Monday, January 20, 2014

Now That I'm Back...

I was going to write a whole reflective thing about being back, culture shock, how food is amazing, stores freaking me out, etc, but then I found this.

It's better.

Leaving Tanzania or Pretend It's November

In the last few months I have thought a lot about what I wanted to write, but never actually did it. I made it a priority to soak up every last minute I had in my village and in Tanzania, and writing it down never made it to the top of the priorities list.

July- Schedule COS (Close of Service) Date.
I was a mess that day. My best friend called to tell me what date she had picked and to find out what I was choosing, what were my travel plans afterwards, with whom was I travelling.... I had no idea, all I knew was I was working at clinic and anything after that was not on my radar. Something I learned about myself in Peace Corps is that I am not a planner, but more than that, I wasn't ready to leave. I was very much stuck in my village, in my day-to-day life, and I wasn't ready to think about "after."
I scheduled my date, and then curled up in the fetal position on my bed and cried because I felt like I had chosen the wrong date, it was too soon, I was quitting.

August- COS Conference.
This is when tax payer dollars send us to a nice resort to eat too much Indian food and talk about how to adjust back to America. Remember what a resume is? Remember how to look for jobs? Remember how to do an interview? Start thinking about going back to America.

September-October- Ok, I'm ready now!
COS Conference did it's job- a little too well. Back in my village for the next three months, I am all ready to look for work and be back in America... BUT I'M NOT. Very frustrating. But, I was also trying to soak it all in; I noticed I was lot more patient with people, I enjoyed the sunrise, sunset, and stars so much more. The lack of variety, or the lack of food, didn't bother me as much. I spent a lot more time with my favorite people.

November- Um, not ready anymore!
My baba planned a trip for the two of us to go to his family's home in Mwanga. He was so excited- he had been talking about doing this the whole two years I had been there. I did not want to go. It would be like homestay all over again! No privacy, no place to get away, overwhelming. I was having separation anxiety from staying somewhere did that have my couch in it.....

It was like homestay. But. I knew the language. We could talk and make jokes, I could explain myself. It made my baba so happy; I had never seen him so excited. I saw a cow give birth. I got fat, eating meat everyday. I learned about a new tribe. This full circle experience- returning to homestay- made me not want to leave. Made me love all the things I had yet to learn and experience.

27 November- COS Date

Friday, May 31, 2013

Stupid Things Americans Say about Africa or This is Another Quote List

  • “Tanzania... that's near Australia, right?”
  • “How is Africa?”
  • “You live in Africa, so you must speak Africaans.”
  • “How is Tazmania?”
  • "Have you seen any Tazmanian Devils over there?"

Things That Make Babies in TZ So Cute or Have I Mentioned How Freaking Cute Babies Are Here?

(Babies are anyone younger than a teenager, BTW) 

  • all have shaved heads

  • girls wear beanies with pointed tops, so they look like elves

  • little kids help littler kids like tiny parents

  • they carry plastic plates to eat lunch at school

  • tiny school uniforms

  • little girls wearing abrella, the veils that encompass the entire body

  • they wear tiny shoes made from tires

  • kids with plastic cups tied to their belts to take to school

All the Things I Have Considered Doing Post PC or So Many Options

1. join a traveling circus and travel across Europe
2. be a bread baker
3. be a Somalian pirate
4. be a chocolatier in USA
5. be a chocolatier in Madagascar
6. extend in PCTZ
7. do PC Response in a different country
8. be an EMT
9. do a post bac to prepare for medical school
10. do an MPH in USA
11. do an MPH in Europe
12. train to be a midwife

Friday, March 22, 2013

Things Tanzos Love or Did You Know...?

Women and children love bags with the face of professional wrestler John Cena on them

Teenage boys love Shania Twain and Celine Dion- they will blast “My Heart Will Go On” from their cell phones without shame or reserve

Obama. He is black, he is the president of America. It doesn't matter that his ancestry is actually from Kenya, not Tanzania

Tanzos love Just Beiber. Not as much as Celine Dion or Shania Twain, but he is up there.

Soda is expensive, which means that it becomes a treat for children and the prize of becoming wealthy. There is no status icon more potent than Fanta.

Tanzos pick their noses. In public, out there, no shame. One person told me that it isn't good when people do that, the act is still socially frowned upon, but the majority of Tanzanians are trying to change that

You know a bus is safi when you get on and there are no chickens. Tanzos carry chickens across the country by bus, chickens under their seats, sitting on their laps, sitting in the overhead compartment. I have had many discussions with my dada on how chickens are clean, but ducks are dirty. She would rather have chickens than any other animal, and having a cat or dog for a pet is stupid

Maybe it is because I'm white, but Tanzos, men especially, but not exclusiely by any means, stare. You will lose a staring contest with a Tanzo. I have tried.

Bus rides are usually crowded, and the seats are tiny, but even when the bus is half empty, and there is plenty of room, Tanzos like to cuddle, and will rearrange themselves so they are leaning against you, or have their arm in your lap, whilst on your bus ride.

Tanzanians don't have the same boundaries that Americans do with space. In fact, they really like touching each other while talking to each other, whether its a smack to get your attention, or, my mama's favorite, caressing my shoulders and chest while talking to or about me.