23 Oct. Off on an adventure to Njombe via Iringa to stay with my Mama Afrika, Philomena.

Me and My Mama Afrika, 

Philomena and me.

Off on another adventure. Jack and I left Morogoro and travelled the familiar road to Iringa. I was in my element. It felt like I could easily be in outback Australia because the dry, undulating sparse country held the colors and vision similar to that which I have experienced many times as I traveled into the less populated areas back home! This type of driving is therapeutic and uplifting for me. I drove on almost alone on the never ending road only occasionally having to overtake trucks gasping their way up and over the mountain ranges. Half way to Iringa from Morogoro I drove through The Baobab Valley. It goes on and on and on for many, many, kilometers. The majestic old Baobabs looking like they had buried their heads in the dusty red soil and their bottoms and roots in the air, beckoned me! I just had to stop. They were calling me to come to them. So stop I did! I wandered into the Valley and stretched my legs. In a quiet little setting I discovered a Mama na mtoto scrubbing their few pieces of clothing. Slowly without seeming to have a worry in the world they complimented each other, unaware of my intruding eyes. So peaceful. I ertainly didn't feel fearful or alone in the wilderness.
The Baobab flanked by the ever faithful ,flat topped acacia tree
The dry season is nearly over and the grand old Baobabs are starting to come alive. their fingers are gracefully tipped with pure white blossoms...sparse but evident that the rains are coming. ..... and so the journey continued.....and the road stretched on ahead........
 The sad fact is, that when you are traveling these long barren roads, many of which are not well maintained, you frequently come across truck or car litter. This is an example of having crested a hill to have a fresh accident confront you! This was the 5th fresh incident I had come across. Fortunately, the truck remained on the road because if it had rolled, it would have landed down in the river flowing below. It appeared that no other vehicles had been involved! A small blessing in a tragic scenario.
 On arriving in Iringa I went straight to Neema's Crafts, one of my favourite coffee shops and Craft Centre where I ordered food, coffee and rang my dear friend and Mama, Philomena.
The next 24 hours were filled with laughter and non-stop talk. Meeting her friends catching up on everything. We walked the soko (market) buying food for the amazing Tz meal she was to cook us that evening. I laugh every time I visit her because she is almost the Tz Imelda Marcos!! 
The next morning we visiting the Teachers College where she proudly introduced me to all her Colleagues, friends and students including the College Principal.

At The Iringa Teachers' College with the College Principal.
The College grounds.
Philo and Jack at Philo's home. 
Farewell Mama Afrika, I will return next week after the Njombe experience!

"You just gotta laugh!"

Oh my goodness..... I have laughed heartily out loud... twice today!!! Both times relate to "the things us girls do to make ourselves beautiful!!!
A few weeks ago I realised that I had finished the color part of the mixture I make to dye those persistent grey hairs which are becoming more and more, the longer I stay here in Tz. I quickly sent a panic email to Sandie my 'sister who knows all about hair and beauty stuff' which resulted in a small package arriving in Box 273 Morogoro ... (stating contents as: 'school supplies'... Yes, this was definitely a supply needed for me to stay sane and supply SEGA school with quality teaching support.... and which also meant I, who does all SEGA's postal collections, didn't have to pay enormous taxes to collect the parcel.... good work Sandie!!)
As today began, Sunday 14 October and an unexpected day home, I realised I had time to paint the newbies into oblivion!!! So out came the art supplies and away I went. I am proud to say that I am quite an expert at this now. I had seldom dyed my own hair before coming to Tz. My dear friend and Aussie Hairdresser had assured me that I would find someone who understood the color dye language when I got here....Pole Deb! People in Morogoro don't know how to cut European hair let alone color it anything other than black!! I found some brownish dye in Dar in the early days but it was going to cost me a relative fortune on my meager vols allowance! When visiting Oz last December, I discovered his self-mix method and have now perfected it!
 So, here I sat this morning...looking gorgeous, as we do during these beautifying processes, Skypeing my family (no....not video skypeing!! just voice skypeing.... just as well satellite internet connection is hopeless in times like these!) and letting the time tick by so that each little grey could suck up that color and be reborn.

"Okay, Gem, I must go now to go wash off the dye. I nearly forgot it was still brewing" I said.

Tap turned on
Waiting for the water to flow...which often takes a few minutes to happen
Nothing....then a splurt.... then
Nothing.... another violent shaking of the shower extension pipe which is gaffer taped to the wall so it won't fall down ...
Nothing..... the next violent burst of air exploding from the shower unstuck the gaffer tape and the shower rose came down to greet me....minus any water!

That was it..........NO WATER!
This is not a common occurrence in my house...(in many others.. but not mine!) so I wasn't prepared with buckets and buckets of water on hand.
My greys were cooking...cooking...over...cooking! Oh no what to do????
(this is when I laughed heartily and out loud at myself! What else could I do??)

Then I had a brain wave!!
Fortunately I have been using a new efficient water filter which had given me a large container of clean drinkable water. My drinking supply for the 3 askaris (guards) and myself for a night and day.
Yes...I had to use it as it was my only option!
....Rinse carefully.... cup by cup....until finally I had a head of clean, dye-free, shining, evenly colored hair.

My mane (and my sanity) had been restored!

#2 Laugh out Loud.
Later today, driving home from SEGA having visited on this lazy, warm Sunday afternoon and shared the twice-daily task of collecting the many, many freshly laid, warm brown eggs and refreshing the water feeders, when I looked in the review mirror and saw a confusing sight!

In my house I only have a couple of small mirrors and often the light is not so good so the reflection seen can be distorted or not quite accurate.

Remember, this morning when I was putting on color, I was only coloring the regrowth! Looking in the mirror, I could see a red tinge to the color of my hair....coloring the identical area to which I had applied the dye. I looked again but you can't take your eyes off the road at all so I pulled over and inspected. Sure enough the new color Sandie had sent me was not the same as I had been using!! (or so I thought!!) Oh my goodness...Have I been walking around all day with my hair multicolored as blatantly as this. I couldn't believe it but....as I don't get too hung up on what I do actually look like.....I wasn't really worried but thought I would have to go home and apply another batch to the rest of the mane! Indicator on and, as I looked over my right shoulder to check the oncoming traffic,
......I suddenly realised that Jack, my car, has a visor on the driver's door and.... guess what color it is tinged??????........Yes you are right.....reddish/pink!!

This is when I laughed heartily and out loud at myself for the second time today! What else could I do??

So instead of going home to Fran's do-it-yourself beauty parlor...
I drove to the International School and went for a run instead!!

 I actually sat down this evening to put together at least one of the many amazing events that continue to happen at SEGA and in my life....and somehow came up with this!  I guess I just wanted to share, for a change, a taste of the small things that make my life here so much fun, often extremely frustrating but awesomely frantastic!
to quote my BL:
 "Life's Great!"

29 September. Community Outreach Activity. Bright Stars (Form 2) visit Morogoro Amani Center for the Disabled.

The happy group after SEGA had presented the Amani Center with sawadis (gifts) of soap powder, sugar and pipis (sweets)

Having talked with the Form 2 girls about the Morogoro Amani Center and the various types of disabilities experienced by the children attending the Center, the girls then discussed and planned which of their skills and activities would be appropriate to volunteer to make the lives of these young people brighter.
Saturday 29 September, Counselor Pauline, Nancy, Alice, Kennedy and Fran shared a memorable morning with the Bright Stars, the dedicated staff and children of the Amani Center.
Having greeted the staff, a busy time began as the girls divided into their working teams and cleaned the environment: removed rubbish, swept paths, cleaned rooms, sorted books in the Library; washed clothes and floors; fetched buckets of water and shared time with the staff and children.

  On completion of the activities, everyone gathered in the large multipurpose hall and the fun began!
 Some jumped rope…
 Some played ngoma (drums) and percussion….
 whilst others shared their artistic skills and happily played with the children.
The staff joined in and shared their musical talents and established a beat which very few could resist. Happy faces sweated; excited voices sang out loudly; feet danced and bodies moved! Dance and rhythm speaks all languages and everyone responded to the fun… either with their own dance moves, song or simply by observing and enjoying the entertainment!
A pipi (sweets) scramble brought shouts of joy and madness as the young and old tried hard to rush and get one (or more!) pipi before the formalities began.

Counselor invited the Amani staff to come forward and share their story of involvement at the Center. Our girls listened intensely as they realized the potential Career opportunities for them. They became aware of positions such as a Physiotherapist, speech therapist, special needs Educator or nurse. It ignited the thought of the real possibility that their lives could be dedicated to sharing skills with the disabled: in a Center, a hospital or their own communities.
Thanks were given by everyone involved..
 ....as the SEGA students presented the Centre with their gifts and then the day concluded as the whole gathering cheerfully burst into song: 
“Happy 30th Birthday Counselor Pauline”
“Thank you Counselor, the EFL Team representatives, Alice and Nancy; Kennedy and Bright Stars for making another memorable Community Outreach activity happen and for bringing so much joy into people’s hearts. 

 It is certainly a very special moment 
when a young disabled person spontaneously throws his arms around your neck and whispers: 
“Thank you”!!

Students' reflections:
 “I am very happy. I know now there are people who can’t do anything without the help of other people so it has helped me to know that I must learn about the people who are disabled like the children here. I can advise you to help the people who are disabled especially the children without their mothers and fathers because they can’t survive without our help.”

I learned how to live with people with disability and also what to advise the parents and other people in our community who do not care or know about these disabled or what to do to help them. We can do this now because before, I was thinking that disabled people are not wanted in the community because they can’t do anything to help us but now I know they can do many things. So I am very, very happy to know this.” Rhema Choga

 “I see many persons and I am getting good knowledge of how I can help and share with another person who needs me.” Nuru

 “…. Seeing these people, I want us to share our love…..” Agnes 

…. I know how I can live with them and help them in my community….”
Rehema Josiah

Farewell Amani Center....we won't forget you!