AH! I did not take advantage of my one week of rest before the school group came! It’s been nonstop, but I’m enjoying it. Days turn into nights really quickly around here. The student group that is volunteering this week is a big sponsor of JBFC, and they had a lot of projects planned to do during their two week stay. It’s been my job to get them where they need to be, get their supplies ready, and document their progress. They went on safari yesterday, giving me two days off, and I can’t say I’m not enjoying having some time to myself!
The other day, one of the high school chaperones asked two of the students to come have a meeting with the adults. It took me an embarrassingly long time to understand that she was referring to me. Am I an adult?! When did that happen? I think the biggest struggle I will have to overcome with this job is trying to relate more with the chaperones than with the actual students.
We took the group on a walk to the village public school, and it’s amazing to see their reactions to it. They’ve paired up with our Form IV kids to work on a community service project there, which is pretty incredible. They are all going to go back and volunteer this week and I’m excited to see how it turns out. The one thing that does worry me is that most student groups don’t go far from campus. JBFC is amazing, but being inside of its bubble is a false representation of Tanzania. Sometimes I feel guilty for the way I am living. Today I came into Mwanza (“the city”, as everyone calls it) and one of the JBFC drivers took me. No public transportation, and when I arrived at the market expecting to do some shopping and haggling on my own, he escorted me everywhere and did the bargaining for me! I felt like a true mzungu tourist, and next time I’m going to work up the courage to ask him to leave me on my own.
I also feel my relationships with the JBFC girls growing closer as time goes on, and I’m really looking forward to knowing them better. I know most of their names already, which is quite a challenge. Last night I accidentally wore yoga pants to prayer instead of a skirt, and they all laughed at me. It was surprisingly embarrassing, and I don’t think I will make that mistake again!
After this group leaves, all of April and part of May are “blacked out dates” aka, no volunteers allowed. I’m really looking forward to having the freedom to pick up some projects around campus and be as involved as I can be. There is a restaurant on campus where they sometimes hold events, and I’m planning to do some work there. I can’t seem to escape this industry!
I also learned that the “Maasai market” in Arusha burned down a few months ago. It was the go-to place for souvenirs and cool handmade things for anyone passing through. They are in the process of rebuilding it, and I am really hoping it’s back the way it was when I visit.
Since I’m in the city today, my internet was faster and I’m able to share some more photos!
One of my favorite people on campus! Bibi Nyamalwa having a dance party while cooking at the Joseph & Mary School’s dining hall.