Friday, December 2, 2016
Tanzania part one: Weston and Jeany
We were driven every day to the village of Inala by our wonderful driver, Moses. In Inala, we helped lead a solar lamp workshop where the people of Inala learned to make solar lamps (quite redundant, I know.) I loved to get to create a solar lamp and help other participants create something of great value. I loved the technical aspect and learned more about how electronics work.
During our nights, we would go back to our hotel, get food from the little restaurant a few blocks away, and eat beans and rice almost every night.
It was extremely hot, and you'd have to go to the market to get food for lunches, which we would eat in Inala. At the market, there would be many mangos, watermelons, and pineapples. I loved the mangos and I have never tasted any mango as good as some of the ones I ate there.
It has taken me over a month to come back to writing this blog, or should I say, rewriting this blog post. Way up over the Tanzanian landscape, in a small Precision Air plane, I poured out my thoughts on Tanzania so far, with many funny and challenging stories, all the while listening to an American missionary seated behind me spout surety on American politics. ...That blog got lost when
So, it is with heavy heart that I start again. You'll have to forgive my whining, and please don't tell me what we should have done or known. For right now, it is enough to begin. We want to acknowledge and honor the last three weeks of our huge adventure and to put it in writing so that those who are not right near us can hear the stories and get a glimpse. And so we can value our experiences, both joyous and challenging.
Tanzania was hot hot hot. Hotter than where we were in Kenya, and near the sea (Dar es Salaam), it was humid as well. It often bemused me, as I walked in the village, or sat on balance beam width benches in a room the size of my small kitchen with 17 others 2 hours one afternoon, how the sweat would trickle down my spine here, but back home there was snow and below freezing temperatures. We would check the Rosebud temperature on Dave's phone, and compare. Then we would chat with the locals about the differences while they waited for their turn to solder the wires on their home-made solar lamps. We'd talk about the changing hours of daylight through the year (to the puzzlement of Equator living folk), we'd try and describe the Northern Lights (they thought we were crazy), and whenever it came to the snow, ice and cold, they would look at us with pity and shake their heads slowly asking, "how do you survive?!" We would chuckle and think of our small home, glowing with light and warmth and the sparkling snow outside and think of insulated walls, and heating, and ovens and neighbors.
Mango trees are massive. I mean HUGE. They are so much taller and fuller than ANY fruit tree I have ever seen, (and that includes mom and dad's massive Detering Gravenstein). And while we were there, they were LADEN with mangos. LADEN. "ma embe" in Swahili. And they were delicious. We bought a knife at the market so we could eat mangos on our lunches in the village. We would also often pickup some eggs, which our small hotel staff would boil for us, and take some left over chapati from breakfast (a soft, layered, flour tortilla fried in oil). Our dinners mostly consisted of rice and beans, which were quite good, and we developed a craving for pineapple soda (cold, if possible). All the fruits were luscious and fresh: pineapple, mango, passion fruit, oranges, bananas, as well as cucumbers, ground nuts (little peanuts), and tomatoes. We rarely had meat, but when we did it was either a beef and chili stew (for breakfast!) or we would splurge and buy chicken. Twice we had some nice curry dishes at a hotel nearby that served supper. That was succulent and expensive.
When we arrived, I was sent to work with the mamas in the kitchen. I was grateful, because I wanted to chop the vegetables on a counter, rather than on the floor, which Dave and the boys were doing with the fruit in the front room. But the mamas did not lead me to a kitchen per se, they led me right through the house and out the back door to the little smoke house where they had their fire stove on the dirt. Of course. What was I thinking? I marveled at the mama who could stir a huge pot of rice on that little fire. She would feed the long branches into the flames gradually and lift the hot handles with the edges of her skirt instead of oven mits.
But overall, it was a wonderful experience. Once you share a meal with someone, you have a kinship with them -- a softer understanding of what you have in common, and I was glad to help provide and prepare along with the women and orphans of Tabora.
There are SO MANY more adventures to share. But I will go ahead and post for now. More to come soon, God willing.