Monday, December 1, 2008

last weekend in Arusha

It's World AIDS Day!! There was a march this morning and many speakers today. The events will end with a soccer match between a team of HIV+ individuals and a team of journalists. We're very sad that we'll miss it by a couple hours since we're returning to the village later today, but are thrilled by the idea of it.

A few of us went to Moshi earlier this weekend which is a smaller city nearby and the home of one of our teaching partners. We enjoyed meeting his friends and visiting his favorite hang-outs. Moshi is also the location of the teaching hospital and international school founded by the parents of Greg Mortenson, the subject of the bestseller Three Cups of Tea - which should be required reading for everyone.

We'll be in the village for 2 weeks and then will move out. I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by!!!

On Thanksgiving, we were invited to a second wedding party in the village. November is the new June in the States as well as here! The party was incredibly nice, although we were a bit taken back by the main course of the dinner: two goats, skinned and roasted whole, presented with leaves in their mouths and sticks to prop them in a kneeling position, were paraded around before being carved into. It was something like a cross between a Hawaiian luau and a BodyWorld exhibit! And yes, I have photos if you're interested... We were also shocked to see that a drag queen had been hired, given the tragic results of being openly gay in Tanzania, but were told that this was a result of the popularity of a new political comedy TV show that uses drag queens to mock government officials. We're not sure that this is a step forward in the fight for equality...

We're trying to get in the holiday spirit despite the summer weather. My roommate has decided we need to teach our family English Christmas carols. Anyone who's heard me sing will appreciate why I've left this task to her!

We're finished teaching at the primary school and will start meeting with our little peer educator group this week. The kids are very enthusiastic! We've also set up community teachings and HIV testing days.

Chuck and Judi returned to the village two more times and even got to sit in on one of our classes! They said it was SLIGHTLY different than the classrooms they taught in ...

I miss you all but will be sad to leave in a couple weeks.
Happy Holidays!


Jen said...

I can't believe time has flown by so fast, but I'm glad you are coming back soon!
Love you, Miss You

Toni said...


What an amazing life story you are creating! I can hardly wait to see you in January. We'll be wherever we have to be to connect with you.

Love, A. Toni

The Irreverent Reverend said...


You are living a great adventure. Hope the final stages of your travels are just as memorable. It will be wonderful to see you.

God bless,

I. R.

Anonymous said...

Hey Natalie...

I returned from Rwanda on 21 was a fabulous experience and I waved at you from Akagera National Park...(did you see me? I have a question about your car. When I tried to start it in late September the engine would not turn over...I believe it needs a new battery. I need to know what you want me to do prior to your return. I will be away for the holidays from 18 Dec-27 Dec. I can leave a garage door opener with my trusted neighbors, but need to know if you want me to get you a new battery so it is ready to roll when you return. You can pay be later. Vickie