I’m posting this about a week late, but connecting to Internet and, further, uploading pictures can be a bit tricky here:
I am continuing to become comfortable with the routine here and I have really enjoyed my time so far. It’s exciting to focus so deeply on one topic. While I am learning a lot in class, I also feel that I’m constantly learning from the other students, and as I process my surroundings. This has been the first week in Swahili that I am learning that have proven difficult to me particularly because the concepts cannot be correlated to another English concept. Of course, there are a lot of different parts of Swahili that are this way, but this week sentence structures that have especially challenged me to move past translating back and forth from English as I seek to grasp the concept.
This week has been exciting and new in a lot of other ways, as well! Getting to know the other students and being surrounded by so many different cultures, has allowed for many opportunities to hear different perspectives. The U.S. election is always a point of interest. Unsurprisingly everyone is averse to Trump, and eager to hear an American opinion on the election. What has been fascinating is that the interest delves further than intrigue at the array of unique candidates, but contains consideration for how it will affect the international scene. I hadn’t quite grasped the global importance of this election prior to this exposure. When the shooting in Orlando occurred, I was able to talk with a woman here from Dunblane, Scotland. Dunblane is a small town where a mass shooting at a school occurred in 1996. As a direct result, stricter gun laws were introduced in the UK. From her remarks, these laws were quite popular and have proven successful. This perspective was powerful, particularly from someone who coped with the effects of a mass shooting in her hometown. It also has been intriguing to hear about Brexit from citizens of the UK. Leading up to the referendum, the vote was incredibly important to them and a big point of discussion. There was a bit of disbelief at the result and continued conversation of how it would all proceed. Hearing unfamiliar perspectives about an array of issues has been compelling and allowed me to reflect on these matters through new angles.
Over the weekend, I went into town with a few other students, studied, and did laundry. In town we got a bite to eat and ran some errands. Navigating Morogoro with other unfamiliar faces was really helpful in grasping the town. I finished the afternoon with a fair understanding of how to get around. It was also enjoyable to get a nice meal and pick up some groceries. One of my favorite parts was finding a bookstore with a great selection of Swahili and English books. I will definitely be revisiting to pick up a short novel in Swahili. It was a great way to spend Saturday, especially after a few days without power during the week. I spent Sunday studying and doing laundry. Washing my clothes has proved one of the most difficult tasks since I’ve been in Tanzania. I had previously been using the wrong kind of detergent, so Sunday was my first day of successful washing and drying, but it’s exhausting rinsing and ringing out your clothes. My forearms were sore Monday! I have new respect for people who always wash their clothes by hand. While doing laundry isn’t exactly fun, it’s been a lesson in humility and simplicity. These past few weeks I have been able to consider value in time-efficient items like a washing machine or dishwasher, but I have also reflected on the implications of goods and activities we consider everyday. Principally, that they use vast amounts of energy. I hope this can be a chance for me to learn how to better balance these, seemingly, divergent forms of efficiency.