Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Things truly do work out

Here I was so worried about Christmas break and it's turning out just swimmingly!!! I started volunteering at an orphanage and met one of the managers on Tues. We went to what she appropriately calls the "African Starbucks" and then daladalaed to the girls' home (she doesn't like the word orphanage). There is a lot of legal stuff going on as she is trying to help another orphanage, but there are people who are there for the wrong reasons, so it's complicated. But this girls' home is a two story, very spacious, girls' home with toys, puzzles, and 1 hr of school each day. They know very little English so it's a good opportunity for me to practice my Swahili. But they decorated a Christmas tree with homemade ornaments. I might get them to make some for my tree :) I taught them Away in a Manger with hand motions and we're going to sing it at the Christmas luncheon! Christmas day they're having a potluck with carols and we're giving each kid a stuffed animal. So my problem of spending Christmas by myself is null AND what a cool way to spend it! It will be a memorable one! The girls are so lovable. When I first walked in, they said "upendo," love. They were so fascinated by my mole and my flip flop earrings. Many of the schools here require girls to shave their heads to keep uniformity, but Tammy (the woman who helps out/owns) believes girls should be girls and got all their ears pierced, does their hair, and got them all sorts of dresses and skirts. Mitumba (2nd hand clothing) is a wonderful thing! I got a nice blouse there for less than $4. We played hopskotch, but since we didn't have chalk we used their shoes and lined them up in different formations. We did some puzzles, which I haven't done in so long and brought back the days of the puzzle board my dad made me that I stored under my bed. I was most impressed when they had lunch. One of the older girls brought it to each girl, they all said thank you, and waited for each girl to receive her lunch and then prayed together. They are becoming a family and Tammy only wants to introduce kids in small numbers to keep the familial atmosphere.

Today when we went to get the toys, I thought we were handpicking 200 toys out, but a guy at the Mitumba market said he'd give us 100 for 100,000 about $80, so it ended up just being a day of shopping and a girls' day out. AND I met a volunteer who 1) is 21 2) FEMALE 3) going to be here 3 years 4) has lots of other volunteer friends and 5) likes to go out and do stuff so YAYAYAAY! I got a dress for the wedding in Zanzibar (long and with sleeves), and stuff for my awaited Christmas tree, donated by one of my piano student's parents, like Christmas lights for $4 and they're even awesome with different settings, little ornament balls, and tinsel. SO excited!

Came home and Collin (my "nephew") was running around naked. Oh to be a kid again! I cooked a great meal of Indian spiced fried pancakes and vermicelli vegetable turkey broth soup. It's so great to have time to cook. I've missed it! Oh and we found little plums today and went to a really good RAW place for ciabatta sandwiches and smoothies (Mom and Dad, I'm def taking you here!) So it ended up being a really good day!

Tomorrow bright and early, we take off for Lake Eyasi to see one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes and to camp at a beautiful lake. Super excited! Then it's Christmas caroling and then the CLIMB OF MT. Meru!!!!! Will update afterwards :)

Break is wonderful! And I was worried about not going to Lake Eyasi today. Then some people cancelled on Meru but we got a new crew together :) Then Zanzibar accommodation was really scaring me since it's peak season and everything is full. BUT we found a woman couchsurfer who's 25 and owns a beach resort and shares a house with the chef and is .5m from a quiet, coconut tree, white sand, no creepy beach boys (her words) and only 40 mins from town instead of 2 hrs like we were looking at! And of course is free.

I'm still working a bit and Umoja has A LOT of stuff going on right now, but the new website should be up by the end of break hopefully. Check out the Facebook page I created. Search Umoja Arts Project!

Oh and The Book Thief is an excellent book, highly recommend it! Gonna go finish it :)

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