Mt Rungwe and the Food

For our last full weekend in the Rungwe district, Monica and I played tourist and arranged some adventures through a local company to a few of the more scenic locations in the area. Our most exhausting expedition was to climb Mt. Rungwe this past Sunday. Monica will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro after our work here is done, so we figured this might be a good, inexpensive warm up for her.

The climb itself took about 8-9 hours round trip and was quite a tiring affair. The mountain is home to quite a number of animals with our favourites being the monkeys who, I believe, rather enjoyed seeing us struggle as they carelessly jumped from branch to branch. Another minor set back was that the guide basically had no idea where we were for the first 2 hours of the trip. I guess during the wet season there can be so much growth that it covers the path..or so they told us. Anyway, we managed to make it down with only a few scrapes and bruises meaning that I am about 2 weeks away from keeping my number of trips to the regional hospital to 1. 

Now while Monica may take joy in paying copious amounts of money to climb a big rock, my energy is usually spent trying to figure out the quickest, cheapest, and most delicious path to acquire more energy. I would be lying to all our devoted blog followers (which by my last tally was just Monica) if I said that I was not concerned about the quantity and quality of food available during my time here. Well friends, you will be happy to know that Tanzania is home to some of the tastiest and more affordable meals I have ever had. As our daily routine began to evolve in the past month, it was clear that a stop at “The Lodge” was to be included. The menu is pretty straight forward as our options are rice and meat or chips and meat but what they don’t tell you in the guide books is that cheap hot sauce is available everywhere and served with every meal. This has been my saving grace. Throw in the fact that Monica tends to only eat ½ a plate of food and I have really struck gold.

Another art we have perfected is the bus order. We spent quite a bit of time in the morning waiting for our buses to fill up which means we are the ideal customers for the various stand owners to approach. Bananas, doughnuts, ground nuts, as well as about 15 different styles of clothing with the word Obama printed on them, are all within arm’s reach. And to think, in North America I was driving up to the window to purchase food like a sucker. We are definitely well taken care of in Tukuyu and this sort of in your face hospitality is something ,I for one, will sorely miss.

 

Adam and Monica go to school in Ilima, Tanzania

Turns out being a secondary school teacher is a bit harder than I gave it credit for the first time around…

Monica and I have spent some time at Ilima Secondary School the past few weeks teaching Form 1 and 2 students basic poultry husbandry. Armed with little prior knowledge regarding the subject and limited teaching experience, we were thrust in front of a class of about 75 students each. Throw in a Swahili vocabulary comparable to that of the species we are teaching about and it was an interesting experience to put it politely. The kids only begin to learn English in secondary school in Tanzania so there was quite a bit repetition throughout the 90 minute sessions. 

It would be fair to say that Monica and I have pretty opposite teachings styles so while she was preparing notes and going through concepts for the following day, I basically wrote the word “kuku” a bunch of times on a piece of paper and figured that the material would come back to me when needed- not always the best approach.

Just like in any school, you have the keeners, the “sleepers”, the kids who could care less about what you are talking about, and a whole bunch of other different types of students. It was a nice experience to get to share some info we have learned and in all honesty, we had lots of fun. There is a poultry building at the school that is currently under construction so the hope is that through these sessions the students and staff would be better prepared for when it becomes operational..

I am starting to think we are becoming the best customers of the local stationary stores as the school required copies of lecture “notes” for the students. Three hundred copies later we were on our way and we hope that by this time next year some of those concepts will be put into practice.

This week is our last in Ilima and we are vaccinating chickens. Should make for some interesting stories!

Cheers,

Adam and Monica