Archive for August, 2009

Skirt Spinning and the first week of school!

Well…. Where shall I start? Everything about this adventure thus far has been so new, so overwhelming and yet wonderful at the same time!
This week we completed the first week of school. I felt a bit shaky teaching at first but quickly got back into the swing of things. My students all seem great, a bit talkative but I can handle that. I am excited to be teaching again and eager to see what God has in store for me and my class this year. Every week we have an assembly, at the beginning everyone sings the Tanzanian national anthem. I am not sure why but it gave me the chills hearing it. I just think it is so cool that kids from sooo many different countries come to this school and how unified it is in purpose!
Our house is pretty good besides the waterfall of a leak coming outside of the house every time we turn the water heater on. Hopefully this will get fixed soon because literally our entire bathroom floor is completely soaked underneath the tile. Not so good. Other than that we are liking it a lot and it is beginning to feel like a home.
On Thursday we took some time to go to the beach. We are going to try to make this at least a weekly habit. Up until this point in time we had been walking, getting a ride from our friends or taking a pagoge everywhere but this day we decided to finally take the Daladala (Bus). This is not exactly what you picture when you picture a bus. It is more like a VW Bus with as many seats as possible shoved in it. They drive around town honking at everyone seeing if they need a ride. Everyone packs onto them like sardines. For our first ride we had the pleasure of sitting next to a woman who had been fishing all day. She had two large buckets of dead fish. Needless to say it was not the best smelling ride but it was cheap! I think we will be using the daladalas more but I am a little nervous about them still.
Ramadan has started this past week and with the presence of many Muslims there are lots of celebrations in the evenings. Our friends, who have taken us under their wings, invited us to a special Ramadan dinner at a place called Moveinpick. Here they put on a huge buffet spread every night of Ramadan after the sun goes down. The food was incredible roasted lamb, hummus, tabbouleh, salads of all kinds, beef mishkaki (shishkababs), and an amazing assortment of deserts. The place was decorated super fancy too! Like an Egyptian palace with cloth tents and mats with pillows to lay on. The entertainment was great as well. It began with some traditional African drummers and dancers. Followed by an Egyptian guitarist. Followed by some African acrobats who do all kids of crazy tricks with no trapeze or equipment just their bodies. Pretty impressive. Ending with an Egyptian Skirt Spinner. He began spinning with these plate like items. spinning and spinning and spinning. Making all kinds of shapes and patterns with them. I got dizzy within the first few minutes. We were all impressed at that point but then he light up his skirt with blue Christmas lights and started spinning it around. He looked like a human top. He did all sorts of tricks and eventually even gave us all a chance to try it for ourselves. None of us lasted very long but it sure was a unique experience. I guess they originated from the ancient warriors who would pray to Allah about war. They would work themselves into a frenzy while praying and would start spinning. They would spin for hours as a form of prayer. I don’t know about you but I like to keep my feet pretty planted or at least moving in a forward motion while praying. The whole thing was quite the experience. I am so grateful we were invited to join the fun.
Then we celebrated Zoe and Caleb’s 12 b-day with a Carnival style party. Complete with ring toss, balloon darts, face painting, and Austin as the Make me Laugh guy. Lots and lots of fun! It amazes me that that my friend Dyan is so on top of it that she had things sent from America months and months ago so that they could have such a fun birthday. They don’t have balloons, or streamers, or silly little dollar store prizes here.
Well as you can see things are good here. Please keep praying for my health. Still not 100% well. Thank you. Thank you! Miss you all!

We Arrived!

Ok. We’re here safe! This is the official, and a bit tardy, post about us making it safely to Tanzania.
We arrived in Dar a week ago Thursday morning at 7AM local time here. After a quick swine flu form and some mix up with the visa process, we found all our bags and went outside to find our friend Steve waiting for us.

It was now 8AM and a perfect time to drive right through Dar es Salaam, the biggest city in Tanzania, to get to their house. Yeah right. Traffic is quite an adventure here. Fast and reckless LA driving is nothing compared to the skilled and often very brave driving tactics here. Let’s say we’re perfectly ok not having our own car to drive around at the time being. So it was a nice fun drive back to their house to see the rest of the family and have a bite to eat.

We arrived at their wonderful house to the open arms of Dyan (Steve’s wife) and their 4 awesome kids Tesfaye, Zoe, Caleb and Epiphany! We spent the next 5 days with them. They toured us around Dar and showed us how to get and do many things. It’s definitely quite different than many places we’ve been, but very fun to learn too. Their generous and loving hospitality was and still is super fantastic to have and rely on. We’re very lucky to have such awesome friends in Jesus here to welcome us as family.

Now we’re beginning to settle into our house after some days. We have some groceries, learned how to buy ourselves some power, are adjusting to turning the water pump on and off and finding ways to live with the ants just not as many of them hopefully. We’ve finished a whole week at school orientation, learning a great many things and finding lots of ways to appreciate HOPAC school. Amy will be teaching 5th Grade starting next Monday! I have already begun helping with some IT stuff. The school year should be lots of fun. We’ll update more on that next time. For now, here are a few pictures from the arrival last week. Enjoy!

There is us arriving, outside the airport in Dar
Some pictures of our house
First ride in a Pajoge (probably not spelled right), but a great form of transportation!
Our friends Steve and Dyan and us on the beach
Us next to a nice Baobob tree on Hopac campus
Amy’s Classroom!