It’s a pretty lazy Sunday evening, so I thought it a good chance to share some updates.
Since our last post, we had our friends the Van Kampens stay with us for a few weeks. It’s kind of a neat story, which some of you reading this will already know, but we had met them back in the states while we were still planning our trip. We learned that they were going to be working in TZ as well. We thought this was pretty cool and said we should try to meet up when/if we all got over to Africa. As plans moved along, it looked like we would be leaving for TZ almost around the same time and wouldn’t you know it, they were going to be doing their language studies in the same town of Iringa! Pretty cool. As it turned out, the language school they attended was out of town a ways and without either party having a vehicle, we didn’t see much of each other. That is, until we learned that they were looking for a place to stay for a few weeks after finishing language school but before they knew their next step. So, we offered to have them stay with us. Ben and Katy have a pretty large house and we thought it would be a lot of fun to hang out for a few weeks.
Somehow, Stephen and Dawn managed to pack all their children (there are seven of them by the way) into various rooms and beds in a way that seemed to work for a few weeks. It was pretty amazing. They are great kids and since their departure two weeks ago, we have been missing them all.
That reminds me, while they were with us we all had the pleasure of discovering that this house has a bit of a pest problem (perhaps not more than the average house here, but it seems bad to us). So far, we have rats in the pantry, geckos in the bedrooms, and ants (thousands) in the kitchen. Oh, and let’s not forget this lovely creature we discovered one night when the power was cut:
Isn’t he the cutest? After a couple of shrieks and lots of bug spray it finally died. Disgusting. It was huge.
In our last post I believe I mentioned that one of the employees at Neema recently announced that he was getting married. Well, we were very honored to be invited. Unfortunately, it fell on the same weekend as a major art fair up in Dar es Salaam that Maria had already planned to go to attend. It was disappointing, but we decided that I would still go because it would be really important for someone from the Neema management to attend the wedding. I didn’t go alone, I decided to bring Ed (remember Ed? the volunteer I mentioned in the last post?) with me as my +1.
Now, Ed and I have discovered that we have quite a bit in common. We both have a pretty goofy and semi-shameless side to us. That being said, we thought it only appropriate to go dressed in classy, coordinating, tasteful outfits that fit the occasion.
Now, we fully realized that no straight man in the states would be caught dead wearing this kind of get up. But hey! We’re in Africa and style is VERY different. Let’s just say we were a smashing hit. Everyone loved it.
Before talking about the reception though, I should mention that this was the craziest wedding I have ever attended. Well, I didn’t actually get to attend the wedding – that’s the crazy part. It turns out that no one knew when or where the wedding ceremony was supposed to be until the night before. I had asked Matesso himself several weeks beforehand about the details and he said (or rather since he is deaf, he signed) that all of the other deaf staff at Neema knew when and where so I should just check with them. It turns out this was not entirely true. The day before the wedding, I was still asking around to find out the details and everyone told me that they hadn’t heard yet. What?! It’s the night before a wedding and none of us have a clue about it? Sigh…. this is Tanzania, sometimes things are a little different here.
Later that night I got a text to say that it would be at 8 o’clock. But wait, let’s back up and explain something. Here in Tanzania time is different. There is such a thing as swahili time. For example, since the sun rises and sets quite consistently here, at some point somebody thought it would be easiest to start the clock based on sunrise. Therefore, since the sun rises a little after 6 am, 7am is considered the 1st hour (1 o’clock). 8am is 2 o’clock, 9am in 3 o’clock and so on. Once you get to the 12th hour (6pm) the clock starts over, but this time it’s 1 o’clock in the evening. Needless to say this results in much confusion when talking with Tanzanians. This was definitely the case for this wedding. In my mind, I was told 8 o’clock by a Tanzanian so I converted that to English time (2pm) and said to myself, yes, that seems like a normal time for a wedding. I’ll be ready. Turns out, the person who had given me the start time for the ceremony had already converted the time for me but didn’t tell me that. So, the next morning I woke up wondering if this might have been the case, so I texted back to confirm whether we were in fact talking about 8am or 2pm. You guessed it – we were talking about 8 am evidently. And here it was 8:20am and I was barely just out of bed. Oh dear. After a few seconds of pondering, I decided I was probably going to miss this ceremony. Oh well… there was still the reception later (but I still didn’t know what time or where that was either). I eventually was able to figure it out though and we made it. And again, our outfits were a hit! Good thing, because Ed and I spent hours wandering all over town to find just the right shirt/tie combination.
But I’m stealing the show. This wasn’t my party. It was Matesso and Frieda’s special day. They were great! Though funny thing is… apparently Tanzanian tradition says that you’re not allowed to smile on your wedding day (especially for pictures). I believe the picture below demonstrates this quite well.
The happy couple! They can hardly contain their excitement.
Strange as it may be, they were for the most part true to tradition and it was really hard to get good pictures of smiles. They are a beautiful couple all the same though and I did manage to get a couple smiles. It was a really fun day.
Oh, and yes I definitely joined in on the dancing. Let’s just say it was very apparent that I am white… ehem.
Here’s a first! I’ve tried to upload some video of the dancing. It’s pretty low quality because I didn’t feel like waiting all night for a huge file to upload. Hopefully it works! Enjoy: