Archive for October, 2009

William’s Village

On Halloween, we went to went with some friends who are teachers at the school and some of the 12th graders, to a village 15 minutes north of town. Our two friends the teachers, Brandon and Amanda, have been working with this village for a couple of years now. One of the staff from the school, a great man named William, is a pastor and has been working to plant a church in the village. They have been helping him. They recently had a well installed and built a church there last year. So we went with them for their weekly trip to hang out with the local kids and play games and read books. There were about 40 kids there but they can get anywhere from 40 to 150 week to week. Many of the children were showing off their reading skills, or wanted to be read to, while others were playing soccer or learning how to dance from the 12 graders. Austin was building Lego mansions with the kids. They really seemed to enjoy that. They are fun and funny. It’s a good motivator to work on our Swahili.

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We may try to keep going back frequently and do whatever we can to help. It’s a rural area with very little resources and a primarily Muslim population. So, the independent bravery of William and support of Brandon and Amanda is a quiet, honest and beautiful act of worship.

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The children of the village learning how to dance from one of the students at HOPAC.


After International Day we had to head home and move our things to the house next door. The house we were in was great and had some breathtaking views of the ocean but the price had been raised and we just could not justify staying there any longer. This worked out great because another teacher from HOPAC had been living in the house next door alone, waiting for a teacher who is supposed to come but may not even be coming anymore. This opened up the door for us all to live together. Although, we will miss a few things about our old house, we are super excited to get to know Kate, the chemistry teacher/swim coach/worship leader, even better. It is amazing how much stuff we have here but we were able to move it and get it all settled quite quickly. Now I think we might actually be able to feel settled in Dar es Salaam.

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Our new roomate Kate

International Day

Every year HOPAC has a day set aside to celebrate the students and all of the nationalities they represent. The day really is a huge festival and such a special day to be a part of.

This year HOPAC has students from 37 different countries. Pretty amazing considering there are only about 300 kids in the whole school.

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Amy's Fifth Grade Class on International Day

To begin everyone sits in the gym according to continent. The students come dressed in their traditional clothing. The gym was filled with students in beautiful Indian garments, Spanish dresses, fancy congas from al over Africa, Alaskan cuspics and so much more!  The students and families were all so proud to be the representatives of their nations. The first event is the Parade of Nations. This is when you and the other nationals with you parade around the gym while your national anthem is played. This gave me the chills! It was so powerful seeing so many nations represented proudly, much like World Youth Days does.

Afterwards is a time to cruise around the classrooms where parents have volunteered to set up booths for their countries and provide food from the country.  This was fascinating because we got to learn so much about the countries in such a short amount of time and try some food that we would not otherwise ever have. My favorites were the meat from Korea, the spinach pies from Lebanon and the homemade yogurt from Greece.


After the children and parents were filled with goodies, we headed back to the gym for performance time. We saw traditional Indian dancing, heard melodious Irish songs, watched an Australian drama, saw a Punch and Judy puppet show (apparently a classic in the UK), and saw some astonishing Korean drumming.  It even gave Austin the chills! So COOL! Austin and another teacher cooked up a song and dance for the good ole USA. I would not say it was astonishing in the same way as the Korean drums but it was a highlight for sure. They put together a dance to the Miley Cyrus song, Party in the USA, and wore some awesome costumes. They even had Miley Cyrus herself make a guest appearance. It was a crowd pleaser to say the least.


Austin Being flipped over during the performance.



Austin Rockin Out to Miley Cyrus

After it was all over, it really made me appreciate how truly diverse HOPAC is and so proud to be apart of it all.

Happy Anniversary in Zanzibar!

It has officially been one year since Austin and I said I do. I am seriously in shock that the time has passed by so quickly! Who knew that a year from our day of marriage that we would be in Tanzania?

For the weekend we decided to head to Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania. It is just a 20 min flight of 2 hour boat ride.  We took a plane to maximize our short weekend there but next time I think I will opt for the ferry option. The planes that you take there are the little puddle jumpers that seem as if they could be swept away by the wind at any moment while you are in the air. AHHHH! Nerve-racking to say the least.

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Sunset In Zanzibar

When we arrived we took a short taxi ride from the Zanizibar International Airport to the Mtoni Marine, our hotel. Even during this short drive you could instantly tell that we were in a different culture. The town has a different feel. The island is 99 percent Muslim and it is easy to tell that from the second you get off the plane. Men wear their traditional headpiece while women are completely covered. The majority of them covering everything except the eyes. This is something that I still have a hard time understanding and that is hard to even be in the presence of because of the freedoms that I have known my entire life.

The Mtoni Marine a small hotel that is on the coast. It is very peaceful and has great views of the sunset. We has dinner there on our first night by the pool which is an enormous pool that leads right up to the ocean.

The next morning, we were considering  a spice tour but because of the rain that was ruled out. So we went to Stone Town, the downtown district of the city if you will. When we arrived we were greeted by the fish market. This fish market was unlike any other I had seen! There were swordfish that had to be 250 lbs that they had just pulled in a were chopping up and auctioning off. Tons of different types of fish that were huge being bought on the spot. It was fascinating to me. It made me wonder why they don’t have awesome sushi restaurants in Zanzibar or in Dar es Salaam.

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Look at the size of the fish in that basket!

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Amy and a large stingray about to be chopped up and auctioned off.

After my fascination with the fish wore off we began to walk around. The streets narrow and pretty much only for walking, although you do see the occasional motorcycle or bicycle traffic. They are lined with markets and vendors that are selling all types of goods. From oils, to wooden chests, to Masai jewelry, to the famous Zanizibar spices, they have it all. They also have tons of antique shops and awesome decoration pieces that you would be paying an arm and a leg for in the States. Mostly I just enjoyed walking around, watching the people and experiencing the Zanzibar culture. People there are very friendly ad helpful but they can be a bit pushy when they want you to buy something. We bought a few things had some lunch and headed back to the hotel. Still pouring outside.

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One of the many doors of Zanzibar

The next day we went back to Stone Town where we were able to check out some other shops and historical sights but while we were walking we heard singing from a church. It sounded so beautiful so we decided to follow it. The singing lead us to St. Monica’s an Anglican church. Unfortunately we just missed the service but we were able to spend some time at church on a Sunday. I really enjoyed seeing a church among the overwhelming population of Muslims.  It was so uplifting!

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St. Monica's

After more time in Stone Town and a bit of time just relaxing by the ocean we hopped on the plane ride back.

It was great being able to celebrate 1 year in such a foreign culture. I am so blessed to have such an amazing husband and I am so thankful for all the year has brought.

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Assembly Time

At Hopac each class puts on an assembly one a term for all three terms. It is great to see all of the students want to get up front and present something about what they have been learning to their peers. Well this week my class has been preparing for our very first assembly as fifth graders. Many times the teacher will chose what to do for them, they read a script and sing a few songs and that is that however, I could not come up with anything super fun so I decided to let the kids run the show. So I did. They decided to do an assembly about How Great God Is, which is what we have been learning about in Bible class, and then tie it into all of the different things that we have been learning. They worked so hard, making posters, typing up scripts, making props and doing all of the work needed to make their assembly great. We had a group who created a skit about the human body, one about the history of flight, one that made a short play on the book we read Bridge to Terabitha and one that wrote a song and dance. It was really very creative and they had so much fun. I love that they really felt confident and that they were having fun. After the assembly we had a class party where we played games like amazon women, pass the orange and name that tune which was a great chance for them to bond and to just be kids. I am so proud of them for what they did and excited to see what they cook up for the next assembly.

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Singing a song at the assembly.

Pimp My Dalla Dalla

So it all began with Pimp My Ride, then in Germany I saw Pimp My Bicycle, before you know it there will be Pimp My Dalla Dalla. For those of you who think I am speaking another language right now, to pimp out something means to take something that is pretty beat up and to make it super sweet with an awesome paint job, unnecessary accessories and whatever else you can think of to make it say WOW!

This is a picture of the average Dalla Dalla, or bus here in Tanzania.

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They are pretty ghetto. Definitely not kept up with by a mechanic and usually have a very strong stench on the inside. They consist of a very beat up shell with just the metal sheeting, about 22 seats on the inside (no seatbelts of course), a painted sign on the outside telling where it goes to and from and how much it costs, a driver, and a money man who tries to get more business by calling out where they are going and filling the Dalla Dalla to capacity, (about 30 people when you include those that are standing.) Most of the time there is so music or at least talk radio going. The ride in general is very plain and not many of them put any effort into spicing up the ride.

However, yesterday Austin and I got to go in the most PIMPED out Dalla Dalla we have yet to see. As you enter the roof is covered in vinyl in a checker board pattern, a nice chocolate brown and tan color combo. On the inside there is a nice roll bar on the sides to protect the passengers from any harm. The driver and money man were busting some hit American Jams like Avril Levigne’s Complicated and the classic Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. Hanging from the rearview mirror was a CD, Bob Marley, Legend to be exact which acted more like a disco ball in the hot sun. You could almost feel the party about to start in this thing! But wait there’s more…….. THREE FLAT SCREEN TV’s inside this small VW bus. Okay they weren’t working when we were on but we figured they save those for the real party at night.

 Unfortunately we do not have a picture of this because I did not have my camera! Lame! You will just have to imagine or come visit us and we can go on a hunt for the most Pimped out Dalla Dalla in all of Dar! Unfortunately we do not have a picture of this because I did not have my camera! Lame! You will just have to imagine or come visit us and we can go on a hunt for the most Pimped out Dalla Dalla in all of Dar!

I left my heart in Moshi Town

For our final night in the Arusha area we stayed in a a small town called Moshi. It is the town at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro that houses most of the tourism for Kili. This town is super cute! It is very small but not so small that there is nothing, just a few streets that run through it. Lined with beautiful Jackaranda’s, trees that have beautiful purple blossoms, a main street that reminds me of Williams, Arizona and its main drag with historic looking buildings and a quaint feel to it, really make it seem so welcoming. The weather while we were there was perfect. It really made me want to climb Kilimanjaro and to live there for a while. Hopefully we will get a chance to visit Moshi again.