Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day in Arusha

Common sight on these roads
A few weekends ago, we took a trip to Arusha, the next 'big city' over from Moshi. Arusha has about 1.5 million people, whereas Moshi only has about 150,000.  Arusha has lots of amenities that Moshi doesn't have, so it's a popular place for the area. On our drive from Moshi, we passed through lots of dry, sparsely populated area, and then started an small ascent up to Arusha, a much cooler and greener area. Ryan told us that about 10 years ago, Moshi used to be as temperate and lush as Arusha, with lots of rain and greenery. Unfortunately, a lot of deforestation happened, and too many trees were destroyed to sustain the water cycle there. Now, Moshi has a much hotter and drier climate, and much of the greenery has disappeared. Tanzania has passed a law imposing a heavy fine for those who cut trees in Moshi, because of the damage that has been done to the climate. It puts locals in a tough position - they are desperately poor and need to cut the wood to cook their meager meals. But the area will be in danger of desertification if they lose more trees.

Anyway, back to our trip to Arusha - we got to the city and got stuck in traffic, I felt at home, haha! It took us about 30 minutes to get a few miles, so it was reminiscent of Southern California.

Once in the city center, we stopped for lunch, passing both the McDonald's and Starbucks copycat stores.
"Stiggbucks Coffee" - hmm sounds familiar...
McMoody's Restaurant
 After a great Italian lunch (what a treat!), we headed to the Cultural Heritage Museum in Arusha. This is a new museum that displays centuries of Tanzanian history, as well as new artists' works. Tons of great sculptures, paintings, photographs were displayed all over. 

Wooden soldier men from the 19th cent
Carved chairs
The only difference between this place and an American museum is that ALL of the works, historical or not, are for sale. That was a little surprising!

Iron elephant
A neat weaving

Great day seeing a new place, wandering around a (air-conditioned) museum, and seeing incredible art by very talented people!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Foothills of Kilimanjaro

Outside of Moshi, up in the foothills of Kilimanjaro, there is a little village that has a nice hotel hidden in the greenery. Being a little higher than Moshi, it's also cooler and greener, and it enjoys the streams that runs down from Kili.

The hotel serves a nice tea, and we spent one Saturday afternoon relaxing in the cool air and shade of their lawn. Their tea is more like Indian chai than proper British tea, and it is so tasty with a bit of sugar (ok, or a lot) and milk.

After our tea, we walked down to the stream.  There were tons of local kids there, washing clothes, swimming, playing. They ran up to us, and then got shy and just watched us from a few feet away. I charmed a couple into a picture. I love the looks of wonder when they see their themselves on my camera. Half the time they have this look of like, "is that ME?!?" and giggle with embarrassment.

The 5 teachers: Me, Becky, Holly, Melissa and Rebekah

We had a great visit there, many more to come as we uninitiated get a bigger taste of the upcoming heat in Moshi. We will be begging for the foothills!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Geography With My Class

This year, the curriculum for my 5th and 6th grade class is called Exploring Countries and Cultures (from My Father's World curriculum). That means my class gets to embark on a world tour of many different countries and peoples. This should be especially fun because I have an international class.  So far, the students have really enjoyed studying maps and getting their 'passports' ready for the educational journey. Every two weeks, we will be starting a different country.  So what better way to prepare for our geography adventure than by making a cake of the world?? The kids did all the decorating - and then acted like Godzilla as they ate parts of continents ("AAAAaahh I just ate my friends in North America - YUMMMMM!").

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tanzanian Morning

Although the sun doesn’t come up until 6:30am, the day starts long before that for most people here.  I hear the roosters crowing around 4 or 5, and then the other animals nearby start, and it isn’t long before I hear the voices of people in the road, walking to their jobs or to school or to the market. About a block from our house is an orphanage – I hear those children too, starting their chores outside, giggling and talking.  This time of year, the air is cool in the mornings, and it’s pleasant to be outside.  It’s even “cold” to locals – our guard at our house wears a full-length parka sometimes, when it’s the low 60s. =) 

The view from my bed!

My first sight when I wake up is the inside of my mosquito net, and thankfully I have only forgotten once that it surrounds me and I sat up and got tangled.  A window right next to my bed looks out over our yard and vegetable garden, and in the distance is Mount Kilimanjaro.  That is a sight I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. It’s majestic and the lighting on it is always a bit different. 

I'm not a morning person, but I am loving all the mornings here!