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Published: April 19th 2014
We had a day of lessons in archeology in preparation to doing excavations over the next couple of weeks. I wish I could be here longer, because the rains are slowing down our start and I may get very few days doing actual archaeology. There are a zillion steps to excavating a site, all to do with precise measurement of where every tiny object is on the site and at what exact depth. This is a slow and precise art with lots of photos and drawings, light troweling and soft brushing. I think I will like its meticulous and exacting nature. We had a large feast of roast chickens (from our flock, but we weren't here to see them caught and cooked) yucca, sweet potato, boiled corn, and salsas. We were celebrating Dan the project director's return to health, and we had invited the men from the ministry of culture to join us for lunch and a football (soccer) game. Often the teachers, or ministry members, or locals come for a football game to cement relationships. They take their football very seriously, so we were lucky that there were enough people who could play well that I and all the other
girls didn't have to play. Amateurs would not be looked on with humour. We ended our evening with beers in Huyro and a game of Uno (cards) with 10 people. There was lots of laughter. It's good game for two languages, because it is so simple.
We went to a school this day. Projects Abroad supplies toothbrushes and a fluoride treatment once or twice a year for the schools in the area. A dentist comes and gives a talk about plaque and proper brushing technique, then we paint each child's teeth with fluoride. I was not expecting the damage that we saw. Each and every child was missing most of their teeth to rot and the teeth that were there were mainly brown. Children with adult teeth were slightly better, but it was devastating. Dan, the director, talked to us about education here. 10 - 15 years ago, there was a lack of teachers, the govn't gave anyone who had finished grade 12 a lifetime contract to be a teacher. So the schools were filled with people who had no training and could never be asked to leave, therefore didn't have to a good job if they found that
they didn't like their job. In an attempt to improve things a few years ago they had a basic test for teachers to take to get a sense of their standing, academically. 151 teachers out of 150 000 teachers passed. The students of this area are achieving 0% on the national standard tests. Education is a disaster here, and therefore health suffers too. It's hard to believe, the poverty is not as extreme here as it is in Tanzania, but children in Tanzania have strong teeth with much less decay. Education, as always is key, in improving life style. Here everyone can go in public education, but the public schools are so bad that there is no education. In Tanzania, not everyone can go and the teaching is rigid, but the standards are much higher. I can see the difference.
In the afternoon, it was cleaning day or library and lego. I stayed to clean our home.
The next day, our work was to move a pile of sand from a spot near the house to beside the pool that we are creating by the stream. It was satisfying and gruelling work. It's a slog up the road
The rainbow in our backyard
and then through a muddy field. One would think that I would get tired of the physical labour and instead I feel fantastic. I love the pace of continuous motion in the jobs, and even more I love looking up to the surrounding mountains wreathed in sun and clouds, turning everything a tapestry. Most of the crew left, either in the morning or after lunch. There are only 4 of us volunteers staying over the weekend. So we had the afternoon nap. I read under my bug net and felt completely luxurious. I got a ride into town to check email and have a beer, but walked back for the first time. To walk back is to walk in the dusk and then dark. There are fireflies all the way and the moon is getting full. It was a wonderland. We completed the day with a number of rounds of Yahtzee. You can't help but feel part of a family when you work eat and play together, no TV, no isolation unless we read. And always a good sleep with the stream gurgling, lots of bird sound, the roosters in the morning and an honest tired from the day's work.
Good Night and Sweet Dreams.
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