Showing posts with label friends and fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label friends and fun. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

...and a few things I do

(like, of course).

People.  Amazing people.  Who get what it means to be missional.  Focused on God.  People I can turn to when everything goes wrong.  And share with when things go well.  People who will be my family no matter what.  And people that I will be working with to help teach in Tanzania, that I got to meet at the good ol' trestle stop last week!
I could put about a million (or at least a hundred) pictures of people that I love and that fit this description on here... but I'll stick with one picture for now.  I'm so thankful for ALL the incredible people that God has put into my life!

I am SO excited to finally meet this amazing family (these kids do actually have parents and a baby sister who was feeling a little grumpy by the end of the meal), and am looking forward to serving with (and celebrating holidays) with them this time next year, Lord-willing!  They are heading to Musoma-land, Tanzania just a little bit after I am.  It's nice to know someone(s) before I go... :)

(If you want to "meet" some more of the amazing families I'll be working with soon, check out this page on my new website for kids.  and adults.  Thanks!)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dear Friends in Tanzania...

...who live in my old house.

A long while back (think October), I started looking forward to Thanksgiving.  I'm pretty sure you did too.  I have long since gotten to see your abundant stash of food items in preparation for making this holiday a huge multicultural success, despite being far away from home.

On the other hand, I know how hard it is to celebrate such a familial holiday in another land, so I decided to send you some goodies to make it more special.
I'm sure the chocolate will be well-melted by now,
but we all know you just break it apart there and eat it anyway. 

Turns out, I forgot how long it takes to send packages to Tanzania.  So, if these things ever get there, I hope you find a reason to enjoy them none-the-less!  (And maybe stow the paper turkey away again to be used next year?)

I had high hopes of sending you snow (the powdered kind that you just add water to) and other snowy items to make Christmas seem real.  (Because we all know that powdered fake snow on the table would make it feel cooler.  Ha!  It would probably just melt.)  However, I'm remembering that if you were going to get that in time, I should have sent the package several weeks (or months?) back.  So instead, maybe you can stick the melted chocolate in the freezer, and eat them one... at ... a time... while they're still cold and pretend they're delicious snowflakes falling from the sky.

Or, just stand in front of the freezer itself and will yourself to remember that 100 degree weather with 96% humidity will not in fact last forever. 

Miss you!

(Note: I wrote this in November... and was putting off actually posting it because I didn't want to give away what was in the package.  By Christmas I gave up and assumed it would never make it.  Just heard it finally arrived in Dar just after the new year!  Hopefully those melted-frozen chocolates will still be good for cooling them down ... in the 90% humidity forecasted for tomorrow!)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

♫ My bags are packed... ♫

Marie's and my bags in the back of the van... with our househelp's little boy Junior looking sadly on :(
♫ All my bags are packed I'm ready to go
I'm standin' here outside my door
I hate to leave HOPAC and say goodbye…
But traffic’s bad and it’s time to leave
Germany’s callin’ and there’s no time to grieve…
Already I am trying not to cry…

So hug me and smile for me
Tell me that you won’t forget me
Hold me in your arms and don’t let go
Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh man, I hate to go

There’s so many times I’ve wanted to leave
Days I thought I couldn’t believe
Just what a crazy place Dar is to live…
but now, I know, it’s hard to say
Goodbye to people with whom I’ve played
and taught, and lived, and cooked, and sweatily stayed…

So hug me and smile for me
tell me that you won’t forget me
Hold me in your arms and never let me go
Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh man, I hate to go

Now the time has come to sit in traffic
Watch the clock, and hope we make it.
Pray that God has something great in store…
Wonder what He’s got ahead,
Try to hope, and not to dread,
Wishing time allowed for just a bit more…
So hug me and smile for me
tell me that you won’t forget me
Hold me in your arms and don’t let go
Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh man, I hate to go

Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh man, I hate to go ♫
dinner out with some AMAZING ladies on Tuesday night! 
Two INCREDIBLE, encouraging friends who have made my life (and packing) SO much easier (and more fun!) this past week just by being there... and being themselves. :)  Thanks, Jen and Lauren!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Few of My Favorite... People

30 May 2011

This past weekend, HOPAC put on our own rendition of selected pieces of The Sound of Music.  We called it "A Few of My Favorite Things." (And depending on what version of English you speak, you may feel the need to add a U into that "favourite" word...)  It not only served as a fundraiser for our new playground, but it was also a wonderful chance for amazing people from the whole community to work together in a joint project.  Think kindergarteners, high-schoolers and graduated students, parents, teachers, principals, and even our director all on stage at the same time!  It's been a long process and a lot of work (everything really worth doing is!).  But when it all came together on stage... it was totally worth it.

I got to help choreograph the "puppet" scene from when the Von Trapp kids are putting on a show for their father.
Cue the music... ♫ Odl lay hee hoo! ♫
                                               and the kids...
                                                                and off we go!
Here's a snapshot tour of the amazing performance they did.

the lonely goatherd... one of my great 3rd graders!
yodeling like a pro... puppet!
the goats arrive...
all the people around the town hearing our yodeler call
♫ A prince on the bridge of a castle moat...
Men on a boat with a load to tote...
Men in the midst of a table d'hote...
Men drinking beer with the foam afloat...  ♫
a little girl in the pale pink coat arrives... and hears... and answers... :)
but soon her "mama with a gleaming gloat" catches ear of something...
and isn't happy!
Now imagine getting a third grade boy and a fourth grade girl to dance together.  I'm not sure the word "cooties" has entered the HOPAC school vocabulary, but the concept is definitely there regardless.  My remedy?  "I promise that if you only touch arms while you skip around each other, you have my full permission to run off opposite sides of the stage afterward!"  It worked, they looked great, and I'm pretty sure they even had fun along the way!  Just don't tell them I said that... :)
♫ Happy are they lady ho lady lee ho, ho lady ho lady lady ho
Soon the duet will become a trio, lady odl lay odl loo! ♫
Yes, this was the night when one of the eyes fell off the goat mask. 
A sad moment for the imaginary goat... but lots of laughter for everyone involved!
This was definitely a new experience for me.  I've done my tiny bit of acting - a line or two of speaking, a front-walkover and the splits, in seventh grade for Bye Bye Birdie - and that was enough.  I was excited to help choreograph this because, as you know, dancing is something I love.  In the midst of it all, I discovered two things: 1. While I have a pretty good idea of how to teach dance and body movement (think being limp like a puppet), I realized I know NOTHING about acting.  Or teaching kids how to work on stage.  And 2. Theater is not my thing. As in, it's definitely not a life-giving activity that I feel energized from afterword. 

The good news is, I got to see my kiddos do a great job on stage.  I worked with some amazing people, made new friends, and had a lot of fun along the way!  And most importantly, we made some great memories before I head off to my next adventure... ones I will remember for a long, long time.

For those of you who aren't quite as keen on yodeling, I've included a few other snapshots from the play (with special thanks to Gil Medina for sharing these since my own camera died...).  Or, you can go on my FB and see the whole album linked there.  Enjoy!

The nuns
My dear friend Grace, our very own Maria!
Our very NON-Austrian collection of children! :)
The lovely Liesel and Friedrich (Lauren and Isaiah) in...
♫ 16 going on 17 ♫
The amazingly TOUGH musicians... half of whom had a fever and the flu all day Saturday and stuck it out for both performances anyway!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What do Teachers DO when they go on Break?

Play, of course!  (We can't let the kids have ALL the fun!)

24 April 2011

A few years back during summer break in North Carolina, I joined a couple of friends for a day at Chuckee Cheese’s.  My kids were always completely shocked, flabbergasted, and falling on the floor with amazement when I told them I’d never been to this delightful place of fun, food, and friend’s birthday parties.  I thought I should at least check it out. 
Luckily, it didn’t take too much convincing to get some teacher-friends to join me!
This year, though, we did things a little differently.  Our school just got a brand new playground, which all the kids are THRILLED about.  We dedicated this the last day of school before break, and of course the teachers had to take some time to “show” the kids how to use all the different pieces. :) (Some of these kids have never seen a merry-go-round or swings before.  Not that it’s necessarily bad – they have more local, fun creative things to play on instead!)
The whole primary school on the playground... or what you can see of it... and us!
Also, after school on this day, the weather decided to POUR!  Not just a bit, but a downpour.  At the time, a teacher-friend of mine and I were outside walking, and despite our infinite sweetness (as my kids tell me EVERY day when I have ants crawling on me from my desk), we decided we weren’t going to melt.  We kept walking, then played a bit with kids who were enjoying the cool weather as well.  As a co-worker walked past, she commented in disgust, “I can’t believe these kids that are out playing in the rain…” then she looked at our wet clothes in complete shock.  “Not YOU, too!”  Ha!  I figure, what better way to enjoy the last day of term?

Over break, my friend Marie and I headed West to Dodoma to visit a wonderful family there.  We got to take the kids to the MAF playground, and of course we couldn’t let the kids have ALL the fun!  So we joined in. 
I love this playground – SO much more creative than anything we could bring from the States, and all locally made!  I'm hoping someday I can get some amazing, super-handy guys to build something like this for a school that needs it...
My favorite part is the zipline, bottom left corner.  There are two half-tires at the end of the wire, creating just enough distance to keep kids from swinging into the pole.  Ingenious!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beam Me Up, Amani!

or, Thoughts on Teleportation and it's Reliability as a Transportation Source in Tanzania

28 March 2011

So I was contemplating the idea of teleportation tonight with a friend, and commenting on how I need to get my super-smart brother and sister-in-law to get going on this project.  After all, I’m sure that was a part of the aerodynamics and quantum theories of black holes classes they took at Embry Riddle, right?  Basic stuff.  So the thought was that they should build it, maybe sell it to a lot of people, but most importantly provide the machine for free to missionaries.  Or at least to me, and my friends.  After all, I’m the sister!
 As we contemplated the fantastic aspects of this invention, we started to get excited.  We could bop down to the Penninsula (and bypass all the traffic) whenever we wanted to for an evening out.  (Can you tell where we were when this discussion ensued?)  Or better yet (and much more importantly) we could head “home” to the States for a weekend and make it back in time for school the next Monday.

But then, I started thinking.  If all the missionaries are going home every weekend, there’s never going to be any community here.  Which kind of stinks.  AND all the Tanzanians (and other people all over the world) will be wanting to come, too.  Which might cause a bit of a new issue for immigration. 

Then, some of the logistics started to set in.  Do we REALLY want our molecules being taken apart in one place, and trusting them to be put back together again in another?  Would we even be the same person on the other side?  I mentioned I felt more comfortable going TO the States than back to Dar… I trust the State-side teleporter to actually work correctly!  (This coming after three weeks without internet or a server at school… and little to no internet in Dar in general this past week while the fiberoptic cable has something wrong with it… and after our principals’ comment a couple of weeks back at staff meeting, saying “So basically what we’re saying is there’s no power, no internet, and no water.  Have a great day!" …and, yes, we’re still sitting in traffic.)  My friend mentioned the potential problem of having a power cut happen just as you’re in the middle of transport.  And so, we began thinking about the practicalities of having working electronic devices here in Dar. 

The question is, if the teleportation device in Dar breaks, do we call in the local fundi (expert)?  Probably the fundi la bomba (plumber) would come and say, “yes, no problem.  It is ok.  I fix” and then go and get some parts.  Or say, “parts very expensive.  Must get from States.  Many pesas.”  At which point we would mention how we have little money.  They would give us a rubber band and a plastic tube, and say “sawa, it is ok.” 

Thought: I wonder if teleportation could be done through sling-shotting ourselves from Dar to the States via a rubber band?  It would sure cut down the cost!?

The other option is that when we say we have no money, they will say “ok” and get a part made in China.  Then it will break, and we will call again, and they will get another cheap part from China.  And then that one will break, and we’ll get another, and so on, and so on.  And no one will be bothered by these numerous, long, annoying transactions except for us missionaries. :D

The more I think about the frequent power cuts we’re having, I’m realizing we would really need to get a reliable generator specifically for the machine.  This would at least help ensure that no one gets stuck halfway between two places.  I’m imagining writing an email with one hand saying, “Hey mom, did I leave my other hand and foot there?  I’ll try to get them again when the power comes back on!”  Except, oh wait, no power means no email.  Whoops.  Hope they don’t get thrown away by mistake!

The other thing is that I would definitely not rely on anyone keeping the machine maintained during my three day stay at home.  Rather, someone here would probably get jealous of my cool machine and come steal some part or other so that I can’t use it anymore.  And then I would be sad.  And broke, because I’d have to pay for a quick super-sonic ticket back before school starts on Monday!

So anyway, long before we ever made it home from our relaxing time of working at a coffee shop (my first in a VERY VERY long time!) and the 1.5 hr drive home from town afterward (definitely NOT my first recently!), it was pretty much decided that, at least for Tanzania, perhaps the teleportation route is just not quite the way to go. 

But, Jer and Claudia, if you want to get working on prototypes for the future… preferably models that don’t require power or maintenance… I certainly won’t object!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Where Does the TIME Go?

13 January 2011

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of writing and a lot of thinking, but not a lot of posting.  Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to (and maybe I’ll get around to posting the other thoughts when I have a few moments…)

*I arrived safely back from the States.  And one week later, my bag arrived too!  Hooray!!!  (Double, triple, quadruple hooray – it’s nice to have everything safely here once again!)

*School started.  And it’s going well.  I’m excited to finally start using (hopefully soon!) one of the computer projectors that I brought back from the States with me for the school…  and am enjoying teaching a fun unit on fantasy!  Dragons and giant peaches, here we come!

*My housemates and I are officially addicted to watching… HOUSE.  I think we are now ready to handle any weird medical emergency that comes our way… although we've learned that the diagnosis is NEVER lupus!

*Marie, Carley, and I are pretty much more than officially moved into our new house.  We actually have some curtains now, which is nicer than the sheets we had up before.  (Special thanks, I might add, to the people at Dar airport for returning my missing bag… to HOPAC, no less!)  The kitchen is still driving me nuts – still no countertops OR storage, a tiny sink, and our microwave has the wrong kind of plug to use here.  But we DO have a working fridge, a rolling cart, and lots of pots and pans I brought with from the States!  Other than that, I’m loving the cool breeze, the freedom of being away from the teacher’s compound (not the people – just all the issues!), and simply being a bit more outside the main city (or at least away from the main road!!!)
Here's where we were when I left for Christmas. Not so much is stored on the table now, thankfully!  Look at the sink... it's tiny!  Although this does show us coming a long way from when we first arrived...
A few moments in the first days of our house.  We didn't have a bottle opener, so I'm using a screwdriver in the upper left-hand corner to get the top off a soda.  A friend gave us the cute fanta opener the next day :).  On the right, this is Carley and I attempting to make ratatouille from a can - without a can opener.  Yes, we used a knife to open the can and pry it open.  Lastly, on the bottom left is a "to get" list for our new house.  Doesn't everyone need a new bow and arrow for their new place???

*We now have a second dog who resides in the garage (not sure if it’ll work out – she attacked our first dog, Bethlehem, the first day and wouldn’t let go of her leg… they’re not exactly on seeing-each-other-from-afar-terms at the moment…).  Bethi is currently outside my window barking.  We also have a cat somewhere around… moths living in my mosquito net, and a frog we just found in the toilet.  The ants haven’t discovered our house yet, but it seems the rest of the animal kingdom is enjoying it fully!

*I could use prayer for patience, as I’m finding I’m suddenly getting easily frustrated – about everything.  Like the kitchen sink.  (Literally!)  And well-meaning - but very talkative - kids.

*I miss people in the States.  I’m very thankful for relationships here.  Bos. (that’s all.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Days on the Field – or, My Home Away From Home

18 November 2010

I'm sitting across the kitchen table from one of my housemates, who is excitedly typing away on her computer.  The reason?  Her sister is in labor! 

We’ve been hearing about the upcoming due date (which was 10 days ago), and checking in daily to find out any new news.  Nothing… till now.

As I sit keeping her company… and hearing news from her brother-in-law about her sister’s all-night labor experience… it makes me think back to all the ways I can relate to her - even just a little - today.

Missing one of my best friend’s wedding…

Missing my brother’s wedding…

Missing Thanksgiving last weekend with my extended family… holidays… birthdays…

Most recently, I got to watch on Facebook as my cousin's little boy had his first birthday party.  This is a cousin-in-law-or-something that I've never seen (except in pictures), never met, never held, never made smile (or cry!)…
Happy Birthday, Logan!
Then again, there are a few things I've gotten to do - and be a part of - that I never could have done from MI.  Like visit my friends in Uganda for a few days as they prepared to bring their first two little boys home...
The Kalmbacher Klan... Part I!

As Kate and I sit here, we consider what it would have been like just 40 years ago on the field.  No way would she be talking to her brother-in-law in the delivery room via a computer... and through him, with her sister.  No way would she have been able to see pictures of her new niece just after she was born.  She would have gotten a letter in a month or two, hopefully with a picture included... 
Baby Emma and her proud parents! :)
 As I look forward to my weekly Skype date with my parents this Sunday, I realize that while I've given up some things, I have an abundance here as well.  Not only is communication easier these days (when the power is working!), but I have amazing friends, a wonderful network of people, and a great organization behind me here in Tanzania.  Not to mention that God loves me and has called me... and promises to stick with me no matter where I might go.  When it comes down to it, there's not much more I could ask for.  (Besides, maybe, an invite to the next wedding???)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Some Days, You Just Need to Laugh

24 October 2010

On the days when you’re riding on a bus that only gets up to 30km per hour, going downhill… and as you realize the bus has a set of six different types of horns, some of which sound like a machine gun or a circus… why not label the horn patterns with numbers?  1-3-2, 2-2-2, ooh! 6-(that’s the circus one)5-5…  It’s better to laugh than get frustrated!

On the days when relationships are hard, and the world seems against you, you may as well laugh as a friend puts a necklace around your neck… with no other reason than to try to make you smile.

On the days when you’re searching for a new place to live, you may as well learn to drive a bajaj along the way… and hope other drivers don’t get into accidents as they turn around for a second look at the white person driving the bajaj!

On the days when everything goes wrong, you may as well admit it’s a chocolate cake day and eat it with a silly smile on your face… while sharing with friends, of course!

On the days when you find yourself pacing the kitchen, opening and closing the fridge trying to find something to eat and knowing there’s nothing there while your stomach is grumbling… you may as well revel in the fun of saying “cheese chapattis” as you heat up the cooker!

On the days when the loud advertisement trucks are sitting outside the house blaring about something I don’t understand, (but which I definitely do not want to buy simply because of the fact that they are blaring loud-speakers outside my house…) why not yell “Jesus Loves You!” at the top of your lungs?  It makes you feel better, and at least you’re sharing something positive!

On the days when nothing goes right, it makes your heart smile to realize that your roommates made an emergency ice cream run for you on their own accord… and made homemade chocolate sauce for the banana splits!  With friends like these, who wouldn’t be smiling at least a little by the end of the day???

On the days when you run out of water and it takes you a six hour off-and-on process to boil and filter enough drinking water for the five people running in and out of your house… you may as well make up a random dance along the way!  And laugh, of course. The water will definitely taste better with a little laughter thrown in! :D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Month of Birthdays

To many, the month of September may seem just like every other month.  It has 30 days, usually includes a crisp in the air and falling leaves (in some parts of the world!), and means "back to school."  But here in Dar, we’ve discovered it’s a popular month to be born in – and celebrating these birthdays is a LOT of sugary fun!

It started with our housemate Kate's birthday, who was actually born in August… but who we’ve adopted into the month of September none-the-less. 

Then came Delicia’s birthday.  It was about this time that my housemate Marie got asked to make a wedding cake – and wasn’t really given a choice to say no – towards the end of the month.  So we decided we’d better get practicing!

We ended up going out to eat for her birthday, which was a lot of fun.  It’s a place where you can look out the window/open air holes and see the ocean coming right up to the building where you’re eating.  Very peaceful, very beautiful.

Then came Marie’s birthday.  We’re nearly twins, with birthdays 4 days apart and her being one of the closest people to a real sister that I’ve ever had!  Her mom got sneaky and sent presents, a card, and REAL mix-in-a-box cake with my parents back in July!  I had fun wrapping the presents and being the elf on this side of the world… and watching her tear up with surprise when she saw a hand-written card from her mom that morning!

Mama Christianson, I know you sent wrapping paper... but I'm pretty sure it's still in the bag that's lost in the Indian Ocean.  Or somewhere.  Glad you sent the handkerchiefs so I could get creative and use those instead!

For our birthdays, we decided to do game nights.  But since I had the chance to house-sit for a neighbor in a super-quiet area of town, I thought it would be nice to go there the weekend before.  Here are a few snapshots, including one of Marie and Erin carrying a cake for me in an open bajaj over holey dirt roads… trying to make it all in one piece without losing the cake in their laughter!  The bajaj driver’s comment – you girls sure are happy!

Marie had a bunch of people over to our house for Mexican on Friday, and we enjoyed fun games and lots of laughs as well.

Bananagrams, yeah.  It's a bit addicting... and I love getting new people excited about it, too!

On Friday, the day before my birthday, my kids made me laugh a lot when they refused to let me into my classroom.  I think the entire staff knew it was almost my birthday as they stood at the entrance to the school, waiting to block me on my way in.  One student’s witty remarks included, “Miss Lucas, you just can’t go to your classroom!  I don’t know why, but you can’t go up there.  You should stay down here and play with me on the playground instead!”

I tried to imagine dropping my backpack with my computer and plans on the ground, running over to the jungle gym, and climbing up the ropes with my kids… with kids walking into the school and many parents accompanying them!  Somehow, I just couldn’t make myself do it.  Instead, I begged for permission to go to the other side of the building, where a friend teaches first grade, to hang out instead.

They let me, after making me promise to cover my eyes on the way.

I gave the kids my keys, made my way up to the grade one classroom, and felt a bit sheepish as I laughed and wondered what they were up to.  Just before the bell rang, I received an invite to come back as they were “ready for me.” 

When I walked into the classroom, they all jumped out from their hiding places to surprise me.  Singing happy birthday, they led me to the door where they had all signed a poster.  And a few other girls showed me their posters outside which stated, “warning! Best teacher evers birthday!”

Saturday came and I nearly forgot it was my actual day of birth, after all the craziness of the week leading up to it.  I got to sleep in at the quiet, peaceful house I was housesitting, and got lots of great hugs from friends.  I got to visit a local craft place where disabled Tanzanians make beads and other crafts to sell and support their families.  Then off to home, where Erin had asked for a lovely lady to come give her a pedicure at our house (which she does to help earn money for school fees for her daughter.)

Erin surprised us all with a gift of a pedicure for our birthday month!  I had to laugh when Stella asked if she was doing ok – I had two prior experiences, both before weddings I was in, to compare it to.  But it was lovely, and I’m still amazed that my feet are actually this white after living in Tanzania for so long!

The night ended when many friends came to join us for a birthday meal at the same wonderful place we had gone for Delicia’s birthday.  It made me think back to other birthday meals I’d been surprised and blessed with in the past few years – and thankful for the amazing friends and love God has surrounded me with the world over!

While it’s always a bit hard – and weird – to celebrate birthdays far from “home,” it is good to know we have a God who takes care of us along the way… and supplies our every need in and through amazing people around us!

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!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Snapshot of Saturday

14 August 2010

We tend to do a lot of projects around the house on the weekends, none of which are actually planned.  Well, hold up.  Let me rephrase that.  We do actually plan, think through, and try to anticipate any needs or problems ahead of time.  But in the end, each project is always 10 steps longer and 15x more complicated than might be expected.  This is Africa, after all!

Today, we’ve been working on electrical projects.  I got a new lamp at a duka (little street-side store) down the street, but of course there was no cord or plug attached!  So we went across the street to get a wire, then set to work trying to put it all together.
I'm learning a lot these days - and I hope at least some of this knowledge will transfer over to 110 power in the States!  Grandpa, your amazing screwdriver set is already being put hard to work!  Thanks a million :)

We got a little hungry along the way.  Thanks to my amazing roommate, tuna with cheese sandwiches were on the menu.  Yum!

When we finally went to check the lamp for workability, we discovered that it takes a "bulbu ndogo" (small bulb, the candle-kind), which no one seemed to have up or down our street as we trekked around in a bajaj.  Hmm... maybe tomorrow! 

Later, we tried to repair our broken kettle for heating water.  As our amazing guard helped us with the technicalities, we watched our neighbor’s house get painted.  Note the following: 1. Nothing is securing the ladder, anywhere.  2. The ground isn’t even, so they just stuck wood under one side.  3. The rungs are uneven, a bit far apart, and definitely hand-constructed out of wood.  4. The plastic bag hat on the painter’s head!

Our trusty guard, Amani.  He loves doing this stuff, and is always volunteering to help us with our crazy endeavors of daily life living in Dar es Salaam

Here’s hoping your Saturday afternoon projects go a bit more smoothly – and safely - than ours!