Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

Noloholo, Day 68: The Downside of Counting Down

About halfway through the morning, I consider the countdown of days on my calendar, and debate the wisdom of even counting down. I’m not sure if I value the days more because they are disappearing, or if the knowledge of their passing just adds a sense of stress and urgency that makes it harder for me to enjoy where I am. Judging by the clenching in my chest over the whole issue, I am starting to think that countdowns are not worth their muster. I start to want to record the little details – the stuffed lion in the corner of the office, the way the breeze comes through the window and takes all the papers off my table, the gently worn floors, and the sound of trapped insects throwing their bewildered bodies at our windowpanes.

Tuma taught me how to make chapati this morning, starting in darkness at 6:15. It was good, aside from the fact that I missed watching the sky wake up in the morning. I got the hang of it quickly, after getting laughed at a few times, and I think I could reproduce it for myself at home. I guess all that dance training does have a few crossover applications, one of them being that I am decent at learning just from watching. The only issue will be the amount of the various ingredients. My notes read something like “1 heaping spoonful of salt. 2 flat spoons of sugar. Swirl the bowl. Pour oil in for a little while, then add flour until it the dough no longer clings to your fingers.” Very technical, I know.

Moses appears with my surveys, and I make final changes. I also introduce him to Google Translate, which helps him significantly with the translation of Christy’s game counts sheet from English to Swahili. I used it yesterday to translate my powerpoint from English to Swahili. After going over it all with Dennis, I’ve determined that 80% of it was perfect. Unfortunately, as a non-native speaker, it is difficult to know which 80%.

Halfway through the day, I ask Kelly, “Can you help me set up chairs tonight?” And she goes, “where are all our chairs?” It turns out they are still at Moylimet’s, borrowed for purposes of last week’s sharehe. Thank goodness for Kelly and Paolo, whose combined forces will acquire said chairs back from said borrower in time for tomorrow’s training. It would have sucked to have 30 people show up and have nowhere for them to perch their tacos (Your Swahili word of the day is taco – noun, meaning ‘butt’)!
The days are even as always, padded with the sound of wind thrumming in the trees, and the rhythmic clatter of our fingers typing from morning to dusk. The sky closes in like the coy, painted lids of a beauty queen. With Buddy and Laly out of town, it’s just the four of us youngsters eating together, gathered around the table like a noisy little family with terrible manners.

At night, my headlamp illuminates a cone of dust for me to travel in. I brush my teeth into the bushes, scanning my surroundings for eyeshine, and then go visit my spidey friends in the toilet tent. This reality is made of so many perfections, I never in a hundred lifetimes could have dreamt it up.

One of the many perfections
Tags: travel - tanzania
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.