20 July 2010

More of my favorite things

Some more favorite moments recently:

Girls Empowerment Conference:
-Taking fifty girls to the beach (most of whom had not been to the beach before), especially when they freaked out at the sight of boats, and when they picked up and tore apart some jellyfish trying to figure out what they were,.
-When some high energy and some hand-clapping games at dinner spontaneously turned into a two-hour singing and dancing party, with no other music besides their voices and buckets being used as drums, and relieving PCVs of the responsibility of having to plan a night activity to entertain them.
-The girls singing for the entire three-hour bus ride back home, and comparing that to the first-day bus ride which was completely silent

Making a difference? A month or so after teaching budget-making and saving money to my PLWHA group, I was sitting with a couple of the members and one was saying how she took my advice and started putting a little aside each day, and one day she didn't have any money to buy vegetables for lunch so she looked in the place she had been keeping her money and discovered she had saved 2000 shillings. (Around $1.50...But enough to buy food that day, anyway).

When my neighbor who has known me for almost two years and who is much more educated than most people I know here, asked me if America was in Europe (I gave him a map later).

Learning about devils and possession:
-According to my students:
1) Incense is the cure for possession; it makes the devils go away, at least temporarily.
2) "Wanachangamka wakiona bahari." (They get excited when they see the ocean).
-According to my neighbor:
1) Only Muslims get mashetani (devils)
2) Only females get mashetani
3) "A lot of people get possessed when I am the teacher on duty, but not when the other teachers are on duty. I don't understand why."
4) Only Muslims get possessed because they believe in possession; Christians here don't believe in it.

Boys Conference:
-When a photographer showed up at the beach and at least half the boys wanted their picture taken with me and another female PCV... Glad to know I am popular with male Tanzanian teenagers.
-Having some good discussions about the meaning of love and if girls & boys can be friends without having sex
-Having the students cook dinner the first night, and one group somehow managed to make their white rice look a very non-appetizing shade of gray. They then said that they had cooked pilau (a spicy rice dish which is usually brown). It did not taste like pilau.
-Teaching yoga, and hearing the boys compare the cobra position to "popo bawa," which is, legend has it, a large bat that lives on Zanzibar and rapes men.