a little explanation for today’s post title. heather was out talking with a local guy that i eventually hung out with for a while (he took me to his shop and i bought some really cool stuff :)) and he taught her the phrase that you see above. ‘poa kichisi kama ndizi’ means something to the tune of ‘crazy cool like a banana’ or maybe a more literal translation ‘don’t become out of your mind like a banana’. obviously, it’s a slang term, but i thought it was pretty funny. definitely worth a little explanation.
but moshi! my goodness has it been great here. besides the really loud start to the day each morning at around 5 am, we are truly enjoying tanzania. it’s quite a bit different here than kenya, and the people are generally really friendly. i have had several nice conversations with people who come and walk with me for a little while and then go their separate ways. yesterday was nice, and even though we were expecting to not make many connections while we were here, we have had the opportunity to see some really great things. last night we went over to the house of one of mwalimu’s former students (her name is sinead…i have the hardest time saying it). she is actually from powell, ohio, so it was neat to see somebody from home doing something so neat in africa. let me tell you what she does.
sinead works with a group of women, all mothers to children in the village of rau, which is extremely close to moshi. she originally began working with the children a few years ago, but she switched to working with the mothers about a year ago. she used to be a fashion designer/consultant (i’m not exactly sure) in the US, but she found that she was focusing too much on her work there. she started volunteering here in moshi after a while and then eventually got involved more in depth. to support their families, she teaches the mothers how to crochet and make bags, wallets, and the like. the finished products are fantastic! not only are they hand made, but they look great. the finished products are brought to america and sold; the mothers are given 30% of the money that is made. the rest of the money goes right back into buying fabric and other materials that are used for the organization. there is probably a lot more that i could say about them, but i won’t belabor you here. if you want more information, just let me know and i can tell you. once i get more of her information, i will post the website and you can even look at the products that they have. they are a bit expensive, but i assure you that they are worth it. it takes the mothers about 2 weeks (maybe more, i’m not quite sure) to make one product, so think of the amount of time put into each of them. and with the travel expenses and everything, it makes sense that they are not offered for an extremely low price. understand that you will be investing into something very valuable.
these women work other jobs in which they accumulate between 7 and 10 dollars a week. trying to support a family where their children have school fees to pay, their family has rent to pay, and their husbands are manipulative, abusive, and controlling (not to mention food and clothing) can be taxing to say the least. the women crochet as well as work their other jobs.
we were blessed to be able to meet these women, both last night and today! we met just a few at the house last night, and then we went to rau this afternoon to spend time with all of them. they were very gracious to us by way of interacting even though we were strangers, and we had some wonderful conversations with us. their group seemed impressively supportive of each other, almost as if it was their home base. they told us how abusive their husbands are, and it was amazing to see the smiles that spread across their faces in spite of that. we met in a simple, unfinished house made of bricks and mortar with dirt floors. but even though it didn’t suffice as a living area in my american mindset, it seemed to be enough. sufficient. next to the house was a mud house where one of the ‘mamas’ lived and we were able to look around the village for a while. restricted in almost every way when it came to resources (electricity and water i’m sure) the villagers were more than happy to greet us with smiles.
two school children came up to me and we made conversation for a little while. they were both boys, and one of them was gracious enough to help me with my swahili while we were talking. they were very nice, and i enjoyed my time with them immensely, even though it was short. after the boys and i separated, we met a guy from australia (first, how random, and second, how fantastic! this was the first australian i’d ever met! ha.) who was the director of an ngo in the area as well. his organization is called Upendo Artists Association, and what they do is teach children, adolescents, and adults how to paint and sew (and potentially other practical skills). when the paintings are made, they are sold to support the organization, and the locals receive food and other resources. we were so lucky to meet this guy! it was just so random that we ran into him, but so great! the organization is only about a year old, and it is still developing, but it is exciting to see how it will progress. his name is luke bennett. i don’t think he has a website up though, they are still working on that.
i’m sure i did a horrible job at grasping the entirety of what we have seen here in moshi, so i apologize, but there has just been so much that has happened unexpectedly! we leave for dar es salaam early tomorrow morning, and i must say, it will be a little sad to say goodbye. i really like moshi. i do. but back to the coast we go, and with vigor as we all realize that we are halfway through! we will be home soon, and it seems surreal to think that we have already been here 2 weeks.
we’re heading to sinead’s house to have dinner. we are celebrating the birthday of one of sinead’s friends who is also american. it will be a nice night, i’m sure, and it will be nice to relax for a little before we start our travels again.