Last night I dreamt I woke up, in this very tent covered in black scabs. Each, I could tell was where bugs had bitten my skin and deposited baby larvae in my pores. I woke up sweaty, and kind of thankful that wasn't the case. It's been four days without cold, clean water, a hot bath and just about everything that I eat in this camp has been warring inside of me. Most of the counterparts are eating Magnesium and some kind of bismuth to sustain themselves till Friday. The ringworm was now spread all over the back of my neck, some of my scalp and some of my back. It is incredibly painful, and I'm beginning to now be more thankful I was able to have to means to get it corrected. I was told that instead of vaccinating, I would wait for the Landcruiser to make its way back to camp and I would head to Arusha. They were going to town because GSC was holding an HIV/AIDS testing clinic here in Maweni as well as Usitu Ambogo this afternoon with results tomorrow, and we were going to get the nurses as well as the supplies. It was great to be able to drive so early in the morning through the villages. There are no dalas here, everyone walks or takes bicycle on the main road. As we bumped on the dusty, bumpy barabara (road) there were hoards of schoolchildren along the way. Transportation for schoolchildren is only available for the most elite schools in Arusha like Braeburn or St. Judes so most kids walk, some I've heard for about 2 hours to get to their English Medium schools (kind of like a private school). Since it was just me and two GSC counterparts, we picked up some of the kids and dropped them off at the school along the way. Some businessmen also headed to Arusha were picked up and we took them into town along the way. Arusha really is a big city, bigger than I'd thought. We drove through some areas I'd never even heard of. Some of the nicest parts of town, Njiro, I could tell from the Beverly Hills style mansions, monogrammed gates and Mercedes jeeps in the driveways were not owned by Africans. Wahindi (Hindis) are what the counterparts told me--they own everything. Didn't learn that in any African Studies courses. I'd never seen this part of Arusha, I hate to say it was kind of a nice sight and made me dream I lived in that part of town. After the sights, I went to a pharmacy, and got my meds which thankfully cost only $1US.We picked up the testers at the clinic, and the head nurse there who'd done training in England was talking to me about the types of Americans that come to Tanzania. If you can't tell from reading my blog, I think some of the touristy types that've come here to Arusha are pretty ridiculous. She said from working with Americans, they eat almost any of the food they find in dukas, shops and then come to her clinic with raging diarrhea and blame Tanzanian cuisine. I gave my two cents on the crap I'd heard in the cafes in Arusha, Americans sitting around bragging about the work they've done in Uganda and Kenya and stuff and how they love Africa and blah blah, but they're sitting there on their Macbooks wearing super inappropriate short shorts and only chatting with Brits. It was actually a pretty funny conversation that had everyone laughing on the way to Maweni.
When we arrived back in Maweni, we separated once more into our respective villages. We had a double dig bed demonstration here in Maweni, and I was prepped for an afternoon of getting soil in my shoes! I love working with this group, so unlike last week's work with our community group here they are very welcoming and are impressed with my improvement in Swahili. One bibi even asked why do I teach in English when I understand and speak Swahili. I understood her every word!! I responded in Swahili 'Kwa sababoo nasema Kiswahili kidogo kidogo" (Because I only speak a little Swahili). I think it's the best experience since I've been here trying to learn and understand Swahili. I've realized even during lessons when I incorporate several words in Swahili the groups tend to have a little more respect for me. It was great to have these women being respectful and friendly, because I'd tried to learn their language (Well, Meru is their mother tongue...but ya know). I guess not very many wazungu try to learn Swahili, or it takes them more time. I'm also quite boastful about having been here less than two months and being able to understand most things and speak in full sentences. Such a change from last week, the villagers were calling me mbongo! (Slang for Tanzanian) and were so thankful for the lesson and us being with them in Maweni. I felt a huge relief.
Tomorrow is the last day of camping, and the last day away in the villages for me in Tanzania! I'll be so sad, I can't believe I have only two weeks left!! It'll be really nice to say I experienced things like this, especially since tomorrow morning is my last chicken vaccination EVER!! It's going to be epic.