July 25, 2010

allow me to introduce you...

This is my friend Sam.  He's been my wake-up call this weekend.  Yesterday and today, I heard a knock on the door that shook me from slumber.  8:38am, both days.  Like clockwork.  The reason he's been knocking on my door is a bit heart-breaking.  For the past few days, he's been coming over to retrieve bandages from my med kit because he has a gaping hole where his ankle used to be.  It was a farm accident, from what I can understand of the conversations that occur between the children when they come over.  Sam is one of the kids who has been transforming my heart over the past 8 months.  I remember having a bad first impression of him because of how recklessly he rooted through my property, but now he's one of my guardian angels here.  He will keep the other kids in check if they do something I don't like.  He also likes to help me with house chores, sometimes without any kind of provocation from me.  Like today, as I was washing some of my clothes, he picked up the mop and bucket and started mopping the living room.  Then he said the cutest thing after he started: "Wait,  the floor hasn't been swept first..."  So he picked up the broom :)

This is my friend Elise.  She is usually knocking on the door shortly after Sam comes over (I think they're siblings, but I'm not positive).  She wins the superlative of Child I Always Want To Pick Up And Hold The Most.  I don't know why.  She's just so adorable!  I can't even remember how it all started.  I think I just started tickling her one day and fell in love with her.  Maybe it's because she likes hugs as much as I do.  Whenever my little friends are over playing with all my stuff and I'm getting ready to leave, Elise always wants me to carry her outside (a total of about 7 feet).  How cute is that??

I don't know what it is about African kids, they're just so full of personality, even at such tender ages.  Without a doubt, the children of Africa have been the biggest blessing and the biggest challenge to my heart in the past 10 months.

Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."
- Luke 18:16-17

July 21, 2010

new kicks

Whoa, new layout!  My apologies if you liked the previous setup for some reason.  I like wide open spaces, especially when it comes to prose.  You can find a hodge-podge of stuff--which used to be in the sidebar--down at the bottom of the page.  Scroll down and check out the new video I uploaded today (!!), How to Wash Dishes in Zambia (it's from my trip to Zambia, in case you didn't catch it in the title).

July 18, 2010

let there be light!

...among other things.

It hasn't been very long since I created my Twitter account, but I already feel like I'm getting Twitter Brain. This is my name for the condition where you find yourself wanting to share every mundane detail of your life with the world, but can't for the life of you generate an interesting thought of any substance worthy of a blog entry. So I apologize for the following paragraphs, because they're basically just a collection of tweets.

The title of this post is an allusion to the electricity which is now flowing through the power lines in my house. Perhaps now I'll start cooking again, or better yet, heat some water and take a bath!

School's back in session, but I spent most of this past week in Dodoma with a focus group reviewing the education program here in TZ. I'm so unbelievably far behind I've resolved to simply teach whatever I can before November rolls around. There's no use in stressing myself out teaching a billion hours a week to catch up, since that wouldn't be fun for anyone, I doubt my students would benefit from it.

And today, I almost witnessed a pig slaughter! Just a few minutes late, the head had already been removed. They were taking out the innards, however, which was interesting to watch. I took video on my phone! If you'd like to see it, leave a comment and I'll put it on Youtube. I suppose I don't have to give you the warning about it being graphic, but it certainly isn't for the faint of heart (although you could probably handle it, dad).

Again, I apologize for the quality of this entry. If you want a good read, check out Caty's latest post in the sidebar below. It's heart-breaking, but a good commentary on Tanzanian culture regarding an all-too-familiar issue that many teenagers face worldwide.

Happy reading!

July 9, 2010

8 days in zambia

As promised, here is a synopsis of my trip to Zambia in greater detail.

My journey started when I flew to Lusaka on June 28th.  I got to the airport way too early (around 12:30 for a 4:30 departure), and in the Dar airport, check-in doesn't even start until 2 hours before international flights.  The flight was uneventful, especially when we started flying over Zambia.  As a matter of fact, while I was waiting for the flight, I read on Wikipedia that Zambia is one of the most urbanized African countries, not that it has a large population, but they're all concentrated along the roads and a few big towns (namely Lusaka).  Everywhere else is the accurately-named BUSH.  So when we were over Zambia, it was pretty obvious.  There is an incredible lack of civilization in Zambia which is unlike anything I've experienced in Tanzania (so far).  I remember thinking "oh look, there's a house" when the plane was landing.

July 8, 2010

how time flies...

...when you're doing a new thing.  Like jumping 20-foot waterfalls or biking 80km of the Zambian countryside.

I'm back from my Zambia excursion already (was that seriously 8 days???) and I just posted some pics on Flickr.  I did a pretty horrendous job of documenting my trip, so I apologize for the shortage of media.  Expect a couple of short videos to surface here soon, though.  I got some good footage of Ashley's favorite kid in her village, and your heart will melt when you see her!

I'll try to post a more elaborate synopsis of the trip in the near future.  There's a funny ending that is worthy of being dubbed a "wtf moment."