Finished week 6 and it already feels like our time here is reaching an end. We taught sustainable farming this week. It was actually a lot of fun to teach, although it’s hard to tell how much the students understood. Learning about erosion, nutrients, organic matter, terracing, and contour plowing would probably sound very confusing in another language. Mwakaje came to our class (after a very last minute cancellation from Mwaisemba) to translate the weeks lessons on farming and global warming. I haven’t had a chance to look at their exams yet. Katelyn and I like to go to Mwakaje’s to watch Seinfeld while we grade, but he’s visiting his family in Mbeya this weekend. We decided to experiment with giving them a word bank on the board with sustainable farming terms…we’ll see how it went.
This week really flew by without many major events. The struggles of living together and working together have started to need addressing. Open communication and PATIENCE seem to be the most important ways to diffuse conflict. I started thinking about the differences between this adventure and some of my previous, shorter emersion experiences. I wake up some mornings and think I’m back in the U.S. and slowly realize (usually around the time a rooster crows right outside my window) that I get to walk out my front door and see the Livingstone Mountains one more time. Having now been here longer than I’ve ever been in any other foreign country at one time, I have some conflicting feelings about the U.S. and home. It’s almost like limbo. I’ve been away long enough that the stunning, fast-paced excitement has slowed (only a little) to a comfortable rhythm but I feel like I’m now having to look towards the end of our trip. What do I need to remember to photograph? What people do I want to give great thanks to? And gifts to? What hikes did I still want to take? My mind is not only full of thoughts about leaving but also thoughts of arriving in the U.S. Communication with home is forcing me to anticipate the shock to my system that will, and always does, occur before I settle back into another rhythm of living. It’s like going home from camp or from anywhere where you have spent a significant amount of time with the same individuals. You return home excited and full of stories but also feeling misunderstood without the familiarity of wherever you are returning from. This Saturday is a kind of tired day so I apologize for the tone of this week’s post.
I went to see Mama Mwasamwaja this Wednesday and pick up bread. She helped me prepare more green reeds so I can continue weaving. She’s excited for me to finish a whole mat. On my next day off, which will be the week after next, I want to ask her if I can just spend the day with her on her porch or at her shamba (farm). Her back porch is one of my favorite places here. The women here are all incredibly strong and beautiful. Sitting on her porch with them, I feel like part of their club. I’m not, I’m a young wazungu girl in Africa teaching English for just three months, but I feel really special in the presence of such smart, hardworking, women.
I guess I don’t know yet if I’ll feel ready to leave—it’s hard for me to ever feel ready to leave a new place, there’s so much more that I didn’t see and conversations that just never developed. For now, I’ll stay in the rhythm of living in Manow.