Saturday, May 17, 2014

Update, update, and more update.

Well, I thought it’s about time I give an update on what I’ve been up to, since last week was a tangent of the philosophical sort.  I feel like there’s a lot to tell you.

School is going well.  I’m still in LOVE with my Standard 1’s!  They are such fun!  I’ve got a growing class.  There are technically 25 on my register now, but two of them are gone until the end of the year or close to it, so I’ve “only” got 23 if they are all here.  It’s quite a few more than the 16 maximum class size in Wyoming for this age.  With a class that large, the ability range is also quite large.  Differentiation has become a daily challenge.  I’ve broken my class into 4 reading groups, 5 math groups, 2 literacy groups, and 3 spelling groups.  It’s easy to spend an hour preparing for some subjects for a week, and reading usually takes at least 2 hours.   Yuppers!  Teaching here is strikingly similar to teaching at home.


This term is a reporting term, so I’m trying hard to give the extra push to all of my students to get them closer to where they should be at the end of the year, or beyond that for those who are already there.  I’m probably going to start testing in the next couple of weeks just so I can get everything done.  Reports are due in week 8, and this is week 4.  No pressure or anything.

In related news, my visa is officially out of “in process” status.  YAY!!  In true Tanzanian fashion, it *only* took almost 10 months.  There’s a saying here… No hurry in Africa!  I was beginning to think I’d have to pick it up in Dar es Salaam on my way to the airport when I return home.  I did end up getting my return date changed before I got my visa, so there’s that. 


As for my return date, when YASC purchased my ticket, they could only make the return date for 9 months out.  This meant that they would have to change the date as it got closer, which is actually really nice because who wants to be stuck with a return date that can’t change an entire year before they are ready to come home.  Did you notice the little ticker at the top of the page?  Not long until I leave.  After a bit of drama with availability, I can now confidently say that I will be leaving Tanzania on July 1st and will fly into Billings, Montana on the 2nd.  This is, of course, assuming I can make all my connections and the return flight goes as well as the one here did.  Fingers crossed and prayers sent!! I’m sure all will be well, though!

In news that’s a bit closer to my current home, I had a bit of an adventure last weekend.  Shortly after I posted my last blog, a few friends and I went out for mishkaki, which is possibly my favorite Tanzanian dish.  Basically it’s an all meat kebab, but Tanzanians know how to cook their meat.  It is amazing!!  When I order them from a restaurant, I always order them with chips mayai, which is basically a French fry omelet.  YUMMMMMMY!!  Anyway, we brought our swimming gear with us because we planned to head to a local hotel with an amazing pool when we finished. 

We made it to the pool, said hello to the several young children from school who were there at a birthday party, and headed into the bathroom to change.  On the way out, I stepped onto the tiled steps leading down out of the bathroom with wet feet from the showers and slid down a couple of steps.  I landed hard on my rear end and knew it was going to end up with a pretty bruise, but didn’t feel anything else.  Then Maria said “You’re  bleeding!” I picked up my arm to look and saw blood fly off the end.  She was right.  I was bleeding!  I stood up and followed her into the bathroom.  I wanted to get my arm over the sink before a pool of blood permanently stained the cement outside.  There really was an impressive amount of blood.  It ended up on the cement outside, the wall, the steps, the floor of the bathroom, and all over the sink.  CSI would have had a field day, or Dexter.


A short trip to DCMC to make sure I didn’t need stitches, a couple of prescriptions to fight off infection and pain, and I was home.  It’s really impressive looking now that the bruise is changing colors!  The more impressive bruise is not going to be seen by anyone.  Sorry.  :D

 On Tuesday was Maria's birthday!  We celebrated with an awesome time at the pizzeria.  I find it funny that the best pizza I've ever had has been in Tanzania.  Not exactly where you think of when you think of pizza!  Maria had lots of fun planned, including a quiz about her life, cutout mustaches and other fun things for pictures.  Some of her friends and family sent videos which were put together as a show.  It was great fun for a Tuesday night!!

The week ended with a fun celebration.  The principal at CAMS and his wife had a lot to celebrate!  Both of them have birthdays in the month of May and they have recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary.  To celebrate, we had a barbeque!  We’re talking mishkake, chicken, cassava, French fries (though they’re called chips here) vegetable salad, and drinks.  There was also music and hired dancers.  It was quite the celebration! 


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