24 October 2011

The day I rode a tractor and peed under the stars.


The rest of Friday rolled by uneventfully.  We made a delicious dinner of zucchini in olive oil, rosemary garlic mashed potatoes, fresh salad with grated cheese and carrots, beans, and some kind of meat.  It was delicious and I probably ate way too much, but that’s ok.  I’m beginning to learn neat things about how to cook from fresh foods, that it doesn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would, and it tastes 10 times better.

So maybe I will check “learn how to fend for myself in a developing country” off my “to do” list.

Saturday morning started with making 3 dozen pancakes without eggs which we, and the farm, were out of.  Since there’s not a 7/11 on the corner, we have no other option.  We decided to try to make “chipote” which is like a tortilla pancake that they make here, but our pancakes turned out like fluffy “American style” pancakes anyway.  I’d call it a success.

The girls taught class while I found children to play with.

I got pretty good at the game crazy 8’s.  Pili introduced herself to me and then introduced me to the game.  I thought she would win most, but it was fairly even.  Maybe she was going easy on me so I would keep playing.

Then we played a game of rocks that reminded me of jacks.  Your goal is to throw a rock into the air and then move all 12 rocks on the ground across a line and then catch the rock.  After moving all 12 rocks, you have to move them first in piles of 2, then piles of 3, then piles of 4, then 5 and so on.  Each time you move a pile you have to toss the rock into the air, move the pile, and then catch it.

The game required far more coordination then I had.

I read some stories to the little kids.  They were pretty interested until one of them gave me a Pokémon book to read and it had way too many words to even hold my attention.  The kids and I both gave up at that point.

Then it was time to go camping!

Only there was no car to take us.  We had been told the car would be there at noon.  We were ready.   We were packed.  We called the driver, who told us they would be here in an hour.  So we decided we would eat lunch while we waited.

We ate a quick lunch of leftover amazingness from the night before.

Only we had no microwave.  Bummer.

How do you heat leftovers without a microwave?

Apparently, by putting them back on the stove in a pot, stirring them until warm, and then serving them again.  Delicious.  Much better, but not quite as quick, than a microwave!

We waited until 1:30 before calling the driver again.  There was some mix-up where someone got lost and so the car hadn’t left yet. 

And they were 45 minutes away.  But they were coming asap.  Or the Tanzanian version of ASAP.

I decided it was time for a nap.  Well, actually, I decided it was time to read and then after reading for half an hour my body decided it was time for a nap.  Same thing.

We finally got on the road at 3.  That’s how time works here.  3 pm is almost the equivalent to noon.  Which is one of the hardest things of being here.

We traveled towards Mwanza (the airport I flew into) towards Buhongwa.  We tried to stop for ice cream and drinks at our favorite grocery store, U-Turn, but it was closed.  So we went to mini-mart instead. 

Julia ran in while the van of people waited on the street.  All I’ll say is that Julia and I have some stellar searching skills.  We found what we needed and also grabbed some cans of fanta, sprite, and coke.

The buildings here are all painted with sprite and coke logos, and the advertizing makes me want a soda, even though I normally would never want a soda in America.

Supposedly, the paint makes the buildings here (most made out of mud-bricks and not cement) last longer.  So Coke comes in and paints the houses, making them more sustainable, and for the price of paint gets a whole village along the street as advertisement.

And apparently it worked.

Either that, or we were just desperate for something cold, and since the ice cream looked like a squished, hot mess, soda was our best option.

And it was delicious.  If you’ve never tried Sprite made with SUGAR instead of high fructose corn syrup, you’re missing out on a very delicious part of life.  It’s like drinking coke out of a bottle or drinking Dublin Dr. Pepper.  Knowing that there’s sugar in it makes it taste that much better. 

I promise!

And I guarantee the people at Coke would tell you the same thing.

We reached the campground at Buhongwa (which is a farm owned partly by JBFC Children’s Home) and were immediately handed some hot Castle to drink because our driver was a bit upset that we were more than 3 hours late because we had to find Mini Mart grocery store since U-Turn was closed by the time we got there.

With a hot bottle of Castle in my hand (which I wouldn’t recommend, the cold sugar Sprite was much better!) Julia and I were offered a ride on the tractor!!

[Tractor!  Look how big the tires are!]

Um yes, I’ve lived in Texas all my life and I’ve NEVER ridden on a tractor, but I’ve always wanted to!!  I’ve been in a hay ride that was pulled by a tractor, but that isn’t the same.  So Julia and I rode the perimeter of the farm with our Castle on top the big wheels of the tractor.  WAY too cool!!

We got to see the land they had turned for sunflowers.  Not only are sunflowers beautiful (we’re using them in the wedding!) but they make a lot of great products like sunflower seeds and sunflower oil that are good to sell as well as good for the Children’s Home to use. 

Sustainable.  I love it!!

We made it back to the campsite and we sat around talking.  I got to talk to Chris (the 26 year old who started the Children’s home a few years ago and has turned it into a school and 2 farms to feed the kids too!) about his ideas for bringing healthcare to the kids.  I told him that I was super passionate about teaching and empowering others to be in charge of their own healthcare, and he thought that was a good idea.  There’s a lot that has to happen to make it a reality, but plans are in the works.  First, they need to finish a few other huge projects including a restaurant that the older girls work in to gain experience in “the real world.”  Nice.

The girls began to cook dinner while we sat around talking. 

Then it started to rain so we all huddled under a rain fly while the cooking continued. 

We talked late into the night and ate a (semi) delicious meal of rice, fried potatoes, chicken and green peppers, and penne pasta covered in tomato paste.

Bed time came too soon.  Since the tents were packed, Julia and I slept in the van.  Or, attempted to sleep in the van.  The tiny seats mixed with the fact that the door didn’t shut mixed with the mosquitoes, mixed with a lot of other stuff made it practically impossible to sleep.

My chitengue sprayed with bug spray made a decent mosquito net.  Yet another reason those things are so practical!  I just hope the bug spray I brought isn’t toxic to breathe in all night…

I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and all the lights were out.  The bathroom had no roof, so it was open to the air.  Which means I got to pee under the stars.


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