The member of Parliament spoke about the special gift of wildlife in this area so close to Tarangire and the importance of Noloholo, and specifically thanked APW for sending 12 kids to secondary school through the scholarship program. Education is important, he said, and he hopes to come back in 20 years and find a community of highly educated Tanzanians here in Loibor Siret.
There were many other speeches, and thank-yous and blessings, interspersed with delightful songs and skits done by the schoolchildren. Nonetheless, 5 hours is a lot to sit through when you only know 200 words of Swahili. Equally amazing were the other attendees who did not have chairs and weren’t under the sun-shielding tarp with the other special guests – they stood in the sun for the entire ceremony. The children themselves were incredibly well-behaved as they were trotted out again and again to sing. I was very impressed by the end of it all. We were fed food; I did not get sick. Laly and Buddy were also honored with beadwork from the Maasai women – they both got crosses and gifted them to Andrew and me when we got home.
Home. It is starting to feel like that. Sunday is our day of rest. We like to kick it off by making brunch for Buddy and Laly. Banana pancakes with a kick of cinnamon. Bacon. Home-made syrup with fresh honey. Coffee. I had finally fallen into a blissful, exhausted sleep the night before, and kept the night until 9. I awoke refreshed and took my free time today at leisure.
I finally moved out of the dorms and into my tent today. The view off my “front porch” is of twin mountain peaks, and when I lie on my sleeping pad I see the gnarled scribble of acacia branches overhead. I made my own clotheslines and hung my laundry bag. I’m glad I brought so little with me, for my tent feels spacious even with all my belongings in it. I haven't been much for religion in many years, but I hung my little cross in my tent anyway. Might as well have some extra protection against an errant buffalo, right? ;) I washed my clothes today, too, and found meditation in the feel of soap and water pulling dirt out of my clothes.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I am here, and what I want to contribute. After a delicious day off, I am beginning to see the answers. I'm able to see this beautiful place as a shot at freedom, a place where I can come to peace with myself and heal from the bitterness of the past year. Here I begin to see what I could overcome my fears, and truly provide something valuable to APW and to Loibor. I am eager for the gifts of the next week, and grateful for the new view I have begun to find today.