November 19, 2011

Week 12: ISP Week 2, or Always Room for One More in the Dala-Dala

Saturday once again, and time to stock up on provisions. We all headed into town in the morning to do some shopping for the week at the food and clothing markets. We rode an extremely full dala-dala into town. On the way in, my homestay mama from Bangata called me to say hello. I picked up my cell and everyone fell silent and turned to look at me as I conducted a conversation with my mama in Kiswahili.

In town we got burgers for the first time in weeks. They were delicious. Then we headed to the clothing market to bargain hard for some new threads. Upon returning to the house, it was time for our first communal weekend meal, which I was in charge of: PANCAKES. Everyone contributed an ingredient and I cooked. Breakfast for dinner never satisfied so well.

Sunday was a lazy day at the house for most, although I spent the day applying to internships. Monday was spent similarly since I had no interviews scheduled. On Tuesday, things started picking up. I had an interview at 9am with Mr. Symplis and one at 11am with Aisha. They both went really well. I feel so fortunate that my interviewees speak great English and want to talk to me about bees and beekeeping. They all have been working with bees for over 20 years and are experts in their field and they love what they do. Nothing is better than interviewing enthusiastic and knowledgeable people.

Mr. Symplis runs the shop and sells honey, but he is also a researcher and has been working with bees for longer than I have been alive. Aisha is also a researcher and runs some of the trainings offered through the center. She started with bees in 1991, the year I was born. I can’t say much about the content of the interviews because that would give too much away, but I learned a lot about the center and how it manages beekeeping in Tanzania.

I was most excited for my interview on Wednesday with the librarian Rosemary. She has been watching over me since I began my study and is always there to encourage me when I get frustrated. Rosemary and I talked for a half hour about the center and its goals and successes/challenges and I could feel my project forming – which is a great feeling after my first week of data collection.

Wednesday was American food day for us in Arusha. We went out for burgers again (which were better than on Saturday) and then headed to the SIT office to relax until our Academic Director’s son’s 12th birthday party. We went out for pizza (American food part 2). It was a surprise that all of us were going to be there and it was a lot of fun. We ate the best pizza in Arusha and drank soda and sang “happy birthday.” We had dinner early and with our boxed pizza in hand caught a dala-dala home (they stop running at 8pm).

All seven of us got into an already full dala-dala, but hamna shida, there is always room for more in the dala-dala. We were comfortably squished with the other passengers and promptly began to offer pizza to anyone who wanted any. “Karibu pizza,” we said, “sorry, it’s American food, but it’s tamu sana (very delicious).” We were able to get rid of a few pieces and then pawn the rest of it (5 pieces) on an older man whom we had convinced to just try some. He clearly was pleased with his first bite and took the rest of the pizza to go.

Thursday was another no interview day, but I was contacted for my first interview for an internship. I gave my Tanzanian phone number and factored in the time difference for a 2:30pm EST interview. That would be 10:30pm Tanzania time. Miraculously, I didn’t lose service and the interview went as planned, and well, I hope.

Thursday also marked the one-week countdown to Thanksgiving. All American citizens in Tanzania are invited to the American Chamber of Commerce Thanksgiving dinner next week in the capital. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to make it- no turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, stuffing, or cranberry sauce for us; only ramen noodles and PB&J or maybe rice and beans if we go out. Never have I craved a Thanksgiving sandwich so much in my life. You know the leftover sandwiches made with the entire Thanksgiving meal between two pieces of bread? *Note for my parents who are reading this: please freeze a plate of Thanksgiving food for me so that I may enjoy it upon my return, Thanks.

And finally, Thursday was the announcement of the U.S. Professor of the Year Awards of which my mother was a recipient. Congratulations Mom!!!

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1 Comment

  1. There’s nothing better than Ramen Noodles for Thanksgiving. It gives a strong appreciation of things to come in the future.

    says johnny
    November 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm
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