Tuesday, July 11, 2006

An Offer of Marriage

Just a few things today. The center vehicle came to pick us all up from our host families this morning to go to school. I was picked up first at 7:45 and then we picked up 6 other students. It was interesting to see where all the other students live. Most of them are right in the middle of the town. It looked like a fun place to live.

In the afternoon, we had free time to work on our community projects. My partner, Megan, and I are working on successes and challenges of NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and we decided to focus on faith-based NGOs. Today, we went into town to try to visit World Vision, a very large Christian NGO that works around the world. We had seen a sign for the World Vision office previously on our way into town and knew which road it was on, so we planned to follow the sign and try to find it ourselves. When we asked the driver to drop us off by that road, he asked where we wanted to go and told us that the World Vision office is actually a long way out of town. But, because it was in the direction that he was going to pick up some kids from school he was able to drop us off there. It turned out to be about 8 km (5 miles) from where we had originally asked to be dropped off. We could have walked it, but it would have taken a while and we probably would have turned back before we got there, wondering if we had actually gotten the right road.

While we were there, I asked about Fadhili - the girl that Dave and I sponsor - where she lives and whether it would be possible to visit. Then we asked if there was someone we could talk to about the work that World Vision does. It might be possible for me to visit Fadhili before I leave for Kenya. It’s a ways, but not too far – just a few hours away. The person in charge of client relations was going to email someone in the U.S. to see what we could do. They usually want to do a background check before you can go visit. We’ll see. I didn’t think about it until I was here already and saw the World Vision sign. Regarding the project, the policy is to have only one spokesperson for the organization (the national director for Tanzania), but he is away until Monday. We’ll be leaving Friday for Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, so we’ll see if we have time to go back after we return.

To get back to Arusha, we walked back to the main road and then caught a daladala (local minibus – just like a matatu in Kenya) back into town. At least if we decide to go back, we know where the office is, plus which daladala to take to get there. Technically, we’re not supposed to take daladalas (a rule of the University of Georgia), but they told us that we could if we didn’t have another option. Personally, I was glad to have a reason to take the daladala. It’s a fun way to travel and it’s nice to be just like everybody else.

While we were waiting for the bus from the center to come, we stood talking with the guys who sell batiks in the street and one offered to sell us a batik for a low price – for whatever we had. I told him that I only had 100 shillings (less than 10 cents). He asked me to give him at least enough for him to eat, and said that Tanzanian food is less expensive than American food. Assuming that he meant ugali (one of the local staples), I said that I could cook ugali for him instead, before realizing that it was, in effect, telling him that I would marry him. He rolled up his batiks and quickly agreed. The Kenyan who was with us laughed and laughed and asked if I knew what I had said. I did, but only after I had said it. I told the seller that I didn’t have a pot, or a cooking stick or a fire, so I couldn’t cook ugali there. Besides, I already had a husband and I cook ugali for him (which is true!) So we joked a little more about it and all had a good laugh.

On a more sober note, my uncle passed away on Saturday after some complications with cancer. We knew it was coming, but no quite so soon. He’s the first person in my Mom’s family that I knew well who has died since my grandpa died when I was really little, and I’m sad that I won’t be able to go to the funeral this week, but Dave is planning to go. Please pray for my family right now and especially his wife, kids and grandchildren.

Well, I guess that was more than just a few things. I apologize if my English sounds funny – I kept thinking in Swahili instead of English while I was trying to write.

Love you all,


Julie said...

What's a batik? You probably explained in it another post, but I missed it.

Very funny story! Glad you knew more words to explain yourself better to the boys.

So sorry about your uncle's passing. I will pray for your family and for Dave traveling.

Anonymous said...

Sarah -

I enjoyed your story about the marriage proposal. And I know you knew better than to get yourself in such a predictament :) I just printing out your entire blog to take to Grandpa Beaman. I am going down to spend a couple of days with him. He is looking forward to hearing the stories in your blog. I hope I can keep him awake while I read it to him! He prays for you each day. We were sorry to hear about your uncle Jim. It will be difficult for you to be so far away - we will pray that the Lord will give you comfort at this time. Love and blessings - Mom and Dad Halter

Sarah Halter said...

Thanks for your prayers.

A batik is a cloth that has been dyed with a picture on it. Sometimes they have patterns on them, but here they are usually bright colors and have pictures of African people, animals or landscapes. I'll see if I can include a picture of one some time.


Anonymous said...

Hi what a interesting life you are living. Sounds fun.
Krystle DeBoer