Monday, February 8, 2010

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I've written anything. I know that. But it doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about writing. I have. I just didn't know where to start-- or where to end, for that matter.

After wrapping up the LFC trial in Kampala, Uganda, we headed back to Tanzania. But not before sneaking in a full day of white water rafting on the Nile River. That was quite an adventure. I would certainly recommend it to anybody passing through Jinja, although after watching a video of my trip and seeing us flying out of the raft like little tennis balls countless times, I'm not sure I could stomach it again! The 2 day drive back to Tanzania was fairly uneventful, save for a number of unnecessary run-ins with the Kenyan police. I swear on a stretch of highway going into Nairobi there were 5 police checkpoints, not more than 1 kilometer between each. Although the corruption is disgusting, it's occassionaly entertaining to watch these policemen try to ask for money. Some are very subtle, asking why I haven't wished them a merry christmas yet. Others try to make you feel like you did something wrong, like the policeman who accused us of having a tire that violated Kenyan law (I assure you, there was absolutely nothing wrong with our tires).All that being said, we made it back to Arusha safe and sound, and armed with endless stories about our travels.

I think the reason I haven't written since I've been back in Arusha, is that it kind of feels like home here. There are things that feel vastly different than home of course, but there are many things about this place that make me feel at ease. Like the woman in the market who I buy mangoes from, who gives me a fair price because she knows I'm not a tourist. Or the neighborhood women who always ask about my day when I get home. And yes, even the occassional cappuccino from Stiggbucks (even better than Starbucks). The things that seemed strange and unusual the first time I was here, now seem quite normal. And why shouldn't they?

All that being said, I find that I still have things to write about. It's just that, instead of writing long posts that cover an entire day's activities, I find myself wanting to write more about my observations and thoughts. As I remarked to my mom the other day on the phone, I've found myself with a lot of time to think lately. At MIT life was always moving so quickly that I hardly had time to think! So I'm enjoying the time to observe and ponder my own opinions on the myriad things that I'm seeing. Whether that be thoughts on how a local NGO is run, or questions about how governments can best serve their people.

In other news, I've been having some fun cooking adventures. I was never much of a cook at home, although I did flex my culinary muscle when I lived in DC last summer. At first I was sticking mostly to scrambled eggs but last night I had the urge to make penne al vodka (absolutely no idea why since I can't remember the last time I ate this in the US). I made a surprisingly delicious vodka sauce following a recipe I found online, and just as the sauce was simmering down and I started boiling water for pasta, the power went out. And didn't come back until the next morning. If you have any suggestions of things that I can try cooking over here, definitely let me know. Next thing you know it will be "Tish and Julia: The Tanzania Cooking Adventure." just kidding!!!

Hope you all enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday. I could care less about the actual game, but I'm hoping to catch up on the commercials later.

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