Saturday, June 14, 2008
The real Tanzanian adventure has truly begun. I moved into the village almost two weeks ago now and am loving it. Mbande, is located just north east of dar es salamm and takes about 1 1/2 hrs to get there by daladala. The ;ast town census showed the population to be 5000 including the surrounding hamlets. It is quite peaceful and very typical of a coastal Zaramo village with the majority of the population being muslim but still maintaining some of there traditional practices.
The first few days were tense and i was ready to pack up and leave, but i resisted the urge and i'm glad i did. The major concerns at first were of course not being able to understand anyone, as they don't speak as clearly as language instructors and the communal living. Being a person who likes my own space alot it was really hard with people continually coming into my house and staring at me or taking things. But i quickly learned to tell them i needed to work and they will leave me alone. (Of course i have become less of a curiousity as well)
The children are amazing they helped me through the first few days, which i mainly spent playing with them or drwing pictures of them playing. The adults are alittle harder to get along with as they are very stuck in their ways and like things just so. But a few of them partidularly Baba Maje (one of my "guards") and mama afidhi were exceptionally helpful.
Life is very slow and chill here. I usually wake up at about 6am and have some chai and read. After i play with kids, do my dishes and possibly wash some clothes. I read alot (Finished three books) and draw and write poetry (which i haven't done in years). On days when other students come to visit usually i help prepare a big meal with the women and we go for a nice long walk. The area is incredibly beautiful bordered by two valleys which are amazing, I would love to have a house in one of them. I definitely find myself getting bored some times but now that i understand everyone i can start my research comfortably.
Yesterday was Mama afidhi's sherehe for her marriage (althopugh she actually got married last summer) In preperation her and i went and got our hair done (I got braids and she got her hair straightened and styled) We also got our arms, hands, legs and feet painted with henna. Here they call it Chola (Literally to draw) and they call the ink piko. I am enjoying it very much as i'm sure you can all imagine and people are know calling me a Tanzaian or Zaramo (depending on where i am).
I also got some clothes made, called Kitamba, and i am going to pick it up this afternoon. I am very excited. This weekend i'm off to Zanzibar for the full moon.