Published: June 20th 2011June 20th 2011
I put in the so many bana trees quote because that is what Nesta always says when the two two of us walk into Masele's farm. There really is...so many banan trees. bUt i just love how she says it with her African accent.
I spent the last week at Pawaga camp (sadly it was my last...but more on that later). On our way up to Pawaga camp from Iringa, we passed through Ilolo Mpya village, where apparently they were having their monthly 'free market' . Which means anyone can sell anything there. It was huge!! We stopped and took a look around. You could find ANYTHING there, but what stood out most in my mind were the Obama shirts. We saw a couple of kids wearing them. I have been meaning to write about the admiration these people feel for Obama, I just havent yet. Frequently, when locals find out I'm from America, they exclaim OBAMA OBAMA! to which I reply, yes, Obama is our president, some of them get extremely excited. He is very celebrated here due to the fact that he is half Kenyan. When he won the presidency, a market was created for Obama products. We found Obama gum in one of the stores in the market! It sucks, and only lasts about 1 minute, but I'm bringing a perice home anyway, its just too classic. I also see his picture on random buildings too. Anyway, a TON of shirts were made with Obama's picture on it with various phrases various colors types etc after he won. Devin bought one that screams american patriotism...Its a huge picture of obama's face with an american flag in the background and under his face it says CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN! in big bold letters. It was made in TZ and It's pretty epic. I found a shirt that was made for a woman, it was yellow and just said Obama on it with some fancy design in the background, and the funniest thing was under the name Obama, it said Abercromble and Filch. so really it was a rip off of an Abercrombie and Fitch shirt, but it was made in TZ! I thought that was awesome, I almost almost almost bought it, but in the end didnt (people in America wouldnt really get it if I wore it around, plus I dont want to label myself as a complete liberal)...but I got a great picture of it!
The next day in Pawaga camp, I again went to Masele's farm with Nesta. He gave us several bananas to take back to camp and I figured this was a good time to practice carrying stuff on my head, like all the women here do. It was suprisingly hard! Even with just a few bananas, they kept falling off and I had to walk extremely slow to keep them on, while Nesta, on the other hand, was having no issues and was walking swiftly back to camp and the bananas stayed perfectly balanced on her head. Later, I went swimming in the river again with Nesta, and Juma's (our night askari (gaurd)) children (5, 7 and 8) joined us as well. They were in the river anyway catching fish. When little kids hang out with a mzungu, all they really do is stare at you. I played a chasing game with them in the river, and then, somehow, I ended up showing them American dance moves. I'm not exaclty sure how that came up, but it was rather hilarious. I taught them the chicken dance (which they ended up becoming obsessed with...haha great), macarena, hand jive, disco, shopping cart, robot, grease lightning and some Nsync dance moves, as well as the skill of patting their head while rubbing their belly. Only one of them got it down. They all thought it was hilarious and were having a great time! They mimicked EVERYTHING i did and also kept humming the chicken dance, even long after we were done swimming. I got video of them doing it.
On my safari trip this week, I had another really great group of villagers. One of them spoke english pretty well too, so I had some good conversations with him. Something funny happned too. we came across a group of 5 male elephants, a few which had their dongs hangin out for all the world to see (and they were rather long too, I would guess 3ish feet, haha). The villagers started laughing their heads off at this. Just goes to show that sexual things are hilarious anywhere, not just America. I was surprised at this.
On my last day (possibly ever) at Pawaga, we had a great time. After our post interviews, we returned to camp for lunch where I had to take one last swim in the crocodile infested (okay, i guess its not really infested, since only one small croc lives in it) river. Nesta, Felisto, Rowland and Julius all joined me. We had a grand old time splashing around and doing belly flops. We then made a 'zebra' picture, both in water and on land with the rest of the volunteers. A 'zebra' is a picture with africans and mzungus alternate and are standing next to each other, so its a black person standing next to a white standing next to black etc. Efectively it makes a zebra since their stripes are black and white. haha get it? I thought it was a hilarious concept when Julius brought it up I couldnt stop laughing, and I had to have that picture. Luckily I got a couple :). (they were taken on my camera anyways). Juma, Nesta and Masaele as well wanted pictures with me to remember me by. Juma and I took one with his kids in it. this was 2 days after the dancing lessons, and they came into camp again STILL humming the chicken dance and wanted me to do the dances again with them. They were so cute. I got some great pictures that day and will really really miss everyone and Rafiki. I came to love that dog, even though he is quite misbehaved. He was my little buddy. I made some great friends at Pawaga camp and will never ever forget them and the experiences I had during my time there. Off to Chogela camp now for 5 days, then I leave Africa pretty much...which is becoming too depressing to bear almost...it feels like home here...I love the east african wilderness. It's unlike anything I've ever seen or anywhere I have ever been.