Monday, January 30, 2006

Mambo rafiki! how's life on the other side of the world going?? Life here is nzuri sana! (very good). I'm trying to take my kiswahili lessons more seriously this day, as I have been enjoying the ufukwe and the bia too much. but the mahji is so nice and after the joto weather, and it's always good times enjoying bia baridi.
This past weekendi my group went to bagamoyo, which was very cool. We stayed in a sweet resort with lots of palm trees that was right on the ocean. The water wasn't great for swimming, too shallow, but when the tide was out, you could walk all the way out to this reef and explore, there was some coral and a bunch of little fishes and other cool stuff. Our little area of water was sectioned off by two mangrove forests. For swimming there was a pool right in the hotel which was pretty sweet. Jasmine (my roommate/"dada"(sister)) and i were going to get up to watch the sunrise sunday but we somehow got locked in our room and had to pound on the door until someone came and opened it! All in all it was a pretty great weekend.
Besides that i haven't done too much, except sleep and eat a lot of delicious food. I haven't played soccer in ages, but i think i'm going to start up again soon. Another girl on the program, liz, plays soccer at St. Olaf, so maybe i'll kick around with her soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

i'm attempting to upload a photo, but i'm not sure it'll work. It's from last weekend at kipepeo beach which was pretty cool (see the below posts for more detail). I just wrote a long, hella boring post yesterday, so I won't say too much. We've been seeing a lot of monkey's and a baboon or two around campus, it's pretty cool. This coming weekend we are going to Bagomoyo beach, i can't wait! it'll be an overnight trip, so it should be pretty cool. Everything else is good, i'm enjoying the fresh squeezed mango juice daily which is by far the best juice i've ever had! Oh and chipati is amazing! Hope everyone is doing well. Enjoy the picture (if it works)!

Monday, January 23, 2006

I have now been in Tanzania for almost two weeks. So far everything has been really great. The weather, once you get used to it, is really nice. The heat can be intense but you get used to sweating constantly. So far my favorite part has definitely been the beaches, Kipepeo was great and next weekend our group is going to Bagamoyo beach which is supposed to be even more beautiful. We are staying overnight there and I believe we get to see some traditional dancing.
This past weekend a bunch of us went to a local restaurant/bar called Udasa. They put a big screen tv up outside and show movies and Africa Cup games. Quite a few other students go so it’s been a good way to meet some interesting people. Everyone is very friendly and comes up to talk. I try to use Kiswahili, but so far all I really know how to do is say hello and how are you which makes for limited conversation. But most people around the university speak fairly good English although most also think it is pretty funny to talk really fast so I have absolutely no idea what they are saying.
I am staying with the Kimambo family. They are all really nice, I am living with another student as well, named Jasmine from Colorado College. We have two host sisters, Sia who is 4 ½, Sarah who is 9, and Sam who is 15. Sia speaks no English whatsoever, and probably thinks Jasmine and I are pretty stupid considering we cannot understand even the simplest questions. But we are both starting to understand more and more. Sarah and Sam can both speak very good English and are a big help with our Kiswahili. We also have a live-in “house-girl” who is always around and takes care of the kids. She speaks no English either so sometimes it can be a bit challenging. The family also employs a driver named Elvis, he is very cool and laughs at me and Jasmine a lot because we always butcher our sentences when trying to talk to him. My host mama and baba are not around all that much, they work a lot and Dada (which means sister and is what we call the housegirl) takes care of the kids and the house. All in all it’s been really nice, good food, they gave us mosquito nets and a fan so our room is not quite so hot and we probably won’t get malaria.
Speaking of malaria, during orientation we were told that there is a real strong possibility that a good number of the group will get malaria. 80% of the last group got it, and it really isn’t that big a deal. People here get it all the time and don’t seem to really mind too much. You just gotta take your meds and you’ll be fine. That was really great to find out. But I guess it shouldn’t freak me out too much because they are very good at dealing with it.
That’s about all that’s going on here. I’m still working on putting some pictures up, but it’ll probably take some time. Most people on the trip have digital cameras so there’ll be a ton of pictures. We’re trying to put up them up on a website or something, so I’ll let you know when we figure it out. Hope everyone is doing well!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Well it's been quite a week here. We just finished up orientation, which was pretty sweet. We went to some truly amazing beaches, Kipepeo just yesterday and it was awesome. It was hot, but there was a nice breeze and huts to sit under which was great. The food was good and as usual very cheap (everything here is ridiculously cheap, lunch is usually 45 cents to a 1.50). Anyway all is good, hope you all are well! gotta run to dinner ...

Monday, January 16, 2006

I am currently sitting in the computer lab at the university of Dar es Salaam, it is a million degrees outside, luckily there is air conditioning and fans in here! We had our first kiswahili class this morning. I'll be having 4 hours of class a day for the next month, apparently it isn't that hard to learn... but we'll see. Tomorrow I move in with my host family, i don't know too much about them yet, i have met most of them though, there are three kids and the father is a lecturer at the university.
A couploe days ago we went to jangwani beach, a private beach which was amazing. of course i got a sunburn despite multiple layers of sunscreen, but it really isn't that bad. we're going back to the beach next saturday, i can't wait! Yesterday we went to the village museum, which has a bunch of examples of native houses and stuff. we got to see a native dance performance of a bunch of different tribes, it was very cool.
this afternoon we are going to Mwenge market, which is insanely busy, people sell everything you could ever possibly need, it is quite an experience. otherwise not too much is going on. the food so far has been great, the fruit especially, the weather has been hot but bearable, and the people have all been really nice. hope everyone is doing well, i'll try and put pictures up soon!