So when I first created this blog, I was still waiting to be fully accepted as a PCV. I had received the acceptance letter, but then I had to run around for a month getting all kinds of medical bloodwork tests, physical wellness exams, dental exams, dental x-rays, and so much more. I had to submit paperwork and fingerprints for background checks and Tanzanian visas. And so, while doing the stressful things, I wrote a post about why I initially applied to be a volunteer. All those things stand true. But after a year in this country, I don’t really think so much about why I joined in the first place. These days, I think about why I continue to stay.
We are told during our PST that there will be difficult days, and on those days it can be helpful to look back at the reasons we joined. To make a list of those reasons, and consult them when we need extra strength or courage or a reminder of our purpose. Personally, for me, I have never done that. Those reasons are important, yes, but they are not what keeps me here. The person who applied to be a volunteer a full 2 years ago is not the person that I am today. We share many qualities and we inhabit a similar body (cause a year in the PC changes that up a bit). But we are different people. I have changed too much to not have it mean something to who I am now. … More Why I joined the PC & Why I stay
As the grand finale to my epic safari adventure in northern Tanzania, my mother and I had planned to go to Lake Natron for the flamingos and to climb Oldonyo Lengai, a carbonate volcano that is supposedly hike-able to the top so you can look over and see into the crater.
First and foremost, one needs to understand what this “hike” actually is. You don’t hike Oldonyo Lengai. This isn’t a hike. It’s Mountaineering. You are scaling a 80-90% angled up mountainside for over 3 hours in the dark with a headlamp. And what goes up, must come down. … More Climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai
I’ve had in my head for a while now that someone *ahem ahem* – Amani – had a birthday coming up. I don’t know the exact day he was born, but I know it was the first week of February. So I have chosen for his birthday to coincide with the day I landed in Tanzania; February 6th, 2018. That is his birthday. And as I write this, that day reoccurs tomorrow. Tomorrow, is February 6th, 2019, and my baby – my beautiful big, annoying, frustrating, delightful, loving baby boy – is 1 whole year old. Amani ni miaka moja sasa. … More Belated Birthday Wishes
I’m gonna be really honest here and start off by saying that this isn’t going to be a happy post about the joys of Christmas my first year in Tanzania. This wasn’t a good day for me. So it’s a really good thing I didn’t plan to go anywhere for Christmas. The whole two months of December and January were beset by bad luck and really bad days for me. That whole period was a bit of a nightmare. But the day before Christmas Eve really won on the whole “shitty days this month” thing. … More Christmas in Paradise
I turned 23 a few months ago. December 11th, and I turned 23… alone, in my village, snuggling my dog. And I was okay with that, until I realized how being okay with being alone on my birthday might say a couple things about me. And today I realized that my birthdays have been really weird the last 8 or 9 years. I guess deep down I’ve always recognized that I’m not normal about my birthdays. My best friend likes golden number balloons, friends all around, family, songs, cake, candles, etc… She likes birthdays. And me? Well, I… don’t. … More 23 and counting…
There’s nothing quite like being a PCV and having wayyyy too much time to think about shit. And watch endless TV show episodes during the rainy season. And read all the books. So right now, I’m going to go into a topic I really enjoy thinking about and contemplating. Family, and what makes someone your family. Blood and genetics? Your relationship with them? A certain level of trust? Shared experiences? Shared likes/dislikes? Forced time spent together? … More Sense8 & Family
10 Months in… Here’s what I think about my packing list.
So at the bottom of this is my original packing list… Edited for the things I’d leave out. But I’m gonna list out the things that I am most glad that I have, and why… … More Packing List: In Retrospect, 10 Months in…
Resiliency is an interesting thing in the PC. You may never have heard of it before you get off the plane in your country of service. But within a week you will know that RESILIENCY is paramount. You’ll sit through hours of powerpoints and discussions and brainstorming resiliency strategies. And all the good advice in the world will be cheerfully shoved down your throat. Jk… sorta, kinda, not really.
So… does all that preparation actually help when you inevitably need it? In my experience… hell no, it doesn’t help worth a damn. … More Resiliency – Why we need it
Travel in Tanzania can be amazingly beautiful, incredibly frustrating, and may even prompt spontaneous – if slightly hysterical – bouts of laughter. From Corn-on-a-stick through the window, to food presented on platters balanced on the head, shishkababs of unknown meats, and a whole bag of onions… 10+ hours sitting on a bus where you may or may not have an unknown child sitting on your lap, 6 people sitting in a row only meant for 5, a chicken attempting a break for freedom out your window, or a carsick goat a row behind you… From jumping out of your skin as people hammer on the windows to sell you food when the bus stops, to peeing in a bush still in full view of the highway… But we cannot deny, we have adventures and laughter, friends and food, and we see this beautiful country as we go. This is travel as a PCV! … More Travel in Tanzania
Well, first and foremost, the fact that I am 10 months in blows my mind. It feels like I arrived just last week. And at the same time it feels like I’ve been here forever. I’ve carved out my slow-paced but infinitely satisfying way of life in my village. I wake up towards the end of what can be termed “morning”, make coffee, go get some hopefully-fresh maandazi from the dada who runs the mgahawa, and then spend a solid hour relaxing over my breakfast, and fend off my puppy away from my food. … More 10 months in.