Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Here is a video of my first days in Africa. Sorry if it is incredibly small, my upload capabilities are SLOW! And I can't see it, so I have no idea what it looks like. Oh, and the song really has no meaning other than that it has the word "Africa" in it....don't judge :)
Speaking of small rooms, I moved into my very small room this weekend. Although, seeing the lady's house, puts my “small” room into perspective. While it is small for our standards, it is very cozy and is all that I need. Once, I get it entirely set up, I will include a picture of it – not that it is that exciting. What is exciting, is that I have a space that is my own. For two weeks, I was living in other people's houses and living out of suitcases (I spent most of my time trying to remember what I had packed in which suitcase), so I am thrilled to have a spot to put my stuff and a room to call my own. Looks like I will be living in this room until April, when a new family will move here and they will get this house. The house we are currently living in is a house for families, so all the single people will be moved to different apartments that are more suited (i.e. smaller) for single people. I will enjoy it for now though :)
I am including pictures of me with the lady whose house we went to and her son. She is wearing the traditional “holiday” clothing and I think that is henna on her neck – not sure though. Somehow, despite dirt everywhere and no proper facilities, she managed to keep her white dress spotless. I am also including a picture of the room that was her house – you can't see it too well, but it will give some idea of the situation.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I apologize for not writing these past few days – it has been a whirlwind of activity, sickness, and exhaustion here, so I was trying to rest and recuperate when I wasn't getting oriented to the area. My supervisors and I left the village on Sunday and came back to the capitol. I have moved into my house here in the city and will be here at least until the end of May. I have two young American girls here who are my roommates and they are also here learning language (not the same as mine). By our standards, the house is fairly mediocre, but by their standards, it is extremely nice. If you can afford to do so, it is standard here to have a cook and/or housekeeper as well as a guard. At first I was appalled at the idea of paying someone to cook and clean for me and a guard (think more like a butler or concierge and less like a guard) just seemed a little extravagant, but since it is expected, I guess I will oblige :) It is certainly nice to have, but honestly it is still a little weird and I feel a little bit like a ridiculously spoiled American.
Now that I am in the city, I am sure that the blog posts will slow down some as things aren't quite as different here as they are out in the village. For now, I am settling into my house, taking care of all the logistical stuff (registering with the embassy, etc), and trying not to fry all of my electronics when I plug things into the outlets here! I officially start language learning next Monday and am excited/nervous about that. A girl from my people group will be working with me one on one teaching me the language. I will be one of 3-5 other Americans with our company that have ever learned this language and I am the first to be learning in the city, not the village (which is supposedly better because of access to resources and language helpers). The language is central to the “work” that will be done in the village. To them, their native language is everything, so to be able to communicate Truth to them in their native language is of extreme importance. Until now, most of the workers have been using the national language to communicate in the village, but only the town people know that language. The people in the rural areas and those involved in the goat project can only speak their native language, not the national language. The difference here between the village and the city would be equivalent to the difference between Ellenton (for those not from my hometown, just think of the most boondock town you know) and Atlanta – huge!
We were driving on Saturday and came across a shipment of camels. I took a picture of them transferring them from one truck to another for your enjoyment. Don't ask me any questions – I don't really understand what was happening, I just took a picture of it until a guy came running up to me and told me I couldn't do that....ooopsie :)
By the way, I am unable to actually see my blog due to slow internet, so please forgive me if something looks weird or pictures are too small – I am only able to post, not view!
Saturday, January 1, 2011
We made a visit today to one of the women's homes who is in the goat program. It was my first time inside one of the huts and I must say they are quite impressive. They are much larger inside than they appear outside, which is good, because the whole family (to have 6-8 kids is not uncommon here) as well as all of the livestock sleep in there together. I'll call the lady Sarah that we were visiting. She was cooking bread in between corn husks on a giant griddle over a fire in the middle of the hut (see pic below). Apparently, the smoke keeps out the mosquitos and flies so it is welcome with the fire. She also fixed and served us tea. Due to my still queasy stomach, I declined both the bread and the tea. Sarah only had 4 children and you could tell that they were all fairly well fed and taken care of, however the youngest, who was one, was sick with malaria and was such a pitiful sight to see. Sarah started out with three goats a little less than two years ago and now has 8 goats, so she is a success story with the program. Once they have a small herd built up, they can use the milk to help feed their families or they can sell the goats for money to support their families.
Before we left, I took a picture of the 20 or so children who had found their way inside the hut to watch us. We seem to be quite the novelty around here. Anytime we drive through a village, little kids run out to the street from every direction and cry out “money, money” “money, money.” Not sure who got that little saying started, but it is both funny and sad to see and hear. Anyways, when I held up the camera at Sarah's house, all of the kids rushed together so that they could be in the picture, but when I stepped back so that I could get them all in, they followed me. They didn't understand what I was doing. After I took it, they all crowded around to see what it looked like and excitedly pointed themselves out in the picture on my screen (see pic below). It's pretty safe to say that kids are kids everywhere!
Well, it is New Year's Eve night and no where close to midnight, but I am going to attempt to sleep so that tomorrow is a little more smooth than today!
I have included a picture of one of the baby goats from our project as well as a picture of one of the young girls (note the baby arms and legs you can see :)
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Some of the highlights from today:
I learned my first three words in the language I will be speaking. First word learned today was coffee or Cawa (sp?). This is a very important word to learn since they drink lots of it here! Second word I learned was one of their words for God - Goshta (sp?). I would say that this is also an important word to know :) My third word learned after my third cup of much needed coffee for the day was akdulen, which means “of the finest quality,” as in, “that cawa was akdulen.”
A surprising highlight of the day was found in the food I ate for lunch. I had lamb tibs, which is lamb fried with onions, pepper, and egg and it was yummy! No more injera for me - this stuff was good :) As it turns out, they cook much of their food with lots of butter – so much for losing weight! My appetite has certainly been good since I've been here. Good thing I get to wear elastic waist skirts, huh?
Not only is the coffee here good, but it is also cheap! The four of us drank a cup at a restaurant named Dallas (yes, Dallas) and our total bill was less than 60 cent! Coffee here would be called espresso at home and it is very strong and served in espresso size cups. We ordered macchiatos which as far as I could tell was espresso with cream and sugar. It would rival anything ordered at Starbucks, and at 15 cent each, I think they've got Starbucks beat!
I also got to use my first “squatty potty” in country today. We had the opportunity at training to use the one available, but I somehow managed to evade that opportunity :) No more evasion here. Nothing but two spots for your feet and looking down into a concrete hole (and those are considered nice ones). I hear that there is a skill to this, but not sure I have managed it just yet. Although most would consider me to be a “country” girl, I really never did pride myself on going to the bathroom outside....thankfully. I am sure I will learn the tactics quickly and will be a pro at it in no time – not that I really have a choice either way :)
I took more pictures of the grass huts and what I like to refer to as an “African hayfield.” I would post them, but the internet is not really cooperating. Hopefully later!