Caitlin and I have not blogged in quite some time and we thought we should post one more before we depart Karagwe on the 28th. The pastseveral weeks have been filled with many activities and obligations. This is partially why we haven’t blogged in so long, we just haven’t had the time. We have spent our last few weeks tying up loose ends for this semester, and preparing for our upcoming adventure and next semester.

We were able to visit some friends who have been eager to have us over for a meal. So we went to our Swahili teacher’s house one evening and had a wonderful dinner. We spent much of the evening playing with her children while the students helped bake a cake for dessert. Mwalimu (which means teacher in Swahili) has two children and a husband. Her husband studied at Luther Seminary in Minnesota for three years, graduated recently, and is an ordained Lutheran minister. He currently visits congregations within the Kagera district to evaluate their church and programs. Recently Mwalimu found out that she has the opportunity to go to the United States in January to teach at Wilkes University for the spring semester. We were very happy to share a meal with her family and celebrate the great news.

Caitlin and Paul

Our good friend Oswald Justin who is our main contact at Kayanga Secondary School also invited us over for a meal which was also delicious! He lives with his wife and daughter in a small home that is shared with another family. We spent most of our time watching a video slideshow of photos and segments of his recent graduation from University. He is always a pleasure to talk to and we are very excited about the growing relationship between the school and Amizade. Both families couldn’t have been more welcoming to us and our students.

These two occasions happened prior to Thanksgiving which was fitting as we have begun to realize how thankful we are to have so many friends here in Karagwe. We gave not forgotten, however, our family and friends at home who we have been thinking of lately as we begin to make plans to arrive back in the States. This excitement and eagerness to return home is met with disappointment because many of our friends want us to stay. We reassure them that we will return in 8 weeks and not to worry. Our current students however, will not return with us and that makes many of our friends very sad. The relationships they have developed over their 11 weeks here in Karagwe will be cherished and never forgotten. Hopefully a handful can be maintained despite the distance with today’s technology.

Before our final goodbye on Monday when we are scheduled to leave, we decided to have a going-away party Friday evening here at Misha Guest House. We invited 40-50 of our friends and colleagues to thank them for welcoming us Karagwe and to say goodbye. Caitlin made a sign which said “Amizade tunawakaribisha. Asante sana kwa urafiki yenu!” We had lots of food and drinks. The meal was prepared by Mama Roja who has prepared all of our meals here in Karagwe and of course it was delicious! Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and company of one another. Caitlin wrote a speech in Kiswahili on a napkin, and thanked everyone for their friendship and hospitality. Our student, Sarah, had the great idea to play musical chairs, and we had a great time teaching the game and playing. We had approximately 40 chairs crammed into a 25×12 foot room that in itself was a sight to see. We had a small set of speakers hooked up to my i-pod and our laptop and we arranged the chairs in a large circle. We were able to get 24 participants and the games began. Everyone involved had soo much fun dancing to the music and scrambling for a chair. It was a sight to see and a night to remember.

Despite the mixed emotions regarding our departure we realize that our time here this semester is special and won’t be forgotten. Life will go on once we leave and we will be on quite the excursion across Tanzania. First we will take a bus from Kayanga to Bukoba which will take about two hours and will spend most of Monday in Bukoba. Then we will take an overnight ferry across Lake Victoria; Bukoba to Mwanza. We will spend 2 days and 1 night in the Serengeti National Park in large Land Cruisers as we play tourists to the wildlife we have only seen on TV or in a Zoo. Then we will spend a couple nights in the city of Arusha before flying to the island of Zanzibar where we will enjoy the sandy beaches and relaxing islander atmosphere. Before we know it we will be flying home on the 9th of December and asking ourselves where did the time go?

We look forward to seeing our friends and family over the winter break!

-Paul