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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday's Tanzania

 Andrew with Idi and his family

This past November, hubby and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Tanzania in East Africa and visit with our son who has been living there for the last almost five years.  I've been wanting to share about our trip, but how and where to I've decided "little bites" will be best and here we have the first of our "Tuesday's Tanzania."

After college, Andrew joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to a small village - Ksiwani - in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, the first Peace Corps volunteer ever to be placed there.  Andrew now lives and works in the city of Moshi (also in the Kilimanjaro region) as the manager for East Africa for "Trees for the Future"  (another post on that later), but one of the first things on our agenda was a visit to Ksiwani to meet his PC village family - who were very anxious to meet "mom" - and I was so very excited to meet all of them and to say many "thank-you's" for taking such good care of my son over those two years.

Traveling out to the village was an experience in itself - first by bus (but you wait for the bus to be full before it leaves...and then it stops along the way to drop off and pick up so don't be on a schedule -- oh, and yes, that was a live chicken in the aisle) to the closest town and then by private "taxi" when we couldn't find a van going out to the village that afternoon.  It was then that I learned that while Ksiwani was a village, where Andrew had actually lived along with his friend's Idi's home and the village's school was about 5 more miles outside of the village's center.

Idi had killed a goat in honor of our coming (and no, I had not eaten goat before but yes, I did eat it and yes, I did eat the seconds that I was offered when my bowl was empty - fortunately, Andrew explained to me that it would not be rude of me to not eat all of the 2nd round).  I was overwhelmed by everyone's warmth and such care for Andrew and him for them - it was so clear that his years there had indeed made them all family.

The following morning we were greeted by the school children arriving for their daily routine of singing and dancing in preparation of their classes.  Andrew and I then set off with Idi (on his motorcycle) to visit with some of Andrew's friends at their homes.  At each home we were greeted with chai, breakfast, and more smiles.

Of course, my favorite visit was with Mama Freddie where I was presented with a kanga, the traditional wear for women in central/east Africa.

Freddie (Mama's oldest son - hence, "Mama Freddie" - my name was "Mama Andrew") had been a good friend of Andrew while he was in the village, but Freddie was away at university in Dar es Salaam when we visited.

Next Tuesday - learn more about the Ksiwani futbol team!


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