Sunday, July 30, 2006

Wikiendi Pamoja na Familia Yangu (Weekend with my host family)

This weekend was my last weekend with my host family. Asha was just beginning her school holiday, so she went home with her parents Saturday morning. I saw her briefly and met her parents (my host mom’s sister and her husband) and her younger sister. She was happy to be going home, but I was sad not to spend the weekend with her.

Saturday was Monie’s birthday, though, and we had a lot of fun. Her mom had ordered a cake with Teletubbies on it and we had a party with some of the neighborhood kids. We watched movies, had cake and snacks, played with balloons and danced and danced and danced (and boy could those kids dance). The kids (and the big people) had a LOT of fun. They also learned how to use my camera and took turns taking pictures and then crowding around the camera looking at them. The 8 kids took well over 100 pictures! But it was well worth it – they had so much fun. When I downloaded the pictures from my camera today, there were even two pictures that Monie took of The Little Mermaid on the TV screen.

Today we went to Moshi and saw the house where my host mom grew up and then we went up into the Pare Mountains (which we passed on our way to Dar es Salaam) and saw where my host dad is from. It rained a little bit on our way up, so we didn't quite make it all the way up to the house on the dirt road, so we just climbed up the rest of the way. On the way home we stopped and bought a big bag of charcoal and some banana beer. I tried a little bit, since it’s a local specialty, but I did not like it at all.

After dinner, we took Monie, Bibi (Grandmother) and Glory home to Bibi’s house in town, where they all stay during the week. As I said goodbye, I couldn’t help crying. I have a really wonderful family here and I will miss them. We’ve had a great time together and got along very well very quickly.

My host mom is wonderful. As we talked about a lot of different things this weekend and as I watched her, I saw how generous she is with her time, love, wisdom and resources. From her, I’ve learned more about what it means to really love your neighbor and how to be genuinely generous. She is very wise, thoughtful and caring and I like her a lot. My grandmother’s great too. She works very hard, teaches her grandkids well and loves us all a lot. In our house, it’s all women, which has been really fun.

(I have pictures ready to post, but their on my computer and the wireless connection isn't working right now. When it comes back, I'll post them.)

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