Saturday, October 01, 2005

another beautiful day in africa

hello everyone! the weather here has greatly improved recently. the days have become warm and actually quite hot in the sun. the nights are still on the chilly side...well i would call it down right cold. there is not too much new to report. this past week i had my first village meeting where i sat down with about 20 people and explained who i am and how i expect projects to be instigated (by them not i am a mere facilitator) but all of this had to go in swahili! then there was graduation for standard seven (the end of primary school, which is where most people end thier education). the age varies with the students, as many students are not too certain about thier exact ages. but standard seven is about 12-14 years old maybe. i was one of the speakers at the graduation. i had my swahili teacher help me write a short speech on aids and decisions that they will soon face. my villagers are somewhat lucky. there is at least 2 large companies in the area that they can find employment timber and one tea. lucky being a bit of an optimistic view. long hours low pay. but it does bring in outside income to the village. they also will become farmers. and some of the girls will go off to the city to become servants. there are very view that will continue on to secondary school from my village because there is not one currently close by. not only do the families have to provide school tuition but they have to then provide housing as well which is costly. but they have approval now to start building one in the area, which should be completed before i leave!!! there are also a few vocational school starting up. i visited a seamstress school recently that is a bikeable distance from my village. it is $60US a year and it is a two program and that provides all room and board. so for $120 a child gets the gift of a skilled trade. and a chance to live out of the village for a brief time. the next start of classes is in January, and i might try to help sponsor some girls from my village. maybe help them raise the money somehow selling bread or something. as you can see this is a fairly raw idea in the making.

so guess what the most exciting part of the week was?!?!?! I GOT MAIL!!!! yea! peace corps for some reason sent my mail to the wrong district. so i have now read the mail that was received in dar from august till mid september. i got LOTS of letters from you guys!!!! thanks so much. i look forward to sitting down and responding to them through the next week back at my village. many people have asked me if there is anything they can send me....ANYTHING!!! if is from the states, i would love it. i have actually had a bit of personal tastes change. so now i would probably be considered quite girlie. so some lotion in a ziplock bag in an padded envelope...perfect...even the little travel size bottles rock. body scrubs. conditioning treatments. also any seasoning packets.... taco seasoning, gravy packets...oh those lipton homestyle chicken packet dinners. i know that these high processed foods are probably not the best thing... but the cravings for convience here is astounding. so go the store and find something that fits in an envelope that i can make with water, milk, butter, eggs. dollar store children toys. most kids in the village play with plastic bags bunch together wrapped in string. so anything is an upgrade...maybe some cheap markers or something. whatelse? oh some yogurt culture packets would be nice...into making my own yogurt these days, but i cant find starter here. oh and always beef jerky! hee hee. oh and any magazine. i prefer harpers (thanks jen!!!!!!), atlantic monthly, and any newspaper or articles you think i might like that you get off the net. whatever. books (though expensive to send). so i am also living in a completely empty house. so any thing like taper candle holders, (that is the only size available) PICTURES, shane and juliet i would love to have some pics of the new place. you too kiersten. anypics of people hanging out. i am making a wall of pictures in my living room.

what else??? well i am heading back to village tomorrow. and will probably be back online in a couple of weeks. planning a trip in mid-october to visit from friends in the district south of mine. hmmm...i guess i should sign off now and post this. i am going on a brief hike today up to some of the rocks that overlook the city (i am in iringa right now) i think i will pick up some cheese and bread and wine for a picnic. life in africa is SO difficult, let me tell you!!!!

i hope all is well back home. thanks again to everyone for the letters!!!! i will read everyone of them a million times each i am sure!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey "friends of Jane" I am sticking October's Atlantic in the mail for Jane-o as I purchased it recently for my in-flight reading.
Just figured it would be best to not send her Jen

6:26 AM  

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