23 September 2010

End of Orientation

Since our fantastic trip to the coast, orientation has achieved some sense of regularity. We have had Swahili lessons each morning and continue to learn a lot. Robinson’s lessons cover much more than language because he shares cultural perspectives that help answer many of our questions. Some of us may continue to have language lessons at the Language Center throughout the year.

-We attended the launch of the OAIC’s Just Communities program, a set of initiatives that aim to empower those in need.
-ACROSS is an NGO working on community development in southern Sudan. The program directors gave us an overview of their history in Sudan and discussed the political situation as the referendum approaches.
-Shelvis and Nancy left for the US but not before sharing an Ethiopian-style meal with us.
-Saturday we prepared a list for the market, bought food at the market, and prepared a traditional Kenyan meal. This lunch took all day to prepare but was delicious.
-Ochilo gave us a lecture in which he was able to synthesize centuries of global history into a cogent and concise analysis of African politics and economics. We all learn something whenever he speaks.

We attended the International Day of Prayer for Peace meeting at the AACC (All Africa Conference of Churches). The event involved archbishops and children from all over the continent. I was humbled to stand as a representative of the US. During one song, we were driving a matatu across Africa and in Somalia there were some bumps in the road (jump up and down), in Sudan we made some sharp turns, and in DRC the engine stopped and we had to restart. Really cool song.

Update on Tanzania:  I am not going for at least another two weeks. The visa committee meets monthly so my approval is going to take just a little more time. The delay may allow me to continue studying Swahili and also work short-term at another job until I leave. Everybody will move to their apartments this weekend and start work next week. Not sure where I will live or what I will do for the next two weeks. Hakuna matata!

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