Friday, September 17, 2010

A Normal Day in Dar (aka. International Living 101, according to Crystal)

16 Sept 2010

Today was a fun, fulfilling, laughter-filled day, but it started off pretty much the same as usual.  Kids came into my classroom from eleven-ish different countries, some of whom have parents who met on the field from different parts of the world.  I tried to greet a first grader with “Good morning!” in Danish… to no avail.  She didn’t even realize I was speaking her language!  When the bell rang at 7:30, I gave my kids directions to sit at the carpeti in Swahili, and we got going with our normal routine.  We started the school day with prayer and remembered our Tanzanian government as we head into elections… the Bibleless People group of Dongshiang in China… and our primary principal who will soon be coming from the UK… as well as the various hurts and travels of kiddos in my class and their families.  Then off to math, where we discovered Miss Lucas is NOT as adept at teaching rounding in one day as she had hoped she might be!

Break came, and I tried to get some work done.  But one of my kids came in and explained how she and her twin brother often travel to Johannesburg over Christmas with their aunt to visit their grandmother.  I also heard that they had gotten a Wii for Christmas with Super Mario Brothers Racing but the Wii never actually worked.  She came in a few minutes later to tell me matter-of-factly that her brother had called her something-or-other at recess, which in the language of Afrikaans (spoken in S. Africa, which is where they're from) means something really bad.  New knowledge for Miss Lucas for the day!

A Tanzanian student in my class who had gotten beat up over the summer when he refused to give his bike to some older kids on the street, and who has been in and out of my classroom all term thus far due to surgeries for his broken arm and physiotherapy, got sick once again from the antibiotics he’s on and had to go home.  He excitedly told me he should be here every day next week!  Poor kid.

At the same time, my Spanish-speaking student from Guatamala, who just arrived recently, greeted me in Spanish on her way in the door from break.  I discovered the only response to "Como esta?" I could think of was "Nzuri!"

The day continued as I learned that black markers really don’t work on overhead projectors… that old English, albeit in the chapter book Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest, is really difficult to say and even more difficult to translate as you read aloud to third graders… and that the homemade noodles my friend made (who is from Germany; who lives and works in Mbeya, Tanzania; and who was staying at our house, yay!) are just as good for lunch left-overs as they are the first time around.  I struggled to find a map of Europe that would work for my Medieval Times activity, and realized that the new password on my school computer won’t let me access school email… again.

Meanwhile, another “Knight Support” fire truck arrived at HOPAC to help fill the pool so we could start our class’ weekly swimming lessons – hopefully soon! (Knight Support is our guard company for campus.)

After school I headed out to the Danish Hair Design place with friends to get my hair cut.  I thought the place would be run by wazungus (white people) because of the name… but it turns out the owner was born in Tanzania and raised in Denmark.  She came back to the Land of Tanz a few years ago with her family and started this great place.  Of course!  As usual, a mix-up came when she realized the person who had been told that there would be FOUR people coming had only written down one… but the lovely owner rectified the situation and fit us all in anyway.

Off to home.  My roommate Kate decided to quickly whip up some calzones for dinner.  Everything is made from scratch here, so I started cutting up the veggies and we put tomatoes on the gas stovetop we bought recently to prep the sauce.  Good thing, since a few minutes later the power flickered and then went out.  We grabbed the kerosene lanterns that are always kept handy, used the “torch” or flashlight to grab the matches, and got the flames burning within minutes.  Marie’s Swahili lesson with her Tanzanian bajaj driver continued on in the other room, and Kate and I kept on making dinner.

Except, of course, that calzones usually need an oven to bake.  And ours happens to be electric.

Yes, Kate is actually using a coke bottle for a rolling pin.  You get creative when you need to!  I should also add that this is NOT Kate's regular hair-do... the stylist got a little 80s when she styled Kate's hair at the end!
Instead of heading over to our neighbors who have a gas stove that actually WORKS (unlike our other neighbor's whose oven keeps breaking...), we thought for a minute.  Kate knew of a recipe where you could make cookies on a frying pan – THANKS International Wycliffe Cookbook! – and realized if we made little calzones we could do the same thing.  Sure enough, the “hot pockets” were fabulously delicious, and we whipped up some frying pan cookies with dried apricots (instead of raisins) to add to dinner as well. 
Light's out pictures never give a good perspective.  At least you can see that the kerosene lamp is going behind her... because the room was otherwise pitch black!  Thanks, Tanesco (our trusty local power company) for another great adventure!

Making Frying Pan cookies with cut-up dried apricots instead of raisins... which we didn't have.  They were AMAZING!!!

We had to laugh as we realized we could totally make this meal "out in the bush" - with flour, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and a bit of sugar!  Another useful life skill added to my resume.  Go Team Creativity in the kitchen!

As I cut up veggies in the dark with the amazing knife our fourth housemate brought from Alaska after getting my hair cut at a Danish hair salon by a Tanzanian raised in Denmark… as we listened to Swahili in the background of the African-made kerosene lamps… as we fried calzones and cookies on an American-bought frying pan and a Japanese gas “cooker”… and as we laughed at the adventure and our quick transition into cooking without lights or oven, never thinking this should be a stressful situation… it dawned on me.  Life here is never boring.  It’s always an adventure.  And my life is truly better because of its daily international perspective!!!

1 comment:

  1. That was fun to read. Glad that your class is starting in an interesting way. Reading math bios and grading first test...some things are VERY dependable in MDY's class! HUGS and FLOWERS! M