they are being fed and looked after.  With a new school, Jane could provide a Christian education to many children who otherwise would never have the chance to even attend school. Thursday, it was a young boy on the street selling bracelets he had made for just over a dollar.  He was kind and remembered me from my last trip here in January.  He told me he hadn't sold one bracelet that day and it was already 4pm.  Friday, I met a 6 year old boy with a high fever and severe stomach cramping named Abu, who has been sick for 3 years.  He needs a CT scan and a GI scope at KCMC, the large hospital here in Moshi, but his parents can't afford the 120,000 Tsh (about $80 USD) for the tests.  I met Margaret, Abu's school teacher, after learning about her from a 3 or 4 little girl walking home from school.  Fatuma and I went to visit her classroom and I watched her pray over little Abu.  Although his family is Muslim, he told his mother he was in so much pain he wanted to visit Teacher Margaret so that she could pray to her God for him, too.  Margaret rents the land her corregated metal school room is built on.  The local authorities are threatening to shut her down because the 60 students who attend classes with her barely fit inside the room she and some volunteers built.  She is praying for the $3500 she needs to buy a small plot of land in the neighborhood and another $5000 to build a proper school room.  Yesterday, Fatuma shared with my how sick her husband's mother is.  She has had gout for years, but they can't afford any medication.  Rajabu (Fatuma's husband) is barely making $3 a day, sometimes working 12-16 hours a day, driving a taxi in town.  Fatuma told me if I went to see where his family lives in the village I would not be able to stop crying.  She helps support them as much as she can and often brings food out for them to feed the family.  I can tell by the pain in her voice that she wishes she could do more.  So do I.

Tomorrow morning Jasen goes back to Arusha to start working with the kids at Good Hope, Ally’s orphanage.  I wish I had the time to go with, but I will stay back here in Moshi with Fatuma and continue working on the website, fliers and business plan.  There is a lot to get done and not enough time to do everything.  We have painters coming in tomorrow to repaint the inside of the house.  In the morning I am going with Fatuma to a Margaret's small school here in Soweto (my neighborhood) to observe her class and visit with Margaret.  She teaches 3-6 year olds, preparing them for primary school.  I’m really looking forward to our visit.  

Wishing all of you a fun and safe 4th of July weekend!  Jasen suggested we try to find some fireworks to have our own celebration here in Moshi - I told him I didn't want to be within 100 yards of any fireworks made in Africa!  Set some off for me back home...

1 comment:

  1. We set off a bunch of fireworks on the beach last night and I couldn't help think of you. Julia, Alana, Maria, Nana and Papa ran for cover when one flew the wrong way and I was reminded of the Full Moon/Eclipse experience you had over there.... I imagine the running was similar to that. I can't imagine lighting a firework from Africa and praying it doesn't blow off my arm... I think you were right to stay away.

    I think we can come up with some grand schemes for those 4 acres. Maybe I should come there so we can have a face to face conference. You bring your black notebook and I will bring the sticky notes.
    Miss you.