Friday, February 24, 2006

Okay, there are more photos from Zanzibar. THere are finally some pictures of monkeys, not the ones i see everday, but red colobus ones. There are also some pictures from the spice tour, jangwani forest, and nungwi beach. Enjoy! oh and one of my host-sisters for the tongue wall.

Zanzibar 2

Nothing else is going on here. I am completely over my malaria, and feel fine (well except that i still sweat excessively, like today when I walked home and pretty much sweated through my shirt! but that's normal here). This weekend I plan on goinig to church with my host family, maybe i'll thank the pastor for his prayers which seemed to do the trick with the malaria thing. Anyway, hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

This picture is from Nunwi at Zanzibar, beautiful!

So everyone has been asking about my malaria symptoms and stuff like that. It really isn't that interesting. The symptoms may actually be confused with culture shock(excessive weeping fits, compulsive eatiing, under eating, depression, withdrawl, fatigue, stereotyping host family, etc.) But i was also vomiting so i guess it wasn't culture shock! I puked a bunch, went to the hospital, got misdiagnosed, went home, puked again until my host-mama sent me with elvis to her hospital where I got another test. The test consists of the nurse pricking your finger and then smearing a bit of blood on a glass slide. Then the doctor looks at the slide and determines if you have malaria or not. Although apparently doctors who don't see mzungu much sometimes misdiagnose, oh well. He seemed nice enough, although he kept thinking I meant diaria whenever i said "throw-up", i guess he didn't know what tat meant. Luckily he did know vomiting, especially when combined with the puking motion. Anyway, all I have to do is take a pill every night for six nights, not too bad. I think I'll start wearing more bug spray though. The best part of it all was at home, my host-mother was really great, and her priest came to help us all pray to get over our sicknesses (she was sick too). So he very kindly prayed over me (that is he put his hand on my shouluder and yelled stuff in swahili and english such as "in god's name!" and "JESUS CHRIST", it was hard not to laugh). But it obviously worked!
TOnight Jasmine, Liz and i made homemade pizzas which were amazing! homemade crust and everything. It really hit the spot, I've been craving pizza lately, or anything besides rice beans, chicken and peas. Classes are fine still, this weekend a couple of us might go to Kipepeo beach, should be fun. Anyway I gotta run~

Monday, February 20, 2006

Well, after waiting for an hour and a half, my blog finally loaded. So I already sent an group email(or two) to most people who read this(if anyone actually does!). Anyway the biggest news is that I got malaria last week. Not that great of an experience but not as bad as i thought it would be. Although it's been a bit confusing considering I got two tests, the first one negative and the second one saying I had three parasites (I don't really know what that means!). Despite malaria on Thursday, i managed to make it to Zanzibar again this past weekend. This time i went with my entire group and we did a historical tour of stone town and went to a couple museums and churches and stuff. It was pretty cool. Then on Saturday we went on a spice tour, a guide took us through a spice farm. We got to see where a bunch of things come from, and try a lot of the plants while out on the farm. In the middle we got to sit and drink lemon grass tea with vanilla (delicious) and eat fresh fruit (mango, avocado, jack fruit, pineapple, and a couple different kinds of oranges). It was much cooler than I thought it would be. And of course it was absolutely beautiful (just like everything else here). We also saw a guy climb a coconut tree with just a bit of rope around his feet, it looked ridiculously hard, and he had absolutely no problem with it.
In the afternoon, we went to Jozani forest to look at monkeys, mangroves, and the forest. They were colobus monkeys and a lot of fun to watch, and I took way too many pictures of them. They were extremely close to us, in fact a couple of them jumped on one of the little kids with us. the mangroves were cool, but not as exciting as the monkeys. Although it was fun climbing on them, they look small, but they are pretty strong. The forest was beautiful. we didn't see many animals, but the it was nice walking through and seeing all the different trees and plants. The guide also explained which plants could be used for different sickenesses and stuff. Most of them seemed to be used to fight witchcraft, as natural viagra, or asthma.
Then we headed up to nungwi beach to the best beach i have seen so far. The whole north coast is owned by really fancy hotels, and the program here paide for the group to stay at a pretty nice place. The water was pretty much perfect, fairly cool, with no seaweed and very little rock. There were beach chairs and palm umbrellas and stuff. There were even small waves and stuff. In the evening, we had a huge, delicious dinner and watched traditional dancing. I am still amazed watching how the men and women can move their hips, it's real crazy. I'll try and learn so when I come back I can rip up the dance floor. After dinner, we chilled on the beach and saw a bunch of shooting stars. We spent the next morning swimming and playing around, I wish we could have stayed longer, it was perfect.
All in all, it was yet another amazing weekend, and it made going to class this morning extremely difficult. Luckily there are only 5 more weeks of class left, so I think i can handle it!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

well not too much to update since last time. I'm going back to Zanzibar this weekend, should be fun, we get to go on a spice tour and stay in some swank hotel. Should be a good time, maybe I'll even be able to see Rachel around, although she has been pretty busy.
Classes started this week, and so far they are pretty basic. Just basic stuff so far and i still have swahili for a couple hours every morning. It's going okay, but getting a bit harder now that we are beyond the basics. I really should practice more, but I still have some trouble with basic sentences and such. I'm hoping the classes will get more interesting, and that the professors will be easier to understand as time goes on! I sit in the back next to the air conditioner which makes it a bit difficult paying attention.
It has started raining a bit which is good, it'll poor for about 10 minutes and then clear up and get really humid and sticky (not so good), but if it means no more power outages and water shortages then I think I can handle it! Right now there are rolling power outages, so every other day there is not power in the evenings. It doesn't disrupt life all that much, people here seem pretty used to it. Anyway I'm going to try and post some pictures from the time i've been here, hope it works!
Here's the link

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Up until now I was able to avoid getting sunburned, but this past weekend I got a nice painful sunburn. Hopefully it'll turn into a tan or something, maybe even out my farmers tan which has gotten pretty bad. I don't really ever wear shorts, and never tank tops, and thanks to my program I only wear a one piece bathing suit, which means I often look like i'm still in Minnesota. But I have only been here a month, so maybe as time goes on, and if I keep getting to the beach I'll finally look like I actually am from California.
Anyway, I am actually writing this from Zanzibar which is pretty much amazing. A bunch of people from my group decided to get over here because of a music festival, called Sauti Za Busara (sounds of wisdom), it's a swahili music festival, and a "celebration of all things swahili". So every night they have live music in an old fort from about 4 to midnight. It was pretty cool, a lot of traditional stuff, dancing, Taarab, etc. and some Bongo Flava (which is what they call hip-hop here). We arrived on Friday afternoon, and bummed around for a few hours. It is impossible to walk around without getting lost. The streets are ridiculously narrow, and the buildings are pretty tall so it is impossible to see anything when you are walking. But the streets are pretty cool too, if you don't mind almost being run over by mopeds and bicycles every few seconds. The buildings are all very old, and many have these elaborate doors which are pretty cool. It's not a very big place, all in all, and there are a bunch of tourists! I haven't seen this many white people in one place since I've been here! I don't know if this is normal or because of the music festival, but it's a big change from the University. we went to the Africa House hotel to get some drinks and sit on the rooftop waterfront patio thing, which was real cool. Again, very touristy, but beautiful. I t is so easy to just sit around for hours and not do anythign and not feel guilty about it!
In the evening we ate on the waterfront, a bunch of people set up these tables with fresh (hopefully!) fish, and meat and chapati and naan, which they cook up right in front of you. It was real good and cheap too. Then we went off to the festival, where the highlight was this 93 yearold woman named Bi Kidude and her group. She and her group played some bongos and drums and stuff, and it was really cool. She is extremeley talented, there is supposed to be a documentary coming out about her soon and she won soem award called the WOMEX or seomthing. I don't know, but she was cool, Robby... you would have loved it especially i think. Durnig her performance a group of women performed some traditional dances which was fun to watch. I don't know how they manage to move like they do, they manage to only move the butts, and it's crazy to watch. these women are older, 30's and 40's, and usually pretty big, but they manage to shake it pretty well!
On Saturday, we went snorkeling all day (which led to my wonderful sunburn). It was pretty cool, we rented a boat bought some fruit and a guide took us to a couple different islands with coral reefs and we swam around for a while. The water was great except for the thousands of tiny jellyfish that stung us every few seconds. Every once in a while i would swim into the middle of a bunch of them because they were imposibble to see, and it was like a bunch of needle pricks. But the fish were cool, I like teh starfish the best. But we were out there for like 6 hours, and their was no shade whatsoever! so despite reapplying sunscreen after every swim, we all got real bad burns. It was seriously picturesque though, there were dhow's all around and the water was so clear and pretty, and a bunch of islands all aroud with big white sand beaches, amazing.
Saturday evening we went back to the music festival, which had a buit more Bongo Flava which was kinda fun. Then today we bought our ferry tickets home and are about to leave! All in all it was a great weekend, and if you ever get a chance you should come to Zanzibar! Next weekend our whole group is cmoing here, which means everything gets paid for and we'll stay in a pretty nice hotel! should be sweet!
THis coming week my poli sci. and sociology class start, it kind of feels like the end of summer, oh well. ONly a month of class!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Here is a picture a friend took at Kipepeo beach. Some of my friends here have uploaded photos to facebook if anyone wants to look at more (sorry tom, you're probably too old for that, well at least until you go back to school!).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

An example of what we do every weekend. Hopefully this next weekend this will be done on Zanzibar where there is a music festival going on, but that might not happen. NOt too much new here, still enjoying the monkey watching and stuff. Went to a club the other day and we all were a bit upset because a beer was about $1.60 which is real expensive here. the prices are so ridiculous! today i spent 45 cents on lunch! i can eat so much food here, it's amazing. the club wasn't anything amazing, a lot of bongo flava, and hip/hop pop music and stupid stuff. It was also a pain in the ass getting back home. Taking taxi's at night is apparently real dangerous, and they often try and take you to the wrong place to rob you or make you pay too much money, not a lot of fun when you can't understand the driver and don't really know the direction you're supposed to be going in. luckily we had a tanzanian with us and he could take care of it all. Also, not fun stuffing five or 6 people into those cabs.
Did i mention that that there is a musial artist here named 50 dollar as well as Master V and Zay B? their videos are played all the time, and they are pretty damn funny. The music videos here look like somebody just set up a video camera and started dancing in front of it. They usually involve a guy (who is usually real real skinny, and about 15) rapping with girls standing in the background moving their hips. Not all that exciting.
This thursday a bunch of us might go to the U.S. embassy where the marines stationed there (all 9 of them) host "thirsty thursday" where they show movies and serve hot dogs and popcorn. I'm hoping they'll have actual ketchup instead of just tomato sauce! We've all debated if we really want to go hang out with marines, and we decided hotdogs and free drinks outweighted dumbass military guys, we'll see how that works out!

This was taken in bagamoyo at our hotel, pretty sweet location! From the left, it's Sander, Scott, Me and Jasmine.

This is a picture of me and my host dada (sisters) in my room, Sarah in the back with me and Sia in front.