I woke up at 6:30am today. Well, no, technically I woke up at 4:30am when I heard the Muslim prayer call from the Mosque right beside our apartment building. I fell back asleep though, and got up at 6:30. It’s actually quite a good system for me. I like to be half awake before I actually get up so that I don’t oversleep and so that I feel as though I’m sneaking in extra sleep time.
After I got up, I got dressed and went to go rinse my face and brush my teeth in the bathroom. I could almost write a whole blog about the bathrooms here, but I’m sure some of you would rather not have a detailed account of my bathroom activities. I’ll just be brief then. The bathroom in our apartment has a toilet (Yay! – some bathroom’s only have a hole in the floor) but the toilet doesn’t flush so we have to pour buckets of water into it to “flush” it. There is also no shower, but there is a tap in the wall where we can easily give ourselves a bucket shower.
I always try to be as quick as possible when in the bathroom since there are 8 of us living here, sharing one bathroom. My homestay family is wonderful though. It took a bit of time for me to adapt to living with a big family again and with a mom who checks in on me often, but I’m more used to it now. I am actually really enjoying having 3 “brothers” and another “sister.” My homestay brothers are a lot of fun: Mudasir is the oldest and often walks with me to the corner store at night to keep me safe and practice the English that he is learning in school. He’s really smart. Muzakir and Muhammed are the two youngest and they happen to be playing with a couple of pink balloons right now (they love balloons, especially since we drew pictures and wrote their names on them). Their sister Fatma hasn’t been around much, but she smiles a lot and helps us with a number of things during the day.
Sida (the other volunteer who I share a room with) and I walked through a field, some garbage, and a small sandy area with beautiful yellow and blue flowers to get to our daladala stop (bus stop). I smiled at a couple of school children on the bus who blushed and hid their faces, then paid the 300 shilling fee for the bus (which is probably about 15 cents in Canada), and got off at the stop outside the YCI office.
Today was the first day of our “Emerging Leaders” class, so after getting to the office, we quickly got all of our supplies together and then walked for about 15 minutes over to the classroom at ZANGOC. Most of the participants can understand English quite well, so they picked up on my silly jokes, but since it was the first day many of them were quite shy when speaking English. A few of the participants expressed an interest in understanding more about their civil rights so that they can help to educate and change their communities, so tomorrow I’m going to read up on human rights here in Tanzania! 🙂
After class Sida, Aziza (a local volunteer here), and I took the bus and walked to the post office in Stone town. We stopped at the Stone Town Cafe for lunch as a treat after our first class and I had yogurt with muesli and fresh fruit – mangoes, pineapple, banana, and watermelon. It’s amazing how delicious and fresh all of the fruit is here. I haven’t seen any grapes, apples, pears or peaches here, but every tropical fruit that you can imagine is here somewhere. Back at the office we spent some time working on our other assignments before we packed up at 6pm to go home.
When we got home I sit down to have dinner on the floor with my homestay family. Dinner was Ugali and a stew of potatoes, liver, okra, and spices in a tomato sauce. We also had fresh squeezed mango, passion fruit, and banana juice which my homestay mom made. It was delicious! Then the power went out, the fans stopped, and we could feel the heat again, so we went up on the roof to enjoy the breeze from the ocean close by.
There’s a lot to be learned from the people here in Zanzibar, and I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can!
–Sarah Anderson, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2012
For more on Sarah’s progress, check out her personal blog http://sarahupdate.wordpress.com/ . Sarah and the team will be in Tanzania until mid-March. For more information on our upcoming Youth Ambassador opportunities, check out the Program Calender section on our website.