March 06, 2013

Lately

{ We've been without internet for a couple of days, so pardon the late post}
March 3rd

Yesterday we moved into the apartment. It felt AH-mazing to unpack our suitcases! I'd been wearing the same 3-4 outfits just because I loathed digging through the baggies in the suitcases everyday to find something to wear. Now it's all hung and folded neatly in the wardrobe and my type-A self is at one with earth again. :) Honestly, it's really nice to be on our own too. We love the Street family to pieces and getting to know the Loudermilks has been a lot of fun too – but we're ready to jump in and test the waters of living in Moshi independently.
Speaking of jumping in – that's exactly what we did. Since we moved on a Sunday the only store that was open for groceries was Nakomat – which is Moshi's version of Wal-Mart. It's actually based out of Kenya, and the store here is brand-new. It's not the size of wal-mart, but it has just about everything that wal-mart would have – but most of it is Harris Teeter type prices. Some of the stuff is priced pretty well, but a lot of it is imported so it's hiked up a bit. That being said, we bought only the very bare essentials to get us through dinner, breakfast and lunch on Monday. That consisted of bread, a pack of sandwich meat, mayo, locally made potato chips, batteries (for the flashlight), milk, juice, raisin bread (splurge for breakfast!), milk and butter. All of that for 32,600 tsh. (That's Tanzanian Shillings, don't panic, only about $18). Oh, then we stopped at Woodlands, which is sort of like a c-store to grab some eggs- they have local ones for a decent price there. We've ordered some from the nuns Peter's mom gets her eggs from, but they won't arrive until Wednesday.
So we got home and finished getting settled in and unloading groceries then I made dinner. Ham sandwiches and chips for Bill & I, half a ham sandwich and some veggie puffs and applesauce (both from the States) for O. It was a nice first meal at our new 'home'.

Just as we went to put O in the bath the power went out. (Welcome to Africa: land of extremely unpredictable power availability) This meant no hot water and O doesn't like cold baths – so I threw a pot on the stove to boil water to add to the bath. Then we discovered the bath tub faucets wouldn't work. The water worked in the rest of the house so we called Peter and he said he'd come look at it later. It was getting late and we wanted O to get bathed, so we started filling up tubs in the sink and dumping them in the bath. Our life motto, especially on the mission field: cope and adjust. It was no big deal at all. We just went with it. O had a blast playing in the tub, got all spic-n-span clean (he was a hot mess after a day and a half with no bath!). 
Hot Mess, I tell ya.
We let him play for a few minutes and Peter showed up to check out the water situation. 
Always with the drumming...  :)
Turns out we just weren't turing the nobs far enough. Don't laugh too hard yet. I'll have you know I was turning both nobs about 80 times in a circle – to the point I thought they were just going to screw right off – and no water came out. Turns out (no pun intended, okay, maybe a little) that it takes exactly 83 turns to get the water to start coming out. ::Facepalm:: Hopefully we'll live that one down some day. So now that the water worked- err, we knew how to work it, we decided to brave the icy-cold shower. It wasn't bad. Let me rephrase that; It wouldn't have been bad, had it not already cooled down quite a bit. I may or may not have squealed a couple times once I fully immersed myself under the shower. BRR. But oh, to be clean and dirt free afterward made it all worth it. I edited pictures until the battery on my Mac got quite low, then we went to bed – around 9:30 I think. The neighborhood club, however, was too busy partying from the Kili Marathon so we got to fall asleep to some sweet tunes and bumpin' bass.
We awoke this morning to a rooster who did not know the difference between the sun and the moon. And I may or may not have wanted to shoot him and eat him for lunch. Then we awoke finally for the day at 7am when the boarding school next door clanged their bell (seriously it sounded like it was right outside our window) for their day to start. Then the kids came out and started shouting and that's what woke Owen up.
“Mama? Kids talking.”
“Yup, honey, the kids are talking.”
“Up?”
SO we brought him in bed with us in attempt to eeek out a few more minutes of laying-down time.
This morning for our first solo breakfast we had scrambled eggs and raisin bread toast. We don't have a toaster so I improvised and used the oven. Thank goodness for gas stoves, even with no power we can still cook! We enjoyed our mango-orange juice too (yum!). After breakfast we were having Stacy Helbling over to chat about some things. She (along with her husband Ryan) founded Global Effect, Hope International School and a few other projects. We had her over to specifically talk about the school and my (possible) involvement with them. She knows about my teaching background, and my desire to teach on the mission field, as well as our goal of being working missionaries (working to support ourselves, and having money from supporters act as a supplement at first, and one day be funneled straight into the ministry(ies) we end up working with. Turns out the school is looking for two new teachers in the fall, and a long term administrator to start the following year. We knew that they were hiring teachers because the Street's babysitter is one of the teachers at the school and we'd chatted with her one night. After talking with Stacy about some of the specifics though – what the school will cover (financially) for us to get here/live here, what exact positions they're hiring for, etc., it felt really good to have all the details written down. There's even an opportunity to move into a furnished 3 bedroom house for a pretty reasonable rate. We also discussed me doing a Picture Day for the school. This is their first year of being open and they haven't had school pictures, so I offered to go over and take class and individual pictures, and am super excited to be able to do it for them next week. I've even put together print packages the parents can buy and since Stacy will be back in the States shortly after we are, I can give her the prints to carry back on the plane rather than shipping them all the way back here.
Speaking of next week – I'll be subbing at the school on Monday. EEK! I'm a teensy, tinsy, {super}-bit nervous about jumping back into the classroom after being out of it for almost two years! The 3rd/4th grade (split class) teacher (the one I mentioned above) will be having her parents in town for the first time since she moved here straight out of University and they're going to be on Safari. So when I mentioned I wanted to come in and volunteer in the classroom Stacy suggested/asked if I would sub for the class. Excited! But also very nervous! I'm gonna have the first-day-of-school jitters again, I just know it.
Anyway, after talking with Stacy, O and the crocodile had a snack...
Completely his idea
I think he really thought it was eating it for a minute - he got really excited! :)
then we walked over the Street's house. Traci, a family friend and single mom of two boys was coming over to give us girls pedicures. She does this for her job and for only 10,000 tsh. Each, we all got our feet washed, massaged and toes painted. It's super cheap for us (that's only about $6) and it's a huge blessing for her since it's her only source of income.
I mentioned to Mary while we were there that our power had been out since last night and she was surprised because theirs hadn't. (The apartment is only about ¼ mile away from their house). So she said she'd tell Peter and he'd go check it out later.
That's not a tan line, that's what happens when you walk the dusty roads of Moshi for about 10 minutes.
We walked back home, made a quick lunch (sandwiches again) and put O down for his nap. About an hour later Juma (our taxi driver) arrived to take us into town for groceries. First stop was the money exchange, then we headed to the Market. This was my 2nd time, but Bill & Owen's first. I kind of love it there. But then again, both times I've been it hasn't been super busy or crowded, so maybe I'll think differently next time. Anyway, I knew exactly which booth I was going to and headed straight there. Thankfully there was a young boy working there that knew (most) English, so he helped us. I got 4 (large!) cucumbers, 3 (also large) carrots, 6 big tomatoes, 4 small potatoes, 2 small onions, 1 head of garlic, 1 pineapple, 2 green bell peppers and 8 bananas for only 9,000 tsh! (That's like $5) I was completely STOKED!

Next we headed to Aleem's Grocery – a little c-store that is known for having good prices. We got two bags of granola (750kilos each), a small jar of peanut butter, some local strawberry jam, a small bottle of ketchup, a pack of spaghetti noodles, jars of basil and oregano, a big thing of salt, a bag of pure raw cane sugar, a big box of corn flakes (cereal), two chicken breasts (not pieces, like the actual breast cut off the chicken, so it will give us 3-4 pieces of breast meat each), two packs of sandwich ham, a can of corn, a can of kidney beans, a big bottle of vinegar, a big block of cheese and a huge Cadburry bar (splurge!) all for about 76,000 tsh. Which is about $40. Here, fresh produce is WAY cheaper in the states, but pantry items are more expensive because they are usually imported (not necessarily from the states, although some are we don't buy them because they're the most expensive). We are hoping to get through the next two weeks on those groceries. Plus I'm having Mary's house mama make us some tortillas, and I'm paying her 6,000 tsh. to do that – it would be about twice that to buy them at a store. That should get us 2-3 chicken dinners, 2 spaghetti dinners, french toast dinner, 2-3 quesadilla dinners, sandwiches for lunch, eggs and toast for breakfast (cereal for Bill – no almond milk here for me unless I make my own). We will probably eat out a couple of times too.

After our trip to town (which only took about an hour for all that!) we came back and got things put away and I started chopping tomatoes and peppers for some fresh spaghetti sauce when I got a text from Peter asking if we wanted to join them at Naseebs. Um. YES. That place is amazing. Seriously. So I finished chopping and put it in the fridge for tomorrow and we went out for dinner. When Peter came to pick us up he discovered the breaker had been tripped and that's why we were out of power. So he flipped it back and it was fine. We each (the three of us) got a ¼ of a chicken (which had been marinated, then grilled over coals) and a load of french fries, bill got a Mountain Dew and I got a Coke and it was all only 14,700 tsh (about $10). Owen ate his entire chicken too – that's how good it is!

When we got home it was late so Bill hopped in the shower while I started wiping O down, sponge-bath style. The power went out about 5 minutes into it. We figured it was the breaker again because there were lights on at the neighbors so we called Peter and he came later to show Bill how to trip it back and gave him the key so he could do it. And now here I sit trying to record all the amazing things that are happening as our story continues to be written in Africa. Tomorrow is playgroup in the morning, and hopefully a maternity shoot for Mary in the afternoon. It's gonna be a great Tuesday in Moshi!