Wednesday, March 27, 2013

As We Approach Triduum

This week started with an awesome procession for Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday procession from church through the neighborhood. There were probably 100 people processing and singing.
We started at church, walked through the neighborhood to the elementary school, said a blessing, then the procession continued for another 1/2 hour until it reached the church again.

Chris in the crowd holding up the palms
It was a pretty neat experience, much more elaborate and joyful than the processions I've been a part of in the states.

It was hard to jump back into the solemnity of Holy Week, but I look forward to that kind of exuberance and more when we celebrate Easter on Sunday.

I also heard that we'll be slaughtering a lamb for dinner on Sunday. I mean, we won't be slaughtering it. But the church will give it in the offering and the MK community will slaughter, cook and eat it. Even though that still makes me sad for the cute little lamb, it also kind of ads to the festivity of it and I'm looking forward to it.

Wishing everyone a blessed Triduum and a happy Easter to come.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Around Mwanza

Despite still being sick over the past few months, we've had a lot going on in our lives and with the MKLM Community in Mwanza. In early March the new missioners were back in town because they were on break from language school. Chris is in charge of their orientation, so he spent a lot of time going with them to see potential houses, visiting their future ministry sites, viewing our current ministry sites, etc.

On one particular day I took the folks out to visit Caitlin's school because our court case was coming up that morning and Chris had to be there for it.* It was so fun to hang out for a few hours with 60-ish pre-schoolers. They're the cutest!

The classroom at Caitlin's school
Here's one of the classrooms. There are 2 regular education classes and 1 special education class in this private, Catholic school. The school uses the Montessori** method, so the kids take off their shoes and sit on mats on the floor.

Caitlin and Margaret sitting with the kids.
The best part is when the kids chant in English with their Tanzanian accents. "I am sitting on my MAT!" Or "Thank you teacher for the PORRIDGE!"

Rich and Margaret visiting the classroom for kids with disabilities.
The Special Education classroom was really touching. The TZ education system doesn't make room for people with disabilities, either physical, educational or mental. Therefore, this classroom gives kids an opportunity where they wouldn't otherwise to get an education.

I organized a seminar last Saturday for the women in my church. We had a guest speaker*** come in to teach them exercises similar to tai-chi or yoga, which is good to help women get in touch with their bodies and teaches them to relax and de-stress. Unfortunately, I was sick so I couldn't stay for the event.

The women setting their station before they begin the seminar
At least I was able to see the introduction as they got started and set up their environment.

From what I heard from the ladies, the seminar was a success and they are already asking when they can do another one like it.

To see more pictures from around Mwanza lately, check out my Flickr photostream.

*It was postponed until March 21 because the judge had a baby and is on maternity leave. That date came and went and it was also postponed again because the judge still isn't back.

**Well, it's supposed to be Montessori. That's one of the things that Caitlin's working on with the teachers. They were trained in this teaching method but don't particularly adhere to it.

***The guest speaker was Mrs. Mbgoma, Chris's boss. This is what she does with her .

Around the Office

I just uploaded a bunch of pictures from the office and from our International Women's Day events in the beginning of March.

International Women's Day:
Kivulini staff and volunteers heatedly discussing the issues with people as they stop by our tent
We had a tent set up in the stadium in downtown Mwanza where people could stop by anytime during the week to get information, debate the issues or take a pledge to join our changemaker campaign. Here you can see the staff and volunteers having a heated discussion with community members.

Rahabu sign Rich (a new missioner) as a We Can changemaker
One of our new missioners even signed the pledge.

Mama Kikwete, the First Lady of TZ, was the guest speaker on Friday
On March 8, International Women's Day, Mama Kikwete spoke and visited each of the tents.

If you want to see all the pictures that I uploaded, click here to see the Flickr set. Disclaimer, most of these pictures were taken by a hired photographer and not by me. If it's a blurry shot, then I probably took it on my iPhone. Otherwise, I probably didn't take it.

Around the Office:
For the past few months we have had an international social work student from Zurich university doing her field placement in our office. She's taken a bunch of nice pictures of the staff, which I thought I'd share here.

Me, Witness, Leonie (a SW intern from Swizerland) and John.
Me with Witness (a volunteer who left last week to start her new job), Leonie (the intern) and John (another volunteer)

This posing for pictures was the best thing happening that day at work.

This was really fun to take as many pictures with me and Leonie as possible.
With Kadijah, program officer in the We Can Campaign.

Me, Kadijah, Leonie & Asia
With Asia, Director of Monitoring and Evaluation.

To see more pictures of my staff, visit my photostream.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


There must be a kilio (literally, "a crying" but it basically is a funeral) going on across the street today. There is a tent set up with chairs and a ton of people. They are singing music and it is just so beautiful. I'm sorry for their loss, if that is the case. But the music is really pleasant on this rainy, dreary day.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Heri ya siku ya wanawake duniani!

Happy International Women's Day. We had a great event today where the TZ First Lady spoke to a huge crowd of people. I got this close to her when she visited Kivulini's tent.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A little of this and that

I've noticed that my blog posts have been more and more sporadic. That, and I've also stopped journaling, which I normally do by myself each morning. It all started when I was sick and out of my normal routine. I wasn't leaving the house except to go to doctor's appointments so there just wasn't a lot of content to my day. Now I think it's also a sign that life here in Tanzania is just like life anywhere. You just go about your daily tasks and don't really think about how interesting, unusual, noteworthy, etc. things are. Like the fact that I sat out in the hot sun all day yesterday (under a tent) and my lunch consisted of unshelled peanuts bought from a lady carrying them on a tray on her head and a packaged ice cream cone bought from a guy peddling a bicycle that has a freezer on the front. It was kinda old meets new world.

Kivulini banner at International Women's Day Celebration

This Friday is International Women's Day. My office is holding a week-long celebration at the stadium in town, which is why I was out in the sun all day yesterday. Here's our new banner getting hung up at our tent. "Together we can end violence against women." I'll post more about the events of the week after everything is done on Friday.

Earlier in the week Chris found this bird almost drowning in the dog's bowl.

Chris found this baby bird in the dog's food bowl

It was the cutest little thing and I think Chris was hoping to get a new pet. Unfortunately, it didn't make it the night. It's probably for the best, but that little guy was a sweetie.

We're being hosts this week to the new missioners who are on break from language school. Remember last year when the roles were reversed and we were the ones in language school? Seems like a long time ago! And my, have we grown. We have Rich staying with us for the week and it's always a surprise to see what he pulls out of his luggage from the States!

Rich brought some amazing things with him to TZ
He brought 4 wigs with him!