It all started 4 days ago at 3 30am. My stomach woke me up and preceded to give me the worst stomach pain (a.k.a someone ripping out my ribs) I have ever had. Of course one of the nurses is on safari and the other just left to go back to the states. So I phoned another volunteer, who brought another volunteer who brought the Maasai guards, and India and the mamas to follow. So there I am crying hunched into a ball on the toilet with a crowd.
I got up to go to the doctor yesterday and found out that is some viral infection. Fun!
Tonight is New Years Eve... India is taking us out for dinner. So this means water and bread and rice HAPPY NEW YEAR!
-Gingerbread construction 15 minutes....gingerbread demolition 15 seconds.
-Over 100 kids received new PJs...I have never heard so much screaming while opening a PJ present.
-I read The Night Before Christmas like my mom has read to me for the last 24 years!!
12am: Wake up to play Santa... made it without being caught SUCCESS
5 45am: We are holding the doors shut into the living room while the kids are screaming for presents.
-We actually convinced them to eat their traditional donut breakfast before opening their presents...first- these donuts sit in the sun for two days (part of the recipe) and second...who waits till after breakfast to open presents-suckers hahah
6 30am the kids open their two presents. Two of the kids said they saw Santa. Within minutes there were cars, tutus, musical instruments and crafts...everywhere.
8 30am Church
11am Christmas Pageant- I will have to put up my videos later...there were dances from Justin Beiber's Christmas album, an African rendition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and traditional drums and dancing. The kids did amazing!
Then....SODA!!! and piles of food. The kids decided to mix their sodas...I forgot how kids love doing that.
Christmas night we sat down for cocktails and Christmas dinner. I missed Mimi so I decided in her honor to drink a fair amount of white wine. Haha sorry Mimis...have to blame someone. After dinner we brought the white wine (box) to the top of he water tower and watched the African sky...I love Tanzania.
1. Cut out snow flakes- even though the kids have NO idea why they look like the cut outs.
2. Made hundreds of Christmas chains....with every color construction paper EXCEPT red and green... we ran out in early December.
3. Put up the little fake trees in each house. Everyone has an ornament with their picture in it!
4. Christmas cards for their sponsors- shipped over to America already!
5. Christmas Pinatas- Yup a Christian/Mexican/Africa new tradition!! Our St. 5 class made a snowman...covered in glitter. I asked one of the kids today what we should name it...he told me...Frosty...duh..
6. Make cookies for Santa..or so that the mamas and I can eat all of them all.
7. Make Gingerbread house....its a competition going down between our house and Mikumi on Saturday...GO Rubundo house!
8. Wrap 2 gifts per kid..with around 150 total kids...thats 300 presents to wrap...be thankful
9. Practice, practice, practice for the Christmas pagaent. There are 5 houses and each has to do a dance/song/ something. I decided that since EVERY morning I wake up to the kids singing Waka Waka by Shakira...why not make it a Christmas song, so here are the NEW words for Waka Waka-Christmas Style..
If your a good kid
Throughout the year
Picked yourself up
Helped others out
Calmed others fears
Its Christmas time
You feel it
You know the gifts
Today is the day
Hope its never over
Its Christmas time
You feel it
We have it all
The trees set up- oh oh
Santa came- eh eh
Presents present everywhere...ITS TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
-This weekend many of the girls here got their 1st sport bras (even though they totally don't need them.) They keep telling me to come over and then lift up their shirt and have the biggest smiles on their faces.
2. You wait hours for healthcare!
-Yesterday I took two of the girls and the baby (Kisi) to FAME. FAME is Foundation for African Medicine and Education. http://www.fameafrica.org/ It is our local clinic and is amazing! The main doctors and visiting doctors are from America. I went in with each of the girls, telling the doctors of their symptoms, history and then got blood and other samples taken. The youngest girl had to get blood taken. So I held her hand, and she jumped three times before staying still enough to get any blood. I think I was squeezing her hand harder then she squeezed mine. They both also needed to give stool samples and oh BOY I have never felt like more of a mother! Trying to coach little girls to poo when all they kept saying were 'i dont have poo...i dont have poo!' It was a fun day.
3. The Music!
- We might be far behind in popular music but here are some of our TZ favorites right now!
Paper Loving by Christopher Martin
Mambo Sawa Sawa by Songbirds
Ways that America and Tanzania are different:
-Going into bars and club you will see the sign 'No Machetes allowed'
-At gas stations you are allowed to fill up water bottles with gas.
Yesterday we found out that Gyetighi Primary School (our partner primary school) had a 100 % pass rate for Standard 7. That means all of the students are eligible to go to secondary school! This is an INCREDIBLE result! When TCF started assisting the school in 2008, the pass rate for Standard 7 was just under 30%! We are now the model school for the whole district!
Last week I was asked to work for Gyetighi and be the athletics director for the whole school. I accepted and have started my private Swahilli lessons with one of the teachers. Her name is Yohana and she is amazing. I will be speaking to the students in Swahilli when school starts again in January.
This is the part of TCF's website that discusses what we do with the school.
Last night when I was putting the girls to sleep, one of them asked why I was sad. I did not realize that I seemed sad but kids notice everything. I told them that my babu (grandfather) was very sick and was dying. So we sat and stood together in their room as one of the girls prayed. She prayed for Africa, for each other, and for 'Grandfather'. They asked me if he was going to heaven to be with Jesus. I said that my grandfather is an amazing man and that he will be in heaven. They asked if he will be in the sky with us in Africa and I said yes.
Grandma- the girls want to phone you tomorrow (your morning) to send their prayers to you. I hope this is OK, they want so much to talk to my bibi (grandmother).
** One random fact- When you see a woman in TZ you call her mama ____. I live with mama Mety and mama Ruthi. Mety and Ruthi aren't their actual given names. Those are the names of their first children. So it is literally mama of whoever. I feel like if we did that in the US we definitely wouldn't name our kids Apple, Hopper, Petal Blossom Rainbow (all taken from worst celebrity baby names)....except I did met a man named Innocent here the other day.
Sundays are our day off. So three of us volunteers got a ride to Karatu (45 minutes away). We went around to a bunch of dukas (stores) and found one of the people that work here. He showed us the local market, and all his friends ofcourse. He took us to a very local lunch place where we got chicken and chips. I had no clue what to do when they handed me a bucket. Found out they clean your hands for you. They do this because you only eat with your hands. Once they saw us trying to eat this chicken they tried to take it away and cut it up for us....like babies. I have decided after eating this chicken...right next to the squawking chickens... to stop eating meat...yup a vegetarian that eats bacon. Mark the Date 12/5/11.
I am currently sitting on a porch outside the offices here at TCF. There are over 80 people lined up to see the doctor that comes once a month. A baby is wailing and people are sitting under trees to get out of the sun. They are wrapped in traditional colorful sheets. Most have been here for 5 hours already. Some have been told to do the long walk again tomorrow. They walk miles and miles on the steep trails and through the coffee fields.
Today people are back and still waiting. Many people had to be turned away but they still wait here and hope maybe the doctor will have time.
Each week during vacation I teach math to a different Standard. This week I had Standard 3. Every morning for 2 hours we reviewed their math from the school year. We played Around the World multiplication/division, went shopping with 'shillings'- aka construction paper with numbers on it, played 'beat the level' game....lots of fun! We went over their whole book in a week! So as a present today we went on a long 2 hour walk. I saw my first African deer-ish thing. Here is a picture of the class! Next week is Standard 4 math and then my first vacation to Arusha!
Yes I wear my five finger shoes to run/walk in....all the kids say I have monkey feet.
-Only 25 days until Christmas! The kids are so excited. We made December calendars yesterday so we could start crossing off each day!
-All 105 kids are here! The secondary kids are home for vacation. They all attend boarding schools (thank you sponsors) in Karatu, Arusha and right here in Oldeani. The students that go unsponsored go to the high school in Oldeani. Unfortunately, that school is not doing well. They currently only have 2 government teachers- for the whole school! I am going on a tour and to meet the head of school next week to see if I can be some help. The Children's Fund is looking into helping the secondary school because so many of our primary kids go there. Only a few students out of hundreds pasted the national exams last year at Oldeani.
I wanted to say thank you to all my amazing friends and family. Thank you for being so supportive of me here. I send the kids your love everyday.