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

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 I did: six! Two from my mother, one from Mary, one from Chris, one from Ron and Jan, and one from Aunt Cathleen! The postmark dates on the packages ranged from December 1 to December 17, so delivery time is quite variable! (Just now my headmaster handed me a packet of letters, including a package from PC/Dar containing two letters from Grandy and Aunt Col in November! Letter senders include Courtney, Emily, Grandy, Jan, and Beth Bartel. I’ll try to save them and ration them but I’ll probably end up opening them all at once like I did with the last batch!) I also signed up for my own post box, so now my number is 36 instead of 33. I have a key and an ID card and everything! Very exciting.

I got home and put the packages on my couch and then, with admirable willpower, went to the market to do some shopping. When I got home my willpower evaporated, though, and I opened them all! It’s impossible to say what made me happiest: the beautiful snowflake ornament that’s now hanging in my kitchen window; the watercolors and pens; the crossword books; the much-needed conditioner; the classy pepper grinder…I felt so loved. It was just like Christmas, a little late. To celebrate, I put on my new slipper-socks and broke my no-watching-movies-during-daylight-hours rule (The Spy Who Loved Me, which is unintentionally hilarious) and ate most of a bag of the Pirate’s Booty Ron and Jan sent. For dinner I made spaghetti and thought of home, then had a cookie for dessert. It was a wonderful afternoon.

School’s started too–at some point I’ll write a long post about the Tanzanian school system and how it’s screwed up–but in the meantime suffice it to say that I’m at an O-Level school, which teaches Forms 1-4. It’s like middle school and the beginning of high school. The Form 4 students started this past Monday; Forms 2 and 3 will start next Monday, and Form 1 will start the Monday after. I won’t be teaching Form 4 because they need to focus on passing the big national exams they’ll take in the fall, so even though the other teachers are teaching I’m just kind of fooling around in the computer lab, feeling unmotivated. I don’t know what forms I *will* be teaching, because we haven’t been able to have a staff meeting yet because today is the first time I’ve seen my headmaster since he brought me to site. He’s been away since then, barring a brief return during Christmas when I apparently missed him as well. So more on that to come. Right now I’m making a list of things to look up when (if) I finally get to the Internet cafe that’s allegedly opened somewhere in town. First on the list is figuring out how to clone computers so they can all start fresh when I begin teaching. But I’ve mostly been lollygagging, still, waiting for a functional version of XP SP2, waiting for someone to take me to the Internet cafe, waiting for motivation to actually write lesson plans (which I’ve promised myself I’ll do today). I want to go back to December, when I could do nothing with a clear conscience!

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