Day 4...

Okay, I swear when I have longer than 12 minutes I'll try postin gsome photos. Probably not until the weekend.

So I mentioned that Africa is dark. REALLY dark. We had our first blackout last night. I thought it was kinda fun, busted out my headlamp and proudly wore it on my head like the dork I am. I am sure that the younger kids here think I'm a total loser. There are 5 of us who make up the over-30 club, and two of them are leaving in two weeks. I really wish I could talk to someone I know for a change. That is what I wish most. I've gotten to talk to Sam, which is like an oasis in this desert of dust and mud.

If I haven't said so, I love Tanzania. THe people here are very proud, very friendly, and are welcoming of volunteers. They are very formal and dress nicely all of the time. It is more casual here in the urban area, and I REALLY wish I would have brough tmore pants and tank tops. All the other Westerners wear them in Arusha, but not so much in the rural areas. There are a lot of flycatchers, which are men who walk alongside you on the street and try to sell them things. The words you use most here are "hapana, asante" which is no thanks. I also learned "Piss off" for good measure, and leave me alone now, which I haven't had to use yet, luckily. THere are extremely dirty street children who try to touch you and make a motion towards their mouths for food, but we were told by the locals that they are mostly on drugs and drinking, and do not give them money, no matter how bad you may feel. A friend took a picture of them and they posed like hip-hoppers.

The HIV orientation today was sobering. Transmission rates are so high here, and the usual time from infection to death is 2-3 years. SOme die in 6 months. THis is mostly becasue of poor nutrition (I'm sorry for typos, but there is not time to go back!), and infection with multiple viruses. There needs to be much education, mostly in the rural areas. WOmen cannot tell a man to use a condom. One of our Tanzanian counterparts actually said "It is impossible." They are also not allowed to deny sex from their husbands. There was a lot of stuff that people (even vounteers) did not know. iu was shocked. I didn't realize how good my knowledge of HIV was, and often had to explain things like resistance and mother-to-child prevention.

I have to go....only a few minutes left. I've eaten mostly beans and ugali, a maize paste, and beef and potatoes at home. And pineapple fanta, which is awesome.

More later....

6 Responses on "Day 4..."

  1. Becca says:

    Yikes! I had a similar realization Saturday about how much I "know" when I was trying to explain extensively drug resistant TB to a friend.

    Oh a lighter note: I think that's how you know your an adult... when the younger "kids" think you are a total loser. Ah yes, I have arrived. *sigh*

    That food sounds AWESOME!

    Sue says:

    The blog is great - it's nice to know what is going on. Dad and I tried to call this afternoon but the call wouldn't go through. We'll try again. We figured 1:30 pm here was about 9:30 pm there - is that right?

    Mom

    Patty says:

    Beans........so sorry for your bunk mates, ha ha ha. It is great to be able to hear how you are doing and what your doing. Hope you are well, I plan to call you on Thursday when I'm off work.
    Miss you,
    Patty

    Lisa says:

    that's truly disturbing about how women are unable to take care of themselves and protect themselves and ultimately their children. to have no control over one's own body is utter oppression. what do you think about the impossibility of the wives telling their husbands to use a condom or that they don't want to have sex? don't these kind of revolutionary actions start with individuals. are there any women who've been successful. what happens when they do try to refuse sex? how can this be changed? i know you've been there for such a short period of time, but do you have any insight into this?

    Pam says:

    Kate,

    Glad to hear you are doing well. Sounds like a good experience in all aspects. My heart goes out to the children you spoke about. Do you get any kind of crash course in Tanzanian history? We are thinking about you all the time. We saw Tanzania on the cartoon Dora the Explorer yesterday. The kids thought that was cool. Sorry to hear you are so old. I have a great picture in my head of you and your head lamp. Love you!

    Pam

    jonathan says:

    Sorry, dearheart, for reading so late in the game, but did you say Pineapple Fanta? That's really awesome.

    J