This week was the week we returned to Arusha and started our internships. After the last week in Zanzibar, I was ready to leave, but was dubious to return to Arusha after I had had so much trouble adjusting here in January. Perspective is everything. I forgot how nice the people here are to wazungu compared to Zanzibar, and as beautiful as the call to prayer is from the 6 closest mosques, there’s something reassuring knowing there’s more than one church in the area and they are not likely to be the site of a bombing any time soon (Deo volente). Reuniting with our host family basically felt like coming home, and the evening of our return, my roommate and I just talked and laughed with our mama all evening. Also, flying hugs from our 9-year-old host sister and 6-year-old host brother are so wonderful, especially after the hotel-like house I stayed in in Z.
familiar sights near my house in Arusha
Internships started on Monday. I am working with Inherit Your Rights (http://www.inherityourrights.org/ ), a legal organization here in Tanzania that works to educate Maasai widows about their inheritance rights under Tanzanian statutory law and to empower them to stand up to the injustice they are victim to and to claim their rights. I could go on and on about who they are and what they do, but I’ll save that for you who want to talk to me about it. Suffice it to say, I am absolutely enchanted with my internship and am now excited to join the workforce permanently.
On Thursday, I got to go to a shamba west of Arusha to meet some Maasai women and see a tailoring school for some of them. Then on Friday, I got to go with my colleagues to another shamba in some paradise-like foothills north of Arusha and saw how they make cards for their micro-enterprise project and their chickens for another micro-enterprise project IYR has set up for them.
part of the Maasai boma
Saturday morning, all of us students met in the morning and then left to go hang out and spend the night in a Maasai boma. You know, no big deal…WHAT?? (I’m still kinda unbelieving that I had this experience.) The Maasai slaughtered a goat and most everyone watched except me and 2 other students (yeah…not about that goat-slaughtering life. Sorry to the carnivores out there.) We who weren’t watching a goat die played with the kids and then walked around a bit and I got what I feel like was my first actual bit of “completely-alone-time” on the African savannah with nothing but goats around. As such, I sang and worshipped at the top of my lungs and it felt so. good. After I figured I should probably go back, I turned around to two little Maasai boys charged with herding the goats just standing there, staring at me and smiling, and I just laughed.
one of the boys who watched me belt my lungs out w/out me knowing
As the afternoon wore into evening, our professors left to go to their hotel and we were left to have dinner and sleep in the boma. We all gathered around the campfire, and talked and laughed. The Maasai kids sang us two songs, which we applauded, and then we made kinda a sad attempt at trying to find a song we could all sing together, which culminated in a couple of people starting a camp song…and then forgetting the lyrics. I then offered to lead everyone in a camp song, which was met with an unexpectedly enthusiastic response from the other students. So I led two of my favorite repeat after me songs, and the kids got the idea a bit into it when the 11 19-23-year-old-students were enthusiastically repeating after me. We only stopped because it was at that point that dinner was served, and when we stood up to get food, one of the guys here proceeded to interrogate me about what camp is like which led to the eventual decision to apply there this summer. (Camp is awesome.) This goes on my top list of favorite life moments, officially.
We “slept”/shivered on a boma floor(a hut made out of sticks and cow poop. It’s better than it sounds) and woke up before dawn. Partially because we weren’t really asleep , partially to see the sunrise. We got to go to a local Maasai Lutheran church, went back to Arusha, and then had a dinner party at one of the students’ host homes. It was crazy, there was catered food and a DJ and dancing, and my roommate got a beautiful b-day cake (she’s 20!).
on the way, we just gave a Maasai man a lift. why not?
Monday, I got to go with my colleagues at Inherit Your Rights to represent the organization at the United Nation’s International Women’s Day Conference. *insert fangirling/nerding out exclamations here* Suffice it to say, it was an amazing, inspirational day and I may have even made a beneficial networking connection or to. Even if I didn’t, I got to meet some really awesome people who do really amazing things.
After this whole past week, I can scarcely believe that this is actually my life. On the agenda for this next week is going to some court sessions (well, I’m excited…) and going on safari! So excited. Please talk to me and keep in touch if you love me, you wonderful people. Kwaheri.