Archive for November, 2009

Swimming with William’s Village

Once again we had the opportunity to help our friends Brandon and Amanda out with the village work that they do.

Today they put together a Swim Day at the Hopac campus. William the Pastor of the village, and a worker at HOPAC, brought about 40 kids in a Dala Dala over to HOPAC to spend some time in the water, to eat and to play in a jumping castle.

The kids are so cute, and since we have met them before, we are starting to be able to remember names. The range from age 4 to age 18. They are always excited to be around you and always want you to play.

Having fun on the Jumping Castle

Even though they all live so very close to the ocean, many Tanzanian’s have no idea how to swim. So this is a great opportunity for them to get some basic swim skills down in a safe setting. A few of them have a few skills and are tall enough to stand in the shallow end. Many are able to use a noodle and float around but do not have any real swimming skills. Then there are those who have no swimming skills and need to use your body as a buoy at all times. There were only 5 adults in the pool for all of these kids, one of which did not know how to swim very well. So the four of us jumped in and started playing. With so many kids you have to rotate who you are holding and make sure everyone is getting a turn. They really loved jumping from the side, learning how to kick and of course the favorite 1, 2, 3 and under game.

We really love working with the village kids and are hoping to do more and more with them.

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Adventures in Cooking

If anyone knows me, they know that I am not the queen of cooking. Although I am well known for making boxed Betty Crocker Funfetti and other such cakes, cooking from scratch has never been my forte.

However, here in Tanzania, if you want anything to taste like home you have to make it all from scratch. First you have to find and figure out which ingredients will work. Many ingredients are very different from what you would buy in the States, therefore you must find alternatives to use. Thankfully there are many other people who have been here awhile who can give me good advice about what will work best.

When we first arrived, we ate our fill of rice and beans. After a few weeks of that I decided that we had to get more variety in our diet.

Most of the girls who live here know how to cook quite well. Moving in with two other females who cook well has really inspired me to figure out how to do this cooking thing.

I have experimented with a few different items so far. Salsa is a staple for us and I knew how to make it before, now it is just a matter of perfecting it. I really need some good cilantro to do so, but until our cilantro grows I will have to do with out. French toast, pancakes (no bisquick), and homemade spaghetti sauce were among the first things on the menu. All of them simple, most of them I already knew how to make. I wanted to start it off nice and easy.

Then we began to learn how to make some new things, like hummus, Spanish tortilla, and cream cheese. I would not say I have perfected the hummus yet, every time it seems to get better.  After that I made tacos for some of my students. They were delicious. Not quite like some good South side Mexican, but the best I have had here for sure. Then Thanksgiving came and I had to be ready to make everything in a day’s time. I felt a bit of a panic but thankfully, Austin is a very good chef and I had his help the whole time. Green beans with bacon, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted chicken, brown sugar glazed carrots, sweet potatoes, gravy and apple pie. It was a lot of work, but Austin and I really do make a great team when cooking.

My latest recipe was Pumpkin Soup. I had no idea it was so east to make from scratch. Even though, I am constantly hot and sweaty here, I actually want to eat this soup. Cheers to that.

I just had my mom, dad and a few others email me recipes so that I can keep this up. Feel free to email me any of your favorite recipes!

Thanksgiving in Dar

Thanksgiving without family is like Spaghetti without Meatballs! It is no secret that I have a HUGE family, that we get together all of the time and that we actually like hanging out together. A small family gathering is no less than 30 people, and a large one well it can be over 200. Family means the world to me. I was raised in a home where family always came first, and I love that that is how my family works.

This being my first major holiday without my family, made it a difficult thing to swallow. A few nights before Thanksgiving, when I realized that even if I wanted to fly home I wouldn’t be able to get there in time, I broke down. What is a Thanksgiving without family? My family is so much of what I have to be thankful for. Not that I don’t thank the Lord for what I have here in Africa, for my husband, my great students, our friends, the ocean and this awesome opportunity. I have so much to be thankful for. But for me family is what I am most thankful for, and I love being able to show them this during Thanksgiving.

Last minute, we ended up putting together a large Thanksgiving dinner for 23 people, including the Larmey’s (our foster family over here  ), neighbors, friends from HOPAC and Young Life, and our night guards from our compound. It was such a blessing to have a large family here to prepare a meal for. It made Thanksgiving feel like home. I even made them all sing We Gather Together and read William Bradford’s Proclamation. They willingly sang and listened which made it even better. (I can’t wait to teach them our Christmas Traditions. They have no idea what they are in for.)

After dinner we spent a few house Skyping our families. It was so good to see everyone for Thanksgiving, cousins, aunts, uncles, and parents all together. Thank the Lord for Skype!

The Americans at HOPAC also put together a meal on the Saturday after Thanksgiving because it is a lot easier than trying to do it while you are working. It was held ad a South African’s home, who normally house a Mexican restaurant once a week and on the table was a Curry turkey, a unique experience to say the least. Although it was fun and the company was great, having Thanksgiving not on Thanksgiving Day just isn’t the same.

When it was all said and done, there are a few things I have to say about Thanksgiving. First, I love my family and I know that they know that which is such blessing. Second, not being home for the holidays is harder than I thought, and although I would prefer to not miss any others, some how I was able to get though it. Finally, I am so thankful for all of the blessings that the Lord has given me! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving in Dar es Salaam

We had 23 friends over for Thanksgiving yesterday.  It was awesome.  Complete with Macys Parade re-run clips, some football clips and Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  All the foods were present minus the Turkey, which was replaced by Chicken.

Just living

I have not been super inspired to write a blog post about anything that has been going on lately. This is not because things have been boring, but more because we are just living everyday life.

Austin is very busy in his new position at the school. He is the official IT administrator. This is requiring a lot more time from him, but I think that he is enjoying it. He is very good at being an administrator, so this works out quite nicely. Recently he has also been given many other random tasks. He is teaching a photography class for a bit while the photography teacher is back in the U.S. He continues helping with the Grade 1 swimming class. His newest responsibility is quite amusing though. He is the new sex ed teacher for the 6th grade boys. The boys were allowed to write down any questions they had about their bodies, relationships, and all that comes along with growing up. So far after the first week they have discussed these topics: Hair on my body: Where should it grow and what should be shaved?, Dating girls: Why would we ever want to do that?, Girl Problems: What is a tampon?, Body odor and the Importance of Deodorant. I am eager to see what they ask next week!

As for me, I am chugging away with teaching. My class is still doing well. We have begun reading about Ancient Rome. Having a class that is made up of mostly boys, they are eating up the blood, guts, and glory.

At HOPAC, we have adopted the British tradition of splitting the school up into houses ( much like Harry Potter). The Houses for HOPAC are Blue, Black, Green and Yellow. These are the colors of the Tanzanian flag. There has been a lot of hype about earning house points, which has caused a lot of school spirit to erupt.  This week we have had a Soccer Tournament among the primary houses. My kids were covered in paint, hoarse from screaming and all wound up from competing in the games. It was so fun to watch them get so pumped up for their teams.

Next week we are going to do a Spirit Week. The kids will be encouraged to show kindness throughout the week with Warm Fuzzies, Coin collections to raise money to give water to those who cannot afford it, giving thanks on Thanksgiving, and a big assembly to wrap it all up. I am excited to see how it all comes into play. I have been very busy planning and organizing the coming week’s events. Loving every minute of reliving the days of Student Council!

Besides that, we have been hanging out with our new roommates. Still waiting on Baby Baylor. Hoping she comes on Saturday because that is the day that I bet she would come.

We have been out of power for almost three days now and had to take all of our food to the school fridge. Although power outages are normal, the power has been good around here. Our compound, has been an exception apparently we are having a problem with the transformer. Truly I feel so spoiled by having power here anyways, so I am not complaining.

Otherwise, we really are just living life here and soaking up our time in Tanzania.

 

 

International Swim Gala

Stuco Retreat and Brett and Christy 066This weekend we went to the International Swim Gala. International is not quite what we picture for international, seeing as how countries are much closer together here, but it is still a competition none the less.

There were kids from all over, from different schools competing at all different age levels. Some teams are more a just for fun situation, while others are very serious and ready to devour the competition. Regardless of the competition, it is a very fun event. It reminded me of the days of swim team. The whole family together, mom and dad timing or working the snack bar, playing cards with friends in between races and scarfing junk food right before you hop in the water. I really do miss those days. I am hoping that one day, I can relive those days again with my own kids.

Student Council Retreat

This year I have been working with the primary student council of HOPAC. I help Amanda Maxwel who has run the student council in the past. The student council is made of three elected officers from my class and two representatives from each grade kindergarted to fifth grade. We have a great group of kids, who are a lot of fun and who are wonderful leaders at HOPAC.

In order to build the student council unity, we held a student council retreat at the Larmey’s household (the perfect place to hold a gathering here in Dar). During our time together we did team building activities like the human pretzel, people pass and the sitting circle. We took time to talk about what a leader is and we planned our upcoming events. Afterwards we swam in the pool and ate some delicious pizza. The kids had so much fun and really did prove their leadership skills.

I pray that as the year carries on, that they will all continue to grow as leaders wherever they are.

Stuco Retreat and Brett and Christy 025

The Human Knot

Stuco Retreat and Brett and Christy 029

Sitting Circle

Stuco Retreat and Brett and Christy 038

Making a Pyramid