18 August 2015

Tomorrow marks the end of my posh corps experience – I’ll leave Dar bright and early to return to my beloved Southern Highlands. By Thursday evening I’ll be back in the vil and there will be no more AC, fans, running water, western style toilets, refrigerators, stoves and ovens, carpets, dirt free floors, internet, electricity, super soft sheets and perfectly fluffy pillows, mosquito-free indoors, etc. etc. etc. (I could go on forever)… It’ll be quite the transition back to the simple life. I’ve been staying here in Dar at the house of a man who works for USAID (he’s really great), and I will miss this luxury. But it’ll also be really nice returning to my own house, and to finish all this traveling and living out of my backpack. I’m looking forward to sinking my feet back into my village, getting myself grounded a bit once more.

It was an awesome month, though! Some great training – Early Service Training (EST) and water training – with an abundance of really useful information that I’m looking forward to spending a few days sorting through when I get back to site. I spent quality time working with two men from my village (my counterparts), one who came for half of EST, one who came for the water training. It felt really good having them more on my terrain, seeing me interacting as myself with my friends. I think they have a better idea of what Americans are like now. Also, they were out of their village, out of their element, and it felt good having them rely more on me for a change. It’s almost always the other way around in the village. Very refreshing! We learned about the slow process of planning, implementing, and managing projects, and it was also emphasized over and over again what a PCV’s role is in a community (to help others help themselves – we don’t just build stuff or give money), which cannot be stressed enough in my opinion. Good trainings, Peace Corps TZ!

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Also, I had the opportunity to do some exploring with other volunteers up in the mountains of Morogoro (the location of the trainings).

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Prior to the trainings, I spent a long weekend in Dar. I went for medical, to go to the dentist for a night guard replacement. Believe it or not, bad things can happen when you buy a new hot water thermos, one that actually works in keeping hot water hot overnight. Turns out you can melt a night guard… and it’s pretty impossible to reshape… I’ll leave it at that. Got the mold made before the trainings, and also spent an enjoyable few days walking the streets of Dar, doing a few of the touristy things, and getting food poisoning from some delicious street chicken. All in all, it was a successful visit. My stomach still isn’t even close to 100%, though. Nothing new, I suppose.

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Now, post-trainings, I have returned to Dar! I picked up the new night guard on Saturday, and am going back to the dentist for a second fitting today. In the meantime, I have been living it up with a fellow PCV from the Southern Highlands. As previously mentioned, we are staying with a welcoming, generous, and super fun man who works for USAID. He has a beautiful house, two cats, carpets to lie on with clean, white, painted ceilings to stare up at, a luxurious kitchen, soft sofas, a porch, AC… On Saturday we went to participate in a yacht race at the Oysterbay Yacht Club, and by participate I mean sitting at the front of a 36-foot catamaran, drinking white wine, eating peanuts, and chatting with a pair of lovely ladies (ex-pats). It was beautiful, the wind was the definition of refreshing, and we saw one of the best sunsets thus far in TZ out on the water.

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After a walk downtown yesterday and splurging on a burger with fries and a salad for lunch (without the bun for me of course), my friend and I went to the movie theatre. It felt just like America, except for the advertisements pre-previews. Those were very much TZ advertisements. They were unnecessarily loud (classic), more than half of them were for various phone service providers, and a few of them played more than two times. We watched the new Fantastic 4 movie, which was okay. It was that, Mission Impossible, or some bollywood movies. It was more for the experience of a TZ movie theatre than anything else. Plus we only paid the equivalent of about $3.00usd – not bad.

Other than that, we’ve just thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with George, using fast internet, the AC, making fresh salads every day, sipping beverages with ice (!!!), and just relaxing. I am living a dream right now, and I’m totally okay with that. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wake up tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to the hectic, mad, and somewhat dangerous main bus stand here in Dar before the sun rises, nor the full-day bus ride down South. Then I go back to the vil Thursday afternoon. It’s time I suppose, time to get back to the real Peace Corps life. I wonder what condition my house will be in after a full month away… I’m guessing lots of dust and dirt, lizard skins, and rat poop. Bring it on! I just hope the creatures haven’t chewed on/destroyed anything important. I’ll have to wait and see! Well, that’s all for now. More stories to come.

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