Wow! So we are finally in Manow! We landed in Dar es Salaamvery late on Monday, September 19th. Liz, our volunteer coordinator’s daughter, met us at the airport which was very helpful. She is finishing her second year in the Peace Corps and her Swahili is very good. We spent the next day and night in Dar running errands for the phones and exchanging money before heading towards Manow. The first leg of the trip was a very long bus ride from Dar to Tukuyu. We left from the bus station, Ubungu, around6:00 in the morning. When we arrived at Ubungu on Wednesday morning it was still dark and very crowed. Apparently every other set of volunteers has had something stolen while navigating the station which has about 200 buses that all leave at6:00 when the sun comes up! We were proud to have made it the whole way with all of our belongings!
The bus ride was very long but a lot of fun. We went through a small part of a national park and saw zebras, baboons, giraffes (twiga), and buffalo. Parts of the landscape looked a lot likeNew Mexico. After about 14 hours we made it to Tukuyu and tried our first chips maiai, which is basically a french fry omelet. The next day was spent running more errands at the market in Tukuyu where we can buy staples like peanut butter, laundry detergent, tomato paste, and pasta. The ride to Manow was about two hours on a bumpy dirt road with a man named Jamhuri who was so much fun! He was so excited and just smiled the whole time while Katelyn and I giggled with excitement in the back. The road to Manow was amazingly beautiful. There are these rolling green hills covered with tea, bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados. TheLivingstonMountainsare also part of landscape.
So on Thursday evening we finally made it to Manow , our home for the next 10 weeks. These past couple of days we have been meeting important members of the community and the school. Manow Junior Lutheran Seminary is the school here. It is essentially a boarding school with about 800 students. Many of the people we see around are teachers or students. We met Joshua Mwalukosya and his wife Hiari who are close friends ofNancy. They showed us video and photographs of their wedding in July. It was interesting to see the different traditions. In a Tanzanian wedding the bride must look down throughout the entire ceremony to appear sad about leaving her family. But they are so happy and seem very much in love. Mwakaje has also been very helpful. He teaches math at the school and spent about 5 years in theUSfor school, so his English is very good. Whew! There are so many things to say and so many people to tell you all about. It is impossible to think of it all! I’m very excited to go to the market in Lwangwa every Saturaday for produce. Mama Hari and Mwaikema, who happen to the parents of one of our students, have offered to show us how to make braided mats out of banana leaves and show us different hikes/shortcuts in the area. I also want to ask Mama Malanga next door to teach me to make mandazi (little fried dough balls). It’s so exciting to meet all the people we’ve heard stories about!
There is so much more to say but I need to get off the internet…
Oh! There was one surprise today thatNancysomehow forgot to tell us. Manow does experience earthquakes! This morning before church we felt three small ones. The epicenter is a little further away so they are never very large but it was still surprising. Ok, now we’re headed to our parent-teacher meeting! Class will start tomorrow morning!