Saturday, February 1, 2014

First week back... and what a week it was!

This week saw my 6 month mark here in Dodoma.  I can’t believe I’m half-way done.  I swear, I only arrived a couple of months ago, and I’ve only been working with the kids for a few weeks.  If the other stories on this blog are any indication, this year has been one of the most eventful of my life, and there are still 6 more months to look forward to.

Was it really 6 whole months ago when I took this photo of the sunrise outside my plane window before taking off for my first flight to Tanzania?

On Monday, we welcomed the students back to school.  It was good to see them again after such a long break at Christmas.  I’m still in Standard 2 and it was nice to be able to return to school this term already knowing my kids and the curriculum I’m teaching.  We were able to start off right where we had left off last term without the “getting to know you” phase.

This has been a very busy week outside of school as well!  Aside from all of the school things involved in a new term, it was my birthday this week!  My birthday fell on the exact 6 month mark in Dodoma, but also was my “Golden Birthday.”  For those of you now familiar with this very important event, a Golden Birthday is the birthday where you turn the age of the date of your birth.  I was born on the 28th of January and turned 28 this year.  It only happens once in your life, which is what makes it extra special!  This called for a celebration of epic proportions.

We started last Saturday, with an afternoon at a local swimming pool.  This was really our last “hurrah” before school started.  The water was refreshing in the Tanzanian heat.  I know those of you back home are thinking that swimming in an outdoor pool is probably the last thing you would have wanted to do last weekend, and I don’t blame you!  It is, however, summer in this part of the world and the temperatures have been hovering in the 80’s.  This Wyoming girl is missing her snow!

My friends enjoying Chips Mayai at the pool edge.  The water was too nice to get out, even for lunch!
Letting air our of the ring in preparation for the dalla dalla ride back to town.
SO nice!!

On Monday, the staff at CAMS received an invitation to a Chinese New Year celebration put on by the Chinese community in Dodoma and the Confucius Institute at the University of Dodoma.  Due in part to the late notice, Maria and I were the only CAMS staff that were able to go.  We were not disappointed!  It turns out that the Chinese Embassy had invited an arts group from China to come perform for us.  They, along with a dance troupe and students at UDOM, performed a number of songs, dances, and martial arts displays.  Even with the power cut in the middle of the evening, it was a full night of entertainment and a great celebration! (I know.  I should have pictures.  I promise I’ll never forget my camera again!)

The actual day of my birthday was spent at school.  There was cake during one of the breaks for the staff in the lounge.  I went to Maria’s house for dinner, then to Sarah’s house afterwards, where we celebrated again with Andes Mint brownies!  They were SOOOO good!

I rounded off my birthday celebrations on Wednesday with a night out at the local pizzeria.  Sometimes the Leone de African has a movie night on Wednesday nights, and this week they were showing A Fish Called Wanda.  It seemed like a perfect, ready-made celebration.  I was able to enjoy a ham and mushroom pizza with a Coke and the company of some great friends. 

Candle-lit lantern at the Pizzeria.

The rest of the week was definitely focused on school.  I’m with a class 22 of the 25 periods each week (and spending at least one of my “free” periods in my classroom while my class is there) this term, and spending my time in both Standard 2 and Standard 4.  I’m definitely kept on my toes!  I do prefer to be kept busy as sitting around with nothing to do bores me.  No chance of that happening this term!

Before I finish I have to, once again, send out a HUGE thank-you to everyone who has been supporting me the last month.  Prayers and well wishes are extremely helpful, as were the numerous Christmas cards I received in December (and on into January.)  This month, I have a special thank you to Grandma and Grandpa Lucas, Pat and Connie Keller, Press, Shirley and Mariah Stephens, Kate and Warren Murphey, Marshall Dominick, Russell Keegan, David Dominick, Ernie McFarlane, Mom and Dad, and Bishop John Smylie for their financial support.
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What do you think of this "little" guy.  Don't have 8 inch centipedes in Wyoming, that's for sure!

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