Moving into the house on Kijenge road
Yesterday I spent an hour writing all of you, telling of my wonderful adventures and the amazing people I have met (among them the Liliputians). Then, when I hit 'send', wouldn't you guess, the computer froze and I lost it all. So here's, as the preist said in Spaceballs, "Te short short version." Friday afternoon, we moved into our homestays. Let me preface this with my feelings about moving out of the place I had grown comfortable in with all the people I had become friends with to a place that I had a 10 - 90 chance of getting running water in. Everyone was upset about having to go live with homestays (some people rightfully so). But, alas, we had no choice so Friday afternoon around 4pm, we were all to meet and greet our new "families". My mama was late, which was great since I had to make a pit stop on the way back from class to get her a present (a giant can of cookies that I am now enjoying). So i get there and she is still not there but I see all of the other somestays mamas picking up everyone else. Most of them had caught taxis to come meet us and take us back to their "homes". I was really nervous as I watched everyone load up their stuff into the taxis and take off. I was standing and talking to one of the mama's of my friend when she said oh I think that is your mama coming. She had her own car! Granted it was really small, but it really lifted my spirits. Go figure that when it comes down to it, I'm not a hole-in-the-ground-for-a-toliet / no need to shower for a couple months sort of girl! Who among you would have guessed that?? So I am greeted by the joliest (and fatest) Tanzanian person I have ever seen. After the bear hug, she insisted on helping me with my bags until she tried to pick one of them up, and then I smiled and took the rest from there. We take off and head down the main road for 10 minutes, eventually coming to the most typical shanty-lined dirt road I have ever seen. Take the images from those commercials asking for sponsorship for children and stick me, in a car with a jolly fat woman, in it. As we go up the road, on whatever side had the fewest people to hit, I ask the mama how long she had been driving. She responds, "A very long time, longer than most." This turns out to be six months. Right! Okay. The neighborhood is so poor that I can feel the cold showers running down my back for the next two months. We hang a left down this alley and stop in front of a red gate. She honks the horn (as she has been doing throughout the trip for no apparent reason other than extreme self-satisfaction) and two little boys open the gate and we drive in. Most of the houses have what are called house boys and girls, they are like the hired help who cook and do laundry, etc. I figure these little boys are the helpers, but it turns out that they are the neighbors. Inside of the compound there are three houses. I live in the nicest one that has a front porch and wonderfully carved wooden doors. I am greeted at the door by staring children and a girl who looks about my age. She actually does help me into the livingroom of the house that is decorated in doilies and dated furniture but with a touch of class. The living room has 5 sitting chairs, two two-seater sofas, a main coffee table, several end tables, a fire place and an entertainment center (with TV, VCR and dishes diplayed). From the livingroom, I walk past a connected dinning room that has just enough room for six chairs and a good size table (I notice that there is a sink in the corner -but that is very typical here). We turn left off of the living room and the first door on the left is my room. Mama Timmy (my main mama) flips the light switch and welcomes me to my new home for the next seven weeks. The room is small and dark with bunk beds, an armoir and two tables. I put my stuff down and Mama Timmy shows me the rest of the house: the kitchen on the right, her and her husband's room on the left, right across the way is the bathroom and at the end of the hall, Mama Sianna and Sianna's room. Mama Sianna is the girl who is about my age and the is the sister of Mama T. Her daughter, Sianna is 4 years old. I anxiously look in the bathroom, and to my overwhelming relief, I see a shower with hot water (!!!!!!) and a flushing toliet !!!!!!!!!! Haleighlujuah!! I have since used that shower - it is wonderful. Ahh. My first dinner there was spaghetti with meat sauce, papaya, cucmber, oranges and water. It was the best food I have had since I got here. Everyone of you would have really enjoyed it. Okay, so this email isn't that short, but I want to let all of you know that I am really doing well here and I haven't gotten sick again yet (knock on wood). I am still training and have not yet begun to teach, but we formed our teaching groups (mine sucks because the people are hard to get along with, and the translators barely speak English). We start not next week but the week after. I am actually really excited to start out HIV teaching - I have found that I love the sound of my own voice, go figure! And, I am the biology expert, so I will be handling all of the bio. Sweet.