August 21, 2011

house "innovations"

I'm back at my house as of yesterday evening, and it looks like a dust devil has wrecked havoc on its insides. Mostly because of the ongoing renovations that started while I was gone.

Two weeks ago, my headmaster grew worried about what he had to do to get ready for my replacement; Peace Corps had sent him a letter about coming to Dar to pick up the new Volunteer, but they hadn't told him how to prepare for his arrival. To quell his fears, I gave him a tour of my house and provided a list of repairs he should make before the end of August. He repeatedly called these repairs "innovations," which I find so hilarious and strangely heart-warming that I haven't corrected him yet. As a matter of fact, I might start using it that way myself just for the hell of it.

So now I've returned, and much to my delight, something actually got done while I was gone! Granted, it would've been nice if they'd run a broom across the floor after they finished working, but the back room finally looks livable! I'd actually like to move my bed in there now (see video). Also amazing is that they patched the hole where the bats were getting in (and more recently a swarm of bees, don't ask), so I think that problem is finally taken care of.

They still have some ceiling boards to put in above the kitchen, but I consider the house already substantially improved from its condition throughout the past 2 years. Hopefully the next volunteer will keep it this way, and the bats won't find another way in...

August 19, 2011

cos conference is over, but my service isn't

It's official: I'm extending for a 3rd year!

I'm still exhausted from last night's "closing ceremonies" and subsequent 4-hour dance party, not to mention the interview this morning that sealed the deal, so I'm not going into detail, but I'm working with a project called TZ21 Basic Education. It's essentially an initiative to incorporate computers and ICT frameworks into primary schools in Mtwara region and on Zanzibar. From the meeting I had with the Chief of Party, it sounds like I'm headed for Mtwara. I am, however, attending a team building retreat in about 2 weeks here in Dar, and participating in a 2-week-long needs assessment on Zanzibar right after. So most of my time in September will be spent away from site. Perfect timing really, since that's when my replacement will arrive. He'll get to spend a good amount of time getting to know the lay of the land on his own, which is what I was hoping for.

I'm not sure what will happen after that; it all depends on when my accommodations down south are ready. I wasn't given a time-frame for that, but I'd imagine end of September or sometime in October would certainly be reasonable.

So yeah. Exciting times. You can stop worrying now, Mom and Dad!

August 7, 2011


July was a low key month for me. Mostly because I had to live on less than $40 after my vacation on Zanzibar (totally worth it). We started back at school around the time of my last post, and I've been busy teaching Form II and Form III Physics ever since. I also started a computer class for interested students after school. We've only met one week so far because of the electricity situation (don't ask), but I'm hoping to have them word processing and filling out spreadsheets with practical applications. My idea right now is to have them create a budget for the school's Form IV graduation ceremony, and then write a cover letter for it to the Headmaster who will "approve" it and release the funds (all hypothetical of course, but it may be cool to have the headmaster's stamp on their hard-copy budgets). After that, I'd really just like to teach them  touch-typing; they pretty much know how to navigate the applications of a computer, but none of them can type without staring at the keyboard.