The views expressed herein are mine and not those of the Peace Corps.



Useful Acronyms

PC Peace Corps
ICT Information & Communications Technology
PCT Peace Corps Trainee (pre-swearing-in)
PCV Peace Corps Volunteer (post-swearing-in)
PST Pre-Service Training
CBT Community-Based Training

Archive for January, 2009

Hali ya hewa

It was a beautiful sunny day; for once, it didn’t rain. Temperature maybe in the mid-seventies; sunny with beautiful, glowing, varied clouds; gentle breezes that whipped my still-cleanish hair around my face (when it gets greasy I keep it up, but when it’s clean I keep it down to enjoy).   I taught two Form […]


I woke up this morning in a fog, both literally and figuratively. I woke a few minutes before my phone alarm went off, aware enough to know that I really didn’t want to get out of bed but also to know that I had a class first thing. So after hitting snooze once I got […]


Sitting on the goat-skin stool in my kitchen, watching the flame from the kerosene I just poured on the coal in the jiko. The stale scent of my body (smell, odor, aroma, says my crossword-brain). The hesitant knocking of the rain on the roof. The screech of a crow’s talons as it comes in to […]

Bado bado bado nasubiri

It’s been more than two weeks since school opened. “Maybe you’ll teach tomorrow,” the teachers tell me. They’re all relaxed about it, they’ve all taught before, they’re Tanzanian and they’re used to being perpetually behind schedule. I’m learning to be patient but I don’t like this ambiguity, this idea that I might start to teach […]

Nina mgeni

Bret biked up from Bulongwa for the weekend, departing Friday after school and arriving before dark. It was, as he said, like a vacation, even for me. Having him stay was enjoyable and completely, surprisingly comfortable, as though he were a family member I’d known all my life.   He brought a ton of apples […]

Vitu vichache

I had a bath yesterday, so today I’m wearing my hair down, enjoying its cleanness while it lasts. A strong wind blows it around my face as I walk into town. There’s a storm coming in from over the mountains: I can tell by the wind, and the chill, and by the screen of grey […]

Bado nasubiri kufundisha

So we finally had a staff meeting yesterday. Nine teachers, six or seven hundred students, ten subjects (I think: physics, chemistry, biology, math[s], geography, civics, history, English, Swahili, and mine, the extra one, computers. I may have forgotten one…). Thankfully all I had to do was sit there and listen, having firmly established that I […]

Kutumia Internet

So here are the steps necessary to get Internet access in my town: Go to stationary store. Ask stationary mama if there’s a chance she’ll be able to let me use the Internet today. Get put off, get stalled, eventually agree on tomorrow. Return tomorrow. Follow stationary mama down the hill and a fair distance. […]

Mizigo mengi!

Yesterday I ventured to the post office, motivated by the fact that the Peace Corps had finally deposited our December and January living allowances, only a month late. As soon as I walked into the post office and said hello, the Posta Mama (who’s the sweetest woman!) said “Oh, Maria! You have many packages!” and […]

Mvua inanyesha

I woke, slightly disconcerted, to a grey sky. Almost every other day I can remember, the morning sky has been bright and sunny and the greyness has rolled in over the mountains in the afternoon. But soon after I got up the rain started, a long, soaking rain unlike the brief thunderstorms that we get […]