Written December 10, 2012
So training is officially over now. It’s surreal to be back in Dar staying at the same place we stayed at 2 months ago when we first landed in country. It feels like no time at all has passed since I was last here, but at the same time I feel like a different person. I’m definitely more comfortable, and my Kiswahili is obviously much better, which makes a world of a difference.
The last time I wrote I was just about to go to my house in Dodoma. A bit of an update on that: turns out the picture I was given for my house ended up being the neighbor’s chicken coop… So no hobbit hole for me! A bit bummed about that, but my house is much nicer than I thought, which is a plus. I’ve got a lovely walled in courtyard, and the volunteer before me left a lot of furniture, which is a relief. Not sure how I would even buy and transport furniture to my house… When I visited my neighbors were super nice and helped me out a lot, and one of them is my age and knows some English! They made me feel a lot more at home and I’m not as anxious about moving in now that I know some people. Even though training is over, I’m really heading into another sort of training since these first 3 months at site I’m only supposed to be observing the village and writing up a report that is essentially a comprehensive survey of the village, which should help me figure out what projects to start on. It’s nice to know that these next couple of months I’m not expected to start any projects right away and that I have the time to get to know the dynamics of the village. Time is not something development volunteers are always given – especially when working in a foreign country.
I’ll hopefully be posting pictures soon, so stayed tuned for those! I can’t wait to share with you all the beautiful landscapes of the places I’ve been here! Tanga region was very tropical, not at all what I expected Africa would be like, and so fertile! We are leaving just at the start of mango season, which is a bummer, but I was able to make plenty of mangoes right before leaving. We were there for orange season though, which was also rewarding. The oranges here though aren’t orange on the outside, they’re green, even when ripe! Still not sure how you tell when they are ripe… Luckily I’ve discovered that if you want fruit you just become friends with the nearest neighbor child, who is most likely an expert at climbing up trees to find the ripest fruits. My siblings in homestay, who were 6, gave me fruit countless times that they had gotten from the trees just around our house. Going to miss all the fruit in Tanga, not so much the situation in Dodoma. At least Dodoma is wine country, so I’m excited for that.
I’m looking forward to the independence of living on my own, although saying good bye to my family the other day was difficult. I’m definitely going to miss them, especially since my Kiswahili was getting better and I was actually able to have real conversations with them. Transitions are always hard, but I keep meeting amazingly friendly, helpful people here, so I’m not as nervous as I thought I would be moving into my site. It’s going to be difficult for sure, but it feels good to have completed training and feel slightly accomplished.