4 January 2012

Today was a slow day. “We” planted some banana trees. I actually just watched, as I can’t convince Mr. Mlay to let me really do anything of consequence. He’s worried my clothes will get dirty, which is of course why I brought the clothes I did – because they can get dirty. But try telling him that. I wished I had just picked up some dirt and smeared it on my shirt! Then we went to use the internet in Marangu, but right as I was about to sit down, the power went out. We waited a while but it didn’t come on again, so we left. Today was when we were thinking of going to the MVIWATA project (MVIWATA is an NGO that organizes and trains farmers), but that didn’t work out because Mr Mlay wasn’t willing to pay for us to go that far away, and MVIWATA couldn’t provide transportation. But I think Mr Mlay was against it from the start and set it up to fail; he wasn’t into it and upon learning that a motorbike was the only way to get there, said, ‘let’s just forget about it’. This didn’t make me happy. I can understand the money thing, but to be so dismissive – isn’t it in KEDA’s interest to network with groups like this? Part of the problem here, I think, is that Alison did stuff, met people, and exchanged contact info with people without KEDA being involved, so now Mr Mlay is getting calls from people he’s never heard of that want to meet me, and he doesn’t see how that’s part of the program and also probably feels overwhelmed at unexpectedly being expected to coordinate this – as if he doesn’t already have enough to figure out.

So many little frustrations mixed in with the occasional good times. The wreck that is the program, the lack of personal independence, communication with Mr Mlay, being told I can rest when I don’t want to rest I want to do something, being forced to eat more than I want. There are people who can only eat one meal a day living within walking distance and I’m being force-fed. I just keep telling myself it’s all an opportunity to learn and grow. My mom called last night and could hear me without me shouting for the first time – THANK GOODNESS!!


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