Thursday, September 29, 2011

Keeping busy...

I'm sitting on my bed in the middle of the afternoon savoring a small piece of my Hershey's Symphony bar and wondering if it will really be 9 more months before I taste solid chocolate again.  I figured I better stop lamenting over melted chocolate and catch up on my blog.

Where to begin?  Some things haven't changed - or have changed and then changed back again.  For example, within 24 hours of my last blog post I was informed we finally had running water; only to lose it again the next day.  The day we lost water again also happened to be the day I returned from a beautiful trip to Prison Island just off the coast of Stonetown.  We took a small dhow boat to the island, spent the day in the sun, ate lunch on the beach, got to pet the giant turtles...and then took the dhow back to town.  I spent pretty much the entire trip back trying to keep down my lunch.  Outcome = unsuccessful.  For the next 3 days I was sick in bed.  No food, very little water.  I couldn't keep much of anything down.  Being sick is bad enough, but being sick in a 3rd world country where clean bathrooms do not exist and laying on a cold bathroom floor is definitely NOT recommended is terrible.  Almost all of us on this adventure have been sick in one way or another.  We're all just hoping we are through the worst.

Aside from physical exhaustion, we are pretty much all mentally exhausted, too.  This portion of my fellowship is a pilot program and, well let's just say, if we were keeping score there have been more losses than wins.  Fortunately, while we all seem to lose our sanity from time to time, my friends and I have managed to try to find the humor in everything and we are surviving.  Classes are inconsistent and often not as beneficial as we would like.  Time is always a-wastin'.  The food is hard to adjust to.  Transportation is unreliable.  Homestays are not always easy to deal with.  And we seem to be lost more often than not.  Just finding a place where we can all crowd around a laptop and watch a football game is a challenge.  Personal space is a concept that is hardly understood and finding someone who will wash your underwear is pretty much unheard of.

Thankfully, last weekend I got to travel back up to Moshi to visit my friends up there.  I can't clearly convey how great it was to be back - and it wasn't just because the weather is so much better there!  I found myself taking time during the weekend just to enjoy the moment I was in.  On Friday I stood in the kitchen just staring out the window to the backyard.  In that moment of quiet I was reminded how much I do love Tanzania.  I think I'm just still in the process of learning to love all of it!  We didn't have running water in Moshi, our car broke down on the way from the airport in Arusha, and some other surprising problems came to light during my time there.  Despite everything, I loved every minute of my time in Moshi.  We went to the market, watched movies, played pool, went back to some of my old haunts, ate good food and slept in.  Plus, Saturday night I got to make dinner.  I taught Fatuma how to make the filling for chicken pot pie and then we dumped it over mashed potatoes.  It was just what I needed - a little comfort food (with a bottle of riesling)!

I told myself from the very beginning not to forget that the first 30 days are always the hardest.  Sometimes I still seem to forget.  The good news is that I'm almost to the 30 day mark and I've survived...maybe only by a shoestring, but I've survived.  It will only get better from here!

Dhow boats we took to Prison Island

Turtles on Prison/Changuu Island


  1. Becki,
    I look forward to your blog postings so much. It is a wonderful reminder to appreciate things like clean and running water, flush toilets, feeling safe walking in my neighborhood etc. But through your blog and pictures I get to experience a part of the world that I have never seen! Thank you for taking time to write! Thanks too for the wonderful, very special Masala Chai. It is so good and I think of you and pray for you, when I have a cup! What a special treat! And, ask your mom, Chai is my favorite! What a wonderful gift!
    Hope you have a wonderful visit with Will! I am sure you will have many laughs!!!!! Linda

  2. So glad you are feeling better, and Linda is right! We do take sooooooo much for granted. Praying for you always. The island looks beautiful! Keep the faith, and thank you for sharing your adventure. We will miss you this weekend at Grandmas party. Love and blessings.
    Aunt Pam