Friday, September 7, 2012

Things I've learned at camp (aka Swahili language school)

(Because my brain only seems to be thinking in lists these days... must be all the stacks of vocabulary I'm trying to memorize!)

1. Never leave clothes on the floor. Or if you choose to do so, check jean pockets for scorpions, siafu (huge biting ants), and other fun friends before donning said clothes. (don't worry, I've learned this through someone else first...)

2. When taking a shower in the cold of the evening down the hill from your tent, be sure to remember to bring your towel with you.

3. Contrary to popular belief... it really DOES get cold in Africa! :P

4. Always shake out your shoes before putting them on... Any time of day.

5. Sleep - and lots of it - is important when learning a new language.  So are study breaks and long walks...

6. Go climbing. It's beautiful.

7. Make friends with the dog. Even if you're allergic.

8. Denmark has a queen! Did you know that? (Things learned at chai (tea) with friends from all over the world...)

9. It doesn't matter how clean your kid (or his/her clothes) might be at the start of the day... It's guaranteed within 20 mins they'll be brown from nose to toes.

10. Gaining a new language causes your primary language to go downhill... fast. 

11. Fleece blankets are important. Vital even.

12. Hot water bottles no longer seem old-fashioned.

13. Walk loudly and carry a large stick... when walking through the tall grass and woods :) and don't freak out if you get bitten.

14. More knowledge of American TV shows can be gained in the middle of a campsite in Tanzania than during a full year of living in the States...  (evidently I didn't turn on the TV much!)

15. Avoid siafu (army ants) no matter what.  In fact, avoid entire vicinities where they have last been spotted. 

16. Drink. a lot. of water. The clean boiled filtered kind, of course. Except not at dinner, or then you'll have to trek down the hill to the bathroom in the dark...

17. Living in a tent isn't all bad as long as you have a bed and warm blankets to sleep with.

18. A hot shower makes everything better, even if taken by flashlight :)

19. If using a lock to secure your tent, be sure to have an extra key. And have it handy. Especially when you lock yourself in at night.

20. Laughter is important. All the time. (Then again, so are good friends with shoulders to cry on.)  So thankful for community here with whom it's safe to do both!


  1. Are you still in your hobbit tent?? :)

  2. Yes! I've taken to affectionately calling it my Hobbit Hole. I hear that I'll be getting anew tent tomorrow, which I can't decide if I'm happy about or not. Not that it matters... one day at a time! Hope all is going well in Mbeyaland!