Monday, June 16, 2008


Life in Africa, thus far at least, is completely erratic. One day I'm planning on coming home in the next week, the next day I'm feeling as if I never want to leave. Last week was particularly difficult due to financial, food, and safety issues on both our volunteer program's and the orphanage's part. Watching the trip you planned for 2 years seeminly wash away in front of your face is a difficult reality to bear. It's hard to put into words the amount of frustration and stress I felt last week. Being here in Tanzania, particularly the Village, is very overwhelming due to the incredible amount of need that is coupled with bigger picture issues of corruption, racism, and poverty. It will take time to work through these big picture issues, but I'm constantly journaling and talking to the other volunteers in hopes of having some clarity on the situation.

We're still on for building Pastor's house. We've had to be assertive about our desire to complete this project as our volunteer program would like us to simply focus our attention on the orphanage. We plan on keeping the orphanage as our main priority and spending our alotted 6 hours a day volunteering there. In our free time, however, we plan on using our own money to assist Pastory in completing his home. Getting dirty and doing physical work will be very rewarding and we hope to have the house completed in full before we leave in 6 weeks.

School went well today. We missed the first half of the school day due to a late start to the day (breakfast at our hostel across town wasn't prepared on time). I was able to complete a basic assessment on the first grade class. I graded the first part of the assessment over the weekend and it's evident that some of the students are doing well, while others are struggling. The plan is to divide the students into groups according to their ability and then teach from there. Luckily I have an incredible mother in-law who has been assisting me with coming up with creative lesson plans and ideas to use in a classroom with no resources.

Pastor invited us over for lunch this afternoon to surprise his wife and eldest niece, W. They were both happy to see us and immediately ran to us with huge grins on their faces shouting, "Caribou sane!!!" (You're very welcome!). It was great getting to see Pastor's family once again and to be warmly welcomed into their home. I was told by Mama that H., Pastor's 13 year old niece, wore a purple suit to church on Sunday. Mama told me, "Michelle, H. looked so smart at church. She sang so beautifully with her new suit!" I owe Michelle English a big thank you for the clothes she donated. Everyone in Pastor's family was finally wearing a new outfit today. The pride and joy on their faces was felt by everyone at their home.

Moment of the day:
Having my students color pictures of their names. As each child finished their name, I hung it on the wall in their classroom. Every child beamed with pride and whispered to their friend each name as it was taped up. I've never seen a classroom of children so excited and happy to see their own names taped to the wall.

PS: Still not able to add pictures. More attempts later.


Mom said...

I'm missing you like CRAZY! I tried to call this morning @ 5am prior to going to work but no answer. If you get this in time keep your phone near tommorrow and I'll try again.
Dad had a nice fathers day, Jess got him his favorite; Dilly Bars.
I hope things are better, although I'm not sure from your blog. To me the most important thing is your Health, Saftey, and happiness, if you don't have those then it's not worth it. Remember there are great things that you can do here also, and lots of people in need. I support you in any and all decsions you make.
Love, hugs and kisses every minute of everyday.