Monday, January 30, 2012

The Lion King

For those of you who have not seen The Lion King, you should be shamed...and this post is not for you.

Yesterday, I went on safari to the Ngorogoro Crater. 2.5 million years ago the crater was a volcano, that exploded, and then sunk into the ground forming a crater. Since then, animals have been stuck in the crater, kinda like an awesome-ly giant natural zoo. They are over 30,000 wildebeest, thousands of zebras and animals of every kind. We saw elephants, lions, cheetahs, warthogs, birds, jackals, cape buffalos, gazelles and HYENAS... this is where the Lion King comes in...

I wrote an email to a friend about how I wasn't sure what to think about hyenas because of the movie, The Lion King...she replied...

"i don't like hyenas either because of that. that movie was pretty devestating to watch as a little person... let me know what hyenas actually seem like. poor little stigmatized mammals."

This was my response,

OK bad news on the hyenas...yesterday on safari I saw one steal a baby
gazelle from its mother and then rip it apart in front of its family
and friends. So the movie is totally accurate. I have it all on video....

OK, also really random things about The Lion King that you might want to know:

1) Rafiki the wise old monkey also means 'friend' in Swahili. 2) Pumba,
the warthog was really dumb in the movie, and I learned that they are
actually very stupid...for example, they forget they are being chased and then
just stop. Pumba is short for 'pumbavu' which is a curse word in
Swahili for stupid person. 3) Simba means lion in Swahili. 4) Hakuna
Matata actually means 'no problem' but has been super commercialized
here so we say 'hamna shida' instead.

Friday, January 27, 2012

It is so soon that I forget…

It is so easy to slip into the routine here at the orphanage. Wake up, make 14 breakfast sandwiches, make sure the kids uniforms are tucked and their shoes tied. The children here always, no matter what time of day, are so full of energy and excited about life. So it is so easy to forget why they are here, and what this place really is.

Yesterday I found the binder that holds the histories of all the children here at RVCV. The first page alone would make you cry. One of India's first children was brought here when his mother died from trying to self-abort her second child and the father was thought to be dead. After his mother died, this child went to live with his great aunt who rarely fed him, treated him as her slave, and abused him violently everyday.
When he was found and brought here they were not sure he would live. He had maggots coming out of his feet and was near starvation. His first few weeks here, he acted out violently and barked like a dog with no idea of how to communicate.

I am so happy to say that this boy and now a young man. He is now in secondary school and thriving. He takes apart everything in India's house; lights, remotes, any electronics and then puts them back together.

This is just one story, of the hundreds here at RVCV. These children have all come so far. I am so grateful to get to know all of them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Elephants and Money

Two random things...

-You know a country's economy is in the dumps when their highest bill is 10 000 shillings. This is currently equal to $6.29.

-Found out yesterday that a rouge elephant (with one tusk and ants in the brain) was in the area for YEARS and was just shot this weekend. All the villagers came and took the meat. Yup, they ate a crazy elephant. So yesterday in school a lot of the kids had bad tummy aches or GAS. What a day! Only in Africa!

Monday, January 23, 2012


I am so excited! I just had a gym class in the morning and then one of the teachers asked me to teach his Standard 7 class because he's sick. So I taught English., enough to, etc... It felt great to be back in the classroom!

Friday, January 20, 2012


-Oh boy, I am turned to the Tanzanian dark side. Today, I saw a dog and he looked at me, I looked at him, we had a stare off and then I did it.....I bent down to pretend to pick up a rock. When dogs here see you do that they run...and it worked, but I feel really bad. No I did not throw a rock, but just the idea makes me think of dogs back home and how mean that is. I just keep thinking that the closest rabies shot is South Africa. Sorry dogs.

-Last night it rained HARD...yup I sang 'The Rains in Africa" over and over.

RIP Colby- I can't believe we were together since I was in 3rd grade!!! Even though at times I was jealous of you (yes mom and dad you did spoil you greatly) I will miss you.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


From another volunteer here at RVCV....

Jambo! From the country where the Tango and Mamba are not Spanish dances, but a cucumber and crocodile!


-I need advice...some of the student teachers asked me to set up a Facebook account for them. So, should I be the person that brings FB into their lives....should I corrupt these young adults...ahhh I don't know!

-This week in my classes is "Wiki ya kujenga timu" (week of team building.) So we did partner and group games together. They probably just think I am crazy. I had the older kids try the 'popsicle pushup' where you lay in a square with your feet on each others backs and try to push up at the same time....hysterical. I laugh so much during class with the older fun!

-The younger kids....its like herding cats....drunk cats...that dont understand English...

Monday, January 16, 2012


We are in need of volleyball nets! New or used..does not matter! We have two courts at school and only one net, which is falling apart. Please email me if you want to donate, and I will have a new volunteer bring it over when they come.

Email ASAP!!


The more Swahili I have learned, the worse my English grammar has become, pole (sorry!)

-A very gracious friend of mine donated $5000 to the Tanzanian Children's Fund. I found out recently that this money was used to buy books for Oldeani Secondary School. 60% of the students who go to our primary school go to Oldeani. This school went from having only 1 book per class to now 20 books per class with this donation. Last year only 1% of that school passed the national exam. With this money, new books, and our student teachers going to help teach, TCF hopes to slowly get involved with this secondary school.

Thank you so much for your donations. Every dollar has made such an impact. I have found that education and health are the key to success here. Your money is being put toward those things. Thank you, thank you!!

- I have been exercising each day with one of the secondary school girls...who just left to go back to school. On one of our runs she said to me. 'It is hard being a teenager. There are so many changes.' Oh man! I didn't know what to say. It is amazing how much these kids open up to you. I told her she only had three more years...haha.

-One of my classes- Standard 5 has 53 students and Standard 7 has 40 students. Class size in Tanzania. They said it is much better this year!! Ah!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Big Events!!

First girls tea/tutu/princess party!
Pool party before the big kids go back to school! (Yes I am wearing a tutu- same day parties!)
I will miss you Riziki! Good luck at your new school! Congrats!!!
Serengeti boys first day back to school!!!
Secondary school kids go back to school!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

No internet!

Sorry this took so long! We have not had internet in a long time....Africa!

A lot has happened in the last week.

-I had my monthly vacation to Arusha. Here I found the funniest Aussie in the world- Miles. We wondered around the little markets and soon everyone knew him as mzungo chicha....crazy white person. We made friends with the local band, Knuckle to Knuckle, and had dance competitions with weekend.

-Monday I started teaching sports at Gyetighi Primary School. All week we have gone over shiria za michezo (rules for gym class). So for the first time in my teaching career I taught half in Swahilli half in English. Which basically means lots of acting. The Standard 1/2 kids are very young and do not speak English. That was interesting. But they were well behaved and lined up when I told them to do so, spoke when they were told...especially practicing, "Mwalimu Jill" (teacher). Tanzanians have trouble saying my name because there is no vowel at the I am either JAL or JILLI.

-When I have time off during the day I do work or study Swahilli in the teacher's lounge. Man I miss South Burlington's teachers room. There I could actually talk to people! They will speak English to me but I have NO IDEA what they are saying when they talk to each other. Time!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gabby and Lucia

This is a picture from Christmas!

Running with GIRLS

Yesterday was my first day at Gyetighi Primary School! We had teacher 'in-service' meetings in the morning and afternoon. I have done teacher meetings before but it was ALL IN SWAHILLI. Oh man. I had to get up in front of the 12 teachers and principle and tell them about myself. I think I sweat through my entire shirt. After I stumbled through my words and finished I got a big round of applause...I think it was for the effort.

I started working on my classroom rules and procedures today. Found out planning takes twice as long when you need everything in two languages.

Yesterday afternoon I went on a run with one of the Form 2 girls and 2 of the female cooks (who are my age.) They are FAST. I love how they run twice a week, in regular clothes (jean capris) and slip on shoes and have 1) no injuries 2) are in shape! They were so so nice, and now there is a woman's running group! Go girls!