October 22. Daily routine and patriotism!

Our routine here at Amabalis is structured and busy. I usually wake at about 6am, have a quick shower then either do my washing or some study before going to breakfast at 7am. This morning I needed to do my washing. Arriving at the ground floor laundry having greeted atleast 4 people with the same greeting.....”Habari za asubuhi?” (how are you this morning?) They would reply “Nzuri” or “Njema” (good/fine) “Habari za asubuhi?” To which I must reply “Nzuri, Njema or Salama” (good /fine/ peace).Then they usually say “Asalaamu alekum” (Peace be with you¬), to which I need to say “Asante, Wa alekum salaam” (Thankyou peace to you too). Some of the younger ones might say to me: “Shikamoo” which is a lovely way of showing respect to their elders to which I must reply “Marahaba”. If I failed to reply to this they would be very offended!
Greetings are very important and to ignore a greeting is bad manners. Everywhere you go the greetings follow the same lines. It has taken me ages to remember, let alone say, the correct responses to each of the greetings however I did learn Marahaba very quickly as it is the one which carries the greatest weight!
You can imagine that by the time I had reached the laundry, my mind was spinning reflecting on what I had just said to each of the people I had met! I believe this morning’s responses were the most correct so far during the past 2 weeks!!
Our simple laundry has cement wash troughs into which we put a big bucket, fill it with water, add the powder then begin the workout! Up and down, up and down,....pour out the soapy water, squeeze out the excess water....fill the bucket, up, down, up, down,....pour out the water....squeeze, twist, re-rinse.....squeeze, squeeze, twist.... I think this routine has assisted in gently strengthening the muscles in my weakened left arm....something I hadn’t realised until I was swimming and wondered why my arm wasn’t complaining! Hanging out the wet things is a bit tricky as it involves hiding my knickers inside a skirt, under a towel or inside my lingerie wash bag, as it is extremely bad manners and not acceptable for a woman’s underpants to be seen in public. I think one of the lovely older Nuns has her own special way of hanging out clothes because every time I have come back to collect my washing it has been hung differently from how I left it! She is a Darling and will do anything to help you....so I will try to remember to hang it the way she likes it next time! Of course everything dries quickly so the very few available pegs are shared often. I have learned to collect my things at lunchtime as last time most of them had been unpegged and all pegged together in one bunch!
Breakfast begins at 7am. It is always coffee, tea, white bread, jam and either a boiled egg, a banana or a small savoury crepe.

Some of us still at breakfast: L-R 'The 2 Frans': Francesca and Me!, Elizabet, Fredrique, Fe, Mae, Hazel Wendy

Lessons begin at 8-10.00am. during which time we are given a bottle of water. The first 2 sessions are intense and we stagger out of each on feeling like our brains are going to burst! The morning break is needed and is usually deep fried, battered banana, and a doughnut like deep fried cake, or a large sweet crepe or a somosa. The food is heavy and I have learned not to eat too much in this break! Lunch, 12.30 - 1.30 is always a cooked meal of rice, potatoes (mashed, chips or boiled in a creamy sauce) a tomato based sauce, yummy spinach, and either deep fried chicken/fish ormeat casserole and a piece of fruit: banana, orange or watermelon. A bottle of water is available. After about 3.30 or a bit later we are given a bottle of soda or water and either popcorn or peanuts. Between 4-6.30 is our free time. We either: sleep, walk or catch a daladala into town, go to the internet cafe or study. Amabilis has a small fridge in which they keep water soda and Kili beer so sundowners is usually enjoyed sitting out the back overlooking the mountains and enjoying the cool breeze.
L-R Hazel, Wendy and Alison
 Dinner, 6.30pm is always cooked and usually similar to the menu I described to lunch but if we had had fish at lunch we would be offered chicken at dinner. Night study sessions are optional either in the lounge room or in our rooms.
Wendy was having a night off from studying as she was miles ahead of me with her command of Kiswahili so she was watching one of my movies whilst I studied...Note my learning tools/posters on the wall!!

Some nights we eat out but usually we study, socialise, write blogs, laugh heaps, and if we feel like it, join the 8.30 boys for a drink at the local Elvis Bar!

This afternoon we sang the National Anthem and two other Tanzanian songs. Singing is second nature to the Africans so it involved lots of emotion and was lots of fun. We then took it in turns of singing our own National anthems. Being the only Aussie, I went solo, was very patriotic, very emotive and finished my rendition with
“Aussie, Aussie, Aussie ....Oi, Oi, Oi!!!”

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