|Don't know the name of this bird, but it's a beaut.|
In case you didn't know, and even if you don't care, R and L are not interchangeable. In Tz, and other parts of the world, people have difficulty saying and apparently hearing the two sounds. To them, either one is ok. I've seen people spell their OWN name using either one on different days. It's been me against them in this vicious consonant war, but I will prevail, despite being the only person in Berega who can differentiate between rock and lock.
This is a true story.
A few years ago Carlee and I were at our favorite, actually only, bar in Kyela, a little border town between Tz and Malawi. We were having a cold Safari, which comes in a larger than usual bottle as well as having a larger than usual alcohol content. So we were happy girls and more than ready for a guffaw or two. Our friend Gody, Zambian by birth but living in Tz, was busy ignoring us and engrossed in the newspaper, so we weaved over and asked him what was so interesting.
Gody: I'm reading an article in my home newspaper.
Me: What's it about??
Gody: Zambias big erection.
Me: Oh really, that IS interesting, and what about it?
Gody: Well, its going to be a very big erection, and everybody will come from all over Zambia.
Me: Well I imagine they will. I might even go.
Gody: Everyone is talking about it, it's very exciting. It's a very important erection.
Me. I guess so.
Well this went on for a bit, he dug himself in deeper and deeper, egged on by us two giggling half drunk wazungu. After a while I dried the tears from my eyes, and attempted to explain that he was actually talking about an election, but as he doesn't hear the difference between r and l, he never caught on, and village folks dont like to talk about sex, so I gave up. l also never found out any more about Zambias giant erection, although I hope all went well.
We have a spelling test everyday, and I begin by saying a word, after which the kids ask me to repeat it about five times, until Teacher Baraka says it. He has the same accent they do, so if I say hop, he says hope, and they spell. But if these kids hope (or hop) to go on to university, they're going to have to get this straightened out. People with good jobs making good money have had to do it, and so they will as well. I expect a lot, but being here would be pointless if I didn't.
As well as the r and l issue, Tanzanians are totally incapable of ending a word on a consonant. I am Teacha Lizzi, look is pronounced and spelled ruku, hip is heepu, rat is lati. We've been studying letter combinations and have started with sh, which they get, but can't spell ship or sheep unless I translate first into Kiswahiki. " Teacha Lizzie, sheep meli or sheep kondoo?" (boat or lamb).
This and these are turning into a real migraine, from either end. Both come out like zeez. I feel like such a hardass sometimes, but they asked for a native speaker so this is what happens.
The kids with English speaking parents do better, but everyone is catching on slowly, even Samweli is improving. He doesn't spit on me anymore when he says TH, for which I am grateful. It helps that his front teeth have grown in.
Vicent getting his picture taken with the WV soccer ball.
Normally no kid has a ball, they make them from plastic bags
and twine. I like them, they don't pop.
Last week the kids were all squirmy and excited about old division. I'd never heard of it, and frankly we're having enough trouble with two digit addition and subtraction. Shouldn't we add first, then maybe subtract, then divide? Is there new division? So I asked Teacher Baraka, our volunteer third teacher, but then his accent is thicker than the kids (he's had it longer). After much discussion, I found out that old division is World Vision.They have a chapter here, down the road a mile or two, and occasionally give the kids stuff.
|Signing up for their zawadi (gift).|
A big crowd had gathered, the kids showed their Old Division ID cards, and had their pictures taken with a soccer ball. Then they gave each kid a container of body oil and we went home. The kids looked like Ralphie on A Christmas Story when got a pink bunny suit from his aunt. I asked if this is what usually happens, and they said WV was good while they were actually here, but they are gone, and now the local people in charge sell off most of the stuff or give it to their friends and family then give the kids just a small portion of their intended loot.
Sick kid at giveaway, we took him to the hospital when we
returned to school.
They weren't blaming WV, they just said that everything is corrupt here, and so they don't complain. Besides, who would they complain to, and if they did, maybe they wouldn't even get the oil.This just strengthens my belief that large organizations, while trying to do a good thing, just get too big to manage. When all the people who work for an NGO start driving around in fat white Land Rovers, you know the money is finding other destinations.
Note girl with orange hair. Not a fashion statement, this is a
sign of malnutrition.
Small organizations, while they do smaller projects, and have less money and don't go on TV trying to guilt you out of money by showing pictures of emaciated kids with flies in their eyes, are more conscientious with your money. It's all well and good to put thousands of kids in school, but if the school is so bad that less than 10% of the kids pass, what's the point? Better to work on the school itself. All my evening students finished Standard 7 but didn't go on because they didn't pass. This is the reality here, so why not focus on improving the system rather than adding more kids to a class that already has over 100 kids crowded into one room? That's been sticking in my throat for a while, it's a relief to get it out.
Went to Mikumi with my adult class. Philipo,Amon,Abdallah
We've been having a problem with parents not paying school fees. Christina and Susy are in St 1, nice kids, but very poor and definitely hungry. Susy's shoes are about worn through, and the heels are gone.They eat their uji every morning, then sit patiently waiting for the kids who can't finish theirs to pass it over. Then for lunch they eat theirs, the littler kids leftovers, and whatever is left in the food bucker Mama Dani brings.
|Happy, Esther, Aissa,Teacher Martha and Jeska|
Suzy's mom owes 385,000 ths and Chris's mom owes 270,000 tsh. Isaac and I sat down with the moms to try to figure something out. Mama Susy (s and z also interchangeable), makes 30,000 tsh monthly and Mama Chris makes about 65,000 tsh. She has 5 kids and Mama Susy has 4. I asked them how they figured they could make those payments, they said they hoped to try. But the math just doesn't work (it can't), so they owe big. They also don't always eat in the evening, which is why C and S hoover up all they can at school. But they're good kids so we're keeping them.
|Zebras aren't small, so imagine the size of this giraffe.|
After much discussion it was decided that the families would sweep both classrooms every day, and clean both choos. They will mop every Friday. I'm too happy about this, I still pay, but we're getting something done in return. The mamas are happy as well, and hopefully they can buy more food for the house. It also explains why the kids never complain about the monotonous menu, they're too hungry to care. They're lucky girls, though, lots of kids here live like this and don't get school lunch.
The park roads were rocky and twisty so we had no idea
how long we drove on this, but we found it when we
left the park.
A friend of mine just wrote and said sometimes he doesn't believe what I write. But then he's never been to the Third World. Long ago, I worked in an Alzheimer's Unit, and here are similarities. Some things are sad, some things are funny (because you might as well laugh), and some things just don't make sense. But it's all true. You can't make this stuff up, so, you just go along with it, because you have to. Like the time one of my patients walked up to me and said "Dear, this is such a lovely boat".
Guys all over the world. One fixes, all the others stand
around and watch.