23 December 2011
Today got off to a slow start due to issues of meeting people. Transportation, communication – don’t take these things for granted, please.
I finally met Alison! Also her two sons and a young man who’s ‘like a son to her.’ Her boys are wonderful. Very happy children. One is 3 and the other is 6 months. He’s a very happy baby, always smiling!! And throughout the travels of the day both behaved very well. It was really good to meet her and talk to her, and just to be able to talk to someone with whom I can express myself freely, not having any communication issues. It sounds like she has some pretty good ideas for how I can stay in the country volunteering. The most appealing option so far sounds like joining up with Peace Corps volunteers, sort of hopping from one to another helping with their projects. That way I have a project to work on, somewhere to stay, and someone who speaks English to talk to, while still being around mostly Swahili-speaking people. And maybe I can work with future program participants of this program I’m doing, hopefully for a small amount of money!
After lunch, we went up into a rather remote part of Kilimanjaro foothills to a waterfall. It was incredible! Just what I would picture a tropical waterfall looking like. Alison and I went swimming. It’s the first time I’ve been properly cool since I got here! I started to feel better. Alison invited me to spend Christmas with her and her family, which will be good. It’s good to have someone who comes from the same background and has had the experiences of coming here from America to talk to, since I’m the only program participant.
I finally had a conversation with Mrs. Mlay, after Alison talked to her about getting me more involved with household activities. I had taught myself how to ask what she’s cooking. She’s very nice, and I think now things will be less awkward with their granddaughter Flora. Hopefully I can talk to her some. It makes a big difference, overcoming that barrier.