This post was originally from January 24, 2008
I can’t believe how fast time flies when you are having fun! Crap! I don’t want to go home.
So let me tell you about a little girl named Rose. You see every morning all of the volunteers load into the CCS van and one by one we are dropped off at our placement. It is a great way to see the countryside and how people live. We usually see the same kids walking to school and the other day we saw little Rose walking alone on a long dusty road – so our driver picked her up. Rose has to walk miles to get to her school and her school is literally located inside the gates of a prison area. We have to go through a checkpoint to get in and here are all these little ones walking alone. Men with huge rifles stand on guard all around while the prisoners in orange jumpsuits work their asses off in the heat. The grounds are immaculate though! I am not sure if I would call them all criminals though-you get 14 years in prison for being gay!!!!!!! So the other day when we picked up Rose she sat on my lap and kissed my cheeks over and over, all the while stroking my hair. Oh what a little doll!
Yesterday we had the day off placement so that the whole group of 30 could go on a ‘field trip’. We went to a batik home where we saw how they made the batik. Then to a place where the villagers go down this huge incline to get chunks of volcanic rocks. They put about 4 on their head at a time and hike up this incline in flipflops. From there they give it to their partner who hacks it up into bricks. Each brick is sold for 35 cents that they must share between the two of them. Some of the workers are women. The people in this area belong to the Chagga Tribe. We got to go to a traditional Chagga house and also saw the caves that they used to hide in during the tribal wars. We also went to a market that the locals go to. There was a sea of people and bright colours lined the stalls from all the fruit and veggies! There was so much chaos that it actually was a little overwhelming. And finally… we hiked our asses off to see Ndoro Falls. There was a massively steep mountain that we went down. We all had walking sticks and it was slippery from the 10 minute rain fall. As we got further down the mountain, it turned into a rain forest with beautiful flowers and gorgeous scenery. And once at the bottom there was a huge waterfall. It was breathtaking and definitely worth the climb back up.
Today at placement I didn’t teach the girls. Instead I went with my 81 year old fellow volunteer to see the small businesses that the ladies have started. This 81 year old climbed Mt Kili 6 years ago if you can believe! I visited a few shops that made clothes and also a lady who grew chickens to slaughter. The chicken one was a little nasty because there were dead chickens on the table in front of us. yum. To get back to town we had to take the local bus called the Daladala. This is not really a bus, but merely a minivan. Do you want to guess how many people were in there with me? No guess higher!!! The last I counted there were 26 people and then I could no longer see past the heads. I was all the way in the back so getting out was a bit of a challenge. But holy shit, was that an experience…maybe one that I wouldn’t suggest to you all. Just imagine the African heat and plenty of sweaty people. Again…yum.
I am teaching my girls at my placement how to type. A big shout out to Mrs. Sands – Typing 10 teacher! Holllaaaa!! I can see a huge progress because last week they had never touched a computer before. For English I took out this book on the human body and let them read it. They were all crowded around me trying to look at the pictures. Remember these girls are ages 16-25 and they have never seen pictures of skeletons or teeth with roots before. Biology is taken in secondary school and these girls couldn’t afford to pay for it so they had to quit school. Unbelievable! It sure makes me thankful for my upbringing.
Tonight a bunch of us went to an orphanage called Kili Kids. We made sock puppets with them and decorated them with feathers, etc. It was a real hit. The children loved it. There are 18 children living there right now and 17 are sick. It is like if one gets sick, it sweeps through all of them. They were so happy though and it was a blast playing with them. There is a little 18 month old with HIV. His name is Parsley. He is so cute and would ‘pound’ knuckles with us when we said ‘tano’. So adorable. I nearly cried when leaving because another little cutie came up to me and said ‘thank you very much’ in his broken English.
Oh and get this…today the lady who took us around town to see the businesses gave me a real offer. I was telling her how perhaps down the road I might want to adopt a child from Africa. PERHAPS is the key word. And she said I could ‘take’ her granddaughter. Um…what do you say to that. Hapana Asante-no thank you! Good god, you never know what to expect.
I will write after my walking/canoeing safari on Saturday.