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February 21st 2014
Published: February 21st 2014
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Our second week of work and everything is beginning to feel easier. I get blisters cutting vegetables. My legs stretch into a crouch better, although Momma Johanna ( the cook and cleaner for the school) makes me take the bucket to sit on half the time. I am beginning to learn student names and I am understanding the rhythm of everything much better. The schooling here is very traditional, with lots of copying, and echo back chanting. Much of it is too difficult for the little ones, and there are not enough people to go around to help students one on one. I watch their boredom and restlessness grow and know that any of my answers to help will not be accepted or space requirements mean that it is just not possible. I can get to students and help individuals in a wild flurry of hands pulling at me to help, help, help. They do want positive feed back, and any ounce of attention is pounced on and fiercely guarded from others. Those that aren't getting attention are getting wilder and wilder till the room is complete chaos. Today the playground had tons of broken glass. When I start to pick glass up, the children start to help too, so I have to stop. All you do is throw it further away into the taller weeds, so that the children won't keep stepping on it. It sounds worse than it is. It is just so different, that I try to give a picture of the conditions. At the same time, there are students who are jokers, students who are shy, students who are trying really hard and students who fall asleep. It is much the same as in the classrooms at home.

This week we went for home visits. Isaac visits the families that are the worse off and brings them some staples. We share how their children are doing at school and Isaac shares stories about their background with us. None of the homes we visited had electricity. Some were made of brick, but had no windows or wall board. The chickens had a room as well. Some of the homes were made from mud covered stone and brick with dirt floors. There were no windows, so the light only comes from the doorway. W haven't been into a Maasai house yet. They are round and made of wood cover with a mud paste. There are some designs built into the outside walls with ropes of mud.

We can hardly ever take pictures, it is not considered polite or anyone caught in the shot will ask for money. I hope I will be able to get some images to share before we leave.

We joined other volunteers for supper on Thursday. They are scattered all over doing journalism, medical care, construction and nursery work like us. We were hoping that someone would join us for a safari next weekend to cut the costs, but nobody bit. The restaurant is in a part of town I hadn't seen yet. The side that holds the big hotels and large properties of the rich. It is disconcerting to walk out of the third world into the first. The East Indian meal was delicious, and was definitely an interesting night out. The woman who sat beside me works for projects abroad. She comes from Kenya and told us how hard it had been to adjust to Tanzania. At home everyone moved fast, got things done and were on time, here everything moves in slow motion. Isaac had told me the same story. She also told me how her mother was always trying to fatten her up. Men only turn and stare at full bodied women who pass on the stet. This is why some volunteers had difficulties in their placements because they didn't know how to refuse the pressure to eat more from their hosts. We got home by cab since to walk at night is completely unsafe and the cabs are very cheap.

Good Night and Sweet Dreams


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