Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cape Coast 10.28

Hello from cape Coast! A weekend away from the orphanage again. I have never loved the beach more. The children call broni (white woman!) i want to swim with you, i want to be your friend as you walk down the beach. the waves are big enough to surf on and the water is warm but still refreshing. I saw three grown men taking craps on the beach yet I am still able to say ah...what beauty. I think Africa has broken me in people. Yesterday we went to Kakum National Rainforest and for five bucks got to walk suspended in the canopy. It would not pass US high ropes course standards; we were on it in a thunderstorm downpour, but it was mighty cool. We slept in the forest on a platform with a tin roof, our most expensive stay anywhere yet, and listened to the noises of the jungles as we slept. I got to do yoga watching the rain fall around me and we drank our favorite Ghana beer, Castle Milk Stout. We checked out the slave castle museum, where almost all slaves passed through before leaving their continent. We walked in the dungeons where thousands were packed, and thousands died. It was a crazy, crazy thing, something I never thought I would see. The Internet cafe we like is run by Israeli blacks who claim to be the original Jews. I walked out of a class I was teaching when the local teacher canned all of the hard in my opinion. A different way of life here, it makes them behave for sure. Mark and I really want to focus on getting two classes of children from the fundamental stages of reading, to actually read. I am also sign painting, and made a teatherball course, and did a website. miss you all!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sankofa Mbrofra Fie

di and i have spent about 10 days at Sankofa Mbofra Fie the orphanage/school that we are
volunteering at for the next 8 weeks. it is real fun. the kids are welcoming, cool and friendly.
they are of course crazy but then again most kids are pretty off the wall. it has been fun. we have observed and
even taught a few classes.

The students are of all different ability level. the school is free to the students of the small
farming village because many of them could not afford the cost to go to the government school.
They would have to buy a school uniform (about $5 and they would have to buy their own pens and
notebooks) So this is a rather poor village. I guess poor in our standards. they are a very happy
group of farmers and people.

We are having a great time with the kids and are undertaking the following projects: Building a
web site, registering the Orphanage as an NGO: Non-Government Organization- basically
registering the orphanage and school as a non profit. we are going to make signs for the school/orphanage,
make a farm for animals and fruit trees so that Sankofa can feed itself! it is going well. we will post more soon!~
mark and diane~ keep the comments coming!

Don't feed the children!!!!!!!!!!

So Moshi Tanzania is a pretty touristy place b/c of Mount Kili. there are many street vendors working their magic in hopes of some tourist money. When you read travel books they tend to say things like, " bring chocolate and pens to give to local children." FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS BY ANY MEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The local children need to get an education to better themselves but because of tourist who hand out candy and pens there mastery of the English language consists of one English sentence with 2 alternate endings as well as the great English work "Yes!" The magical sentence that young children will bring them out of poverty is...
"Give me chocolate", or " Give me pen." Some students did not bother to learn this phrase and just posses and understanding of one three English words and they are of course, "chocolate, pen, yes."

It has gotten so bad that there are signs now in many hostels/hotels that plead with tourist NOT to give out chocolate/pens/anything. They want tourist to instill in the children that they need to go to school to get an education and not to be street kids whom depend on tourist for their survival.

On a side note the safari was kickin'! and yes we did not feed the animals either on safari!
We saw it all, hippo's, lions, cheetahs, twig's (the swahili word for giraffe's), dic-dic (which are mini deers that have a family ceremony where they all poop in the same area to mark their land! how sweet is that!, wilderbeast, elephants. The safari was great. there will be pictures to come via our good friend Michelle who was kind enough to spend part of her trip with us. Ron was with us well and we hope he can post some pictures as well if he can get to this blog!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Holy Shit Massai village. 10.6

Such a crazy experience. I feel so blessed that we got to go through it. It felt like a week and yet it was only 24 hours. We came to this beautiful campground where we met a man dressed in street clothes who was a Massai. He had traditionally stretched earlobes, one had ripped long ago and was dangling. He also had two scars on his cheeks below his eyes, that were from from a iron rob placed in the fire and then on his skin to prevent eye disease. His name was Issac, we walked with Issac through the dusty town to a boma (village) it was located about 3 mi away. There were \huts made of sticks, cow dung, and grass roofs concentrated in the area. The village around 10 huts but there were many more scattered around the valley. Our bags were brought into the hut and we ducked through the tiny opening inside. It was a stark contrast between the hot african sun and it took awhile to adjust our eyes. There were two holes to the outside about three fingers wide, to provide ventilation. Mark, michelle, ron, and i sat on the beds/pallets that were raised platforms with twigs covered in animal skins. I sat on a carved stool. Here Issac told us a little bit about Massai culture. The houses were build by women. In fact, women did almost all of the work in the boma. The men herded cattle, went to market, and drank. Each hut was for a wife and her children. Men had around five wives. He spent on week with each. The children sleep in one room and the mom and dad in the other. To our amazement later that do five or six cow and 12 chickens. A big highlight was watching the young recently circumcised males march our cows into the hut. When we pointed this out to michelle she was drop jawed that our night was to be spent with cows! it was hilarious. The bomas are in the dust of the desert, so the women have to go nearer to the mountainous crater walls to gather wood to build their homes. They then collect cow dung in pots (looks like the same ones they cook with) and mix with water much like cobb. The men are circumcised between the age of 8 and 20. They then begin to take the cows to water and to graze. The men wear mostly red thin wool capes. The women wear blue. The women in the village had much more tattered clothes than the men. In the ear are white beaded earrings, sometimes very long. They wear white anklets and necklaces. there is a pen in the middle where some of the animals are kept at night. No need for barbed wire there are trees in this place that would keep a tank ou8t. They have white spikes out of them. As Ron said "there are many angry trees in Africa." Issac to us to market a few miles away and answered our many questions. There is a masai school. Most of the medical care is done in the village with tree bark. We got to the market and it was a sea of clor, red everywhere. we knew we were in for a color shock treat. no whites anywhere. Issac took us first to the barbecue pits. The market was under huge candelabra cactus trees. The meat was goat. Issac wanted to buy some barbeque they had cut and cleaned that day, but staring at the goats severed head, we were all a little hesitant. Then we were brought to a tarp where people were sitting around a bucket on benches. In the bucket contained a frothy white liquid that was banana beer. Oh, how i wanted to try some. but it is not peeled or cooked...we then went to the market and mark bought shoes made out of tires. we ate our lunch in a little hut where warm sodas were sold. Issac got barbeque and chili. the barbeque was beef and he insisted we try some. As we ate a man was hacking into a goat head by a fire and working hard at it too. it was a little hard to eat. It feels bad to eat when there are hungry people around. Issac's chili had two plantains in it and some red sauce. He left us for two hours as he drank banana beer with his father!!! We strolled around the market but quickly retreated to the edges as we were aggressively recruited rich white people. Some of the Masais wear suits, talk on cell phones, and ride motorcycles. It is a huge contrast. When we found issac again we headed back to the village. The huts were more civilized near to town and less as you moved further away. The children swarmed around us, not asking to be held but clinging, investigating, laughing. They were dressed in Western clothes and not massai. We played Frisbee with them. They were over joyed and hilarious. One boy was instantly amazing. Most of them began by throwing the disc upside down. A large bowl of porridge was broght out and the women and children sat around eating it. No one making sure they had enough, but then again there were children there with no pants on. Mark went to bed but michlele and i sat down on goat shit and cow shit star gazing. The stars were of the best I have seen. The masai village was seeped with as many dis guts as it was gems. The moment that summed it up best was when i put my hand down to sit and it landed in some fairly fresh wet cow shit. I could not see due to the dark. YUCK GROSS yelled I as I frantically scraped my hand on the bottom of my shoe. The little girl with the sparkly yees laughed and took my hand in hers wiping it until it was clean. So much more happened, but if you have read this far your patience is amazing and mine is wavering. Michelle will post the picutres when she gets home in about a week. they are awesome make sure to check them out. i miss you all.