Life Outside the Classroom


Nane nane kids

These children are gathered at a yearly harvest festival in Tanzania called Nane Nane; which means eight eight for the 8th of August.



Wednesday, 13 August

Yesterday we followed our typical schedule and after classes wrapped up, we headed to the duka to buy mkate (bread) for Elliott (the bread that is served in the dining hall contains milk). There is a little shop front just outside the gates of the training centre. This particular duka (and many others that we’ve seen) is very similar to a gas station in the States where you walk up to the window and have a look and the person working the window fetches whatever it is for you. Think that, only African~style. We’ve been to this duka several times for things like soda, a bottle opener, laundry soap, bread. We got the bread and one Sprite for Aidan, Elliott and Noa to share then headed around, behind the duka, where there are several plastic outdoor chairs, a TV, a ‘bar’, and a pool table. The turtle that was sitting ON the bar, along with its droppings, was quickly removed while we sat our things down. We hadn’t noticed before when we were here that there was also a mamantilie (a woman who has a small room where she cooks food, makes tea and serves it to those who come in for a quick meal). It happened to be tea time, so she came out and asked if we would like chai and chapati. Even though we’d just had chai and chapati [that the children made at school for the parents on this day!], we said yes and while Doug and the kids played pool, I sat for 45 minutes and chatted with Josephine and her friend, Mama Alisah – all in Kiswahili! They were wonderful women and asked me several times to come back and talk to them. I loved every minute of it. I cannot wait to go back!

[UPDATE: August 22 Doug and I stopped by the duka today to say goodbye and visited with Mama Alisah for an hour, as we leave Arusha for Dar es Salaam in the morning. We gleaned from our conversation today (our Swahili has definitely improved!) that her husband died in a car accident two years ago, leaving her with seven children and a life of making food as a mamantilie to feed her own large family. As we talked, she shared with us the heaviness of her life. She knows Jesus and allowed us to pray for her before we left. Conversations like this put my own hard days in perspective.]


We got the kiddos into bed last night and brushed up on our “market language”, for today we were to have a practical exercise of language skill. We had early morning class, then shortly after tea, our class piled into the safari jeep and headed to the market. Our teacher gave us each 1000 shilings (about ninety cents) and told us to purchase fruits and veggies. As we (the wazungu [foreigner] parade) emerged from the car, Doug and I had planned to simply walk around first, take it all in, and then decide what to buy. It was busy, noisy, full of life and color – lots of vendors, most selling just a few items – tomatoes, beans, bananas, etc. We FILLLED a bag – with tomatoes, coconuts, green peppers, cucumbers, spinach, limes, ginger, garlic, a small watermelon, cilantro, coffee –all for 2000 TSH! We were quite proud and wished that the prices we found here we could find in Dar es Salaam!

When we returned to the school, our first stop was the kitchen, where we handed over our “goods”. And when we arrived for dinner this evening, we found they made a salad with the cilantro that we bought. Very fun!

While we were off on our market venture, the kids were on an adventure of their own. They went to Meserani Snake Park, where they interacted with snakes, saw crocodiles, birds, dogs and even rode camels! When we got them off the bus, they were all talking so fast about all they had seen. Aidan said he would love to write a blog entry about his adventure.

This evening we invited some new friends we met on Sunday to come to the centre and hang out with us and the Millers. This past Sunday, we attended the Arusha Vineyard and that is where we met David and Judi Owens. We had a great time sharing a meal together and connecting with like-minded people who have also recently transplanted their lives here.


One Response to “Life Outside the Classroom”

  1. kjames Says:

    fantastic! thanks for the updates. i love reading about day to day life. i miss seeing your faces!!!

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