― Friedrich Nietzsche
All my love from TZ
Published by Carly at 10:29 AM
Published by Carly at 8:12 PM
The other day I went to Tukuyu to get some dough and check the mail box. Before jumping on the bus to head home I stopped at a store to buy some apples. As I was deciding weather or not I really needed another roll of TP I heard a man behind me yelling at me. I turned around to see a shoe-less man wearing tattered clothing and a rosary. This is the point when I realized he was shaking the remaining drops from a bottle Mountain Dew, attempting to baptize me. After he had emptied the bottle on my soul, he took his rosary out from under his shirt, held the cross up to me and shouted some thing about 'mungu'- god. The whole scene was really quite strange. I really did not know what to make of the whole thing, so I just stood there and stared at him. When I went to leave, he wouldn't let me pass. Thankfully some sane men were near by and told the guy to let me through. I should mention at this point the bible thumper had produced a whistle and was blowing it at me. Talk about not attracting enough attention being white... let's add a whistle to the mix. With everyone looking at me, I calmly walked away and forgot about the whole situation, until I remembered that it was too weird not to write about.
After this incident it really got me thinking in the states we have safe environments for people who have mental disabilities. Here people just ignore someone if they are mentally handicapped. They are left to live on the streets, no one really takes care of them. It is really sad if you think about it. Although the man was annoying and I told him to go away...not very nicely because honestly I cannot tell sometimes if someone is mentally handicapped or just really religious... after it was all over I felt bad for him. He probably has no one to take care of him and is just shunned/ ignored by everyone.
In other news, school is moving forward and so is the library project. We are currently a little delayed due to a shortage of wood to make the chairs, but I am confident it will be ready by next week. Today seven students from all different forms sat in the staff room and drew educational posters for the library! I was really impressed with their diligence and their skill. These kids are very good artists. So, I am happy to say that our library will house some student work and they will have something to be proud of every time they use the new space.
To follow up on the first story, I believe the way I handled the situation speaks truck loads about how I have changed since coming to Tanzania. I was thinking about if I have changed and how. First, I do not believe any one can go through and experience like this and not change. Secondly, I think change as much as you will allow yourself to. I have always been a shy person. I used to hid behind my mother's legs in public. Run down stairs at my aunt's house to play video games instead of being forced to talk to a hundred second cousins and great aunts. I was never one to volunteer for skits or any type of public speaking activities. Even after college and discovering booze will strip away the shyness, I still was not perfectly comfortable around other people. I was always nervous that I looked weird, or would say or do something to embarrass myself. Basically I was afraid of being judged and lacked self confidence. I would say I blame it on my mother's side of the family who are huge teasers, out of love. I hated being the center of attention, so I think I just stayed quiet so as not to attract attention. If something embarrassing happened to me I would dwell on it. It would be really hard for me to let it go. So, before this experience, I couldn't take a joke and was scared shitless to speak in public or embarrass myself and let meaningless incidents keep me up at night.
I can now say the above does not really hold true anymore. During training something changed and one day I decided to volunteer to do a skit, then the next day I volunteered to lead a discussion. Day after day I found my self conscious armor being stripped from my body like house shingles in a hurricane. I think I figured I would have to get used to the idea of putting myself out there. This new outlook also helped to learn the language and to use it at home with native speakers. I did not care if they judged me. Heck, I was trying to speak to them in their language...someone should be thanking me. This confidence has transformed my teaching. I am no longer afraid to sound stupid or make mistakes. I realized my students might judge me, but I am there to help them. If I need to dance around a classroom, or make weird faces or demonstrate a 'swagger' to my class, so be it. I walk into my village everyday and people stare, but I don't notice any more. If they want to stare at me they must be really bored or entertained by a tall white girl attempting to speak Swahili.
I know that when I return home I will keep my new confidence and relaxed sense of the world. I know I will be able to walk into a room full of strangers at a party and make conversation without looking to see if my shoes are on the right feet or sounding like I have no faith in what I am saying. Also, I cannot say that if I fall on my face walking down the street that I won't be blushing and looking to see who saw me eat shit, but I won't hold on to it. I'll just let it go. I am also hoping this experience comes in handy when I am the first one cold called by my law professor on a Monday morning.
Hope things are going well at home. I heard it is very very hot! Wouldn't mind some of that warm weather here... have changed to sweats and socks to sleep at night. Good luck this weekend at IRAs Jordo!! Be thinking of you.
All my love from TZ.
Published by Carly at 1:44 PM
Published by Carly at 8:16 AM
Published by Carly at 9:45 AM
Published by Carly at 10:54 AM
Published by Carly at 3:29 PM