Thursday, November 8, 2012

Part o the Cesky Krumlov castle

Part of the Cesky Krumlov castle

I cannot believe it is already Thursday!  I leave Saturday morning, but I have been very, very busy so I have no complaints.  Prague, Czech Republic is a beautiful place.  Along with the fact that this is the place where my paternal family came from.  I am lucky to be and see & experience what I have.

I have read and experienced a bit of the ‘culture’ here and find it very pleasant.  It is from here that the word “bohemian” comes from.  The southern part of Czech is still referred to as Southern Bohemia.  People here have been very kind and helpful.  One book uses the word ‘reserved’ to define Czech people.  That may be true, but I don’t think that word works when you look at the history of Czech and how hard they fought for  independence from the Communists.  November 17th will mark the 23rd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.  Quickly put, Czechoslovakia is only 23 years young.  And then in 1993, the country split making current day Slovakia and Czech Republic.  I saw a movie about the demonstration that became the Revolution.  Afterwards, I walked out to Wenceslas Square where it occurred.    It became a bit of a mind warp, not sure what words to use.

Czecks are very much into the arts, especially music.  Did you know that Budweiser was actually a Czeck product?? BEER is very important here.  They created lager and have there pilsner.  One beer company has a few converted ambulances for those late-night beer emergencies — you call and they will deliver!  The food is a bit heavy, lots of pork!  With potatoes & beer!  The country is currently in the process of renovation on their two main museums.  Due to all the mining from Communist era, things are quiet dirty.  And I remember hearing about Radio Free Europe.  Remember anything about that?  Well, the building that America broadcast from is right there at Wenceslas Square.  This history lesson I’m traveling is  better than anything we teach!

I have traveled to the Old Town, the Astronomical Clock, St. Charles Bridge, The Jewish Quarter, the Museum of Communism and to Cesky Krumlov.  Today I will be going to the Castle and tonight on a river cruise.  Tomorrow holds Kutna Hora, a mining town with a bone church!  And then it is time to prepare to leave.

Prague is beautiful.  I have seen a lot, but could easily come back.  It is like stepping back in time.  Just a really good atmosphere, especially once I got my bearings!  The pastry’s are great and I learned why!  There are different flours here in Europe than in America.  Basically, soft/medium/regular where I think our comparison is regular.  I guess now I don’t have to eat everything I see!  Sorry, Marli.

The adventure I thought I would find on this trip has turned out to be sooooo much more than I could have imagined.  I learn history, but I learn about me.  I have reconciled myself with the shortening of the trip, actually pleased.  I will arrive in Utah at the end of December to see the end of Christmas.  That I am grateful for.  Here in Czeck, Christmas trees were not put up till Dec. 21, but that tradition has been lost due to commercialization.  There are trees & decorations already up!  And the traditional Christmas eve is to fast for the day and have a meal in the evening with the main entree being carp.  Carp fisheries are still very prominent here with the tradition still in place.  As I move around, Christmas is ‘coming’ to Prague, to the chagrin of middle age people who were born into Communism.  Now, its commercialism & economy, like everywhere in the world.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Astronomical Clock

That was crazy — I had to look-up the date!!!  Not sure what it is telling me . . . . so, I am in Prague.  Started out a bit rough, but improves daily!  I had the fuzzy’s Friday.  I went out to seek ‘n search my way around and didn’t do so well.  I thought for sure I had it down the second time, but that was a delusion!  BUT, everyone I have asked for help has been great & has spoken some English!  Life is good.  But it was discouraging.  I knew I was tired, but I did not realize I was THAT tired.  I took a nap and early to bed.  I found my courage, and tried again Saturday.

BUT, first let me tell you about my lodgings.  I am staying with a young woman, Veronika, through an listing.  Better than a hostel and cheaper than a hotel, but with hotel+ accomodations.  The flat we are in is part of a 16 flat building.  This building was owned by Veronika’s grandparents at the onset of WWII.  They were sitting in their flat when a bomb dropped on an adjacent building.  The  windows blew-out and dust & dirt everywhere.  The Communists took over the building until the wars end.  At that point, Veronikas family had to petition the government to get it back.  They said yes — but no raising rents and you cannot kick anyone out!  Fast forward — Veronika’s grandmother lives in the building, her sister & brother, and it was just about a year ago that Veronika got her flat here.  Talk about bringing history home.  I look out my window at the ‘newer’ building from where the bomb dropped, and I just get an eerie feeling.  Prague, I have learned, somehow avoided all heavy bombing, thus, the beauty of the city has stayed in tack.  Who was looking out for who?

Move up to Saturday.  I was really nervous about going out — I knew what I had done wrong, but I was tired.  I did quite a bit of homework on Friday evening, but my nerves were still quite rattled.  Sooo, I headed out to find the train station and I made!  Then I needed to get to the New Town, Wenceslas Square.  I found it!!  I got some confidence back on this one!  I enjoyed my time going through the square, finding some gifts (I couldn’t control myself!), the post office and then to my surprise — a market!  I was really excited — this is the stuff I am looking for.  All homemade, Czech food & goods.  How awesome is that?  It gave me enough excitement that I went on to St. Charles Bridge and viewed the sights.

Then I had to come back.  And to my relief, I made it home with minor trouble.  I even stopped and gave myself a pastry as a reward!  On Sunday, I went out again, with even greater confidence, moving on to the Old Town & the Jewish Quarter.

I am not sure if being alone is good or bad with all of this.  I make all my own decisions — and when there correct, WOOOWHOOOO!!!.  But then, what do you do when they are not correct?

And so I’ve learned, you really do not have ‘not correct’.  You aren’t in a position to do anything, but run trials until you succeed.  Your senses are taxed heavily being alone — listening, watching and feeling for everything around you.  But it is worth it!  I have managed through 3 days here and an evening ride from the airport.  What a way to start — in the dark!!  I have the rest of my days packed and am grateful for all that I will get to do.

I can remember before leaving Africa thinking that when I land in California, the first thing I want to do is find the earth and kiss it.  I still want to, but not in the same way.  The world is so big & beautiful.  And for me, right now, being in Prague, where my family is from, I have sense of being that I have never had before.  Finding your roots makes a difference.  And hopefully I will learn more on Tuesday & Wednesday about mine.

The area is beautiful.  A testimony to what is good.  People that have worked hard.  I have learned alot about the culture here by reading, listening & seeing.  That’s a story for the next time.  I think my chicken is burning!!

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November 1, 2012

Today, I have realized that I have been travelling for just over 11 weeks.  And I still have a good 16 weeks ahead of me.  Life is good . . . .

And yes, I am in Prague!!  Tomorrow I meet with the people that are working on my family ancestory.  Lets hope for positive outcomes!!

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Finito . . . .

. . . . for now.  It is my last night at Rifugio.  A very hectic, emotional day.  Krus and I went to the post office to send some more things home.  I learned that you can only send boxes from Italy to the US that weigh no more than 2 kilo’s.  And they don’t have a scale available for you to weigh as you load the box.  What a nightmare, but 6 boxes later, and a few leftovers, they are packed, paid and in the process of going home.  OY!

Ya know, keeping up with this has been very, very hard.  I have had the greatest time while I’ve been here.  The entire experience has been great.  I have been kept overly busy, learned a lot about Italy and the culture, and me.  Learned why my mouth keeps getting so dry and that was h-u-g-e!!

You see, I find my mouth very dry.  Even in Africa, this is not new.  I figured out in Africa it was due to my jaw being on the floor in utter amazement.  But now, here in Italy, I realized the rest of it.  Its due to stunnament.  Stunnament is my word for being totally stunned, in the moment/at the moment.  And thats me, so often!!  It could be due to a cultural thing, something viewed or something just totally whacked.  I hope you get my direction on this because I have experienced stunnament on a regular basis.  I catch myself more and more so I at least am closing my mouth now.  The stunnament could probably lead to big trouble if your not careful.  I’ll give you an example.

This past Saturday Guisi wanted to take me to a few places leading up to the final destination of Sesstierre.  Sesstierre is the area of Torino where the 2006 Winter Olympics, or at least the skiing, was held.  Well we made it, but it was a stunnament situation.  We got messed up on the busses due to wrong information.  Sooooo, dumb as I am, I follow.  We go so far on the bus and will have to wait 2 hours.  Guisi has the solution — hitchhiking.  To make a long story short, we made it to Sesstierre, with the help of 2 different ‘rides’.  It was a great trip.  And it was on Sunday that stunnament became my new word.

When you are in a situation as I am, your brain becomes fuzzy (a Marli word).  And when I say fuzzy, its true.  You are in a totally different environment, may not know the language, the rules, and when you speak your language, you have to do it differently.  Everything just starts to become fuzzy.  And that is a big piece of who I am these last 11 weeks.  Fuzzy.  With a great deal of stunnament.

I leave in the morning for Turin to take the train to Milano.  From there, my plane to Praha.  I will arrive in the evening and pray I make it to my lodgings!  Please pray for me too.  🙂  Then on Friday morning I get to meet with the people I have been working with on my paternal side of the family ancestory.  Pretty cool if you ask me.  The next 5 weeks will be bounces in several places.  I’ll write when I can!  OH!!  And we got snow on the mountain tops Sunday.  Very beautiful.

Arriverderci, la mia bella Italia!      for now.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It’s morning as I start to write this.  The sun is coming in the window – I hope its a sign of a good day.  🙂  We are going for pizza tonight with Maximilliano, our previous volunteer person.  He finished yesterday – filling a temporary position as the full-timer, Suzanne, came back yesterday.  Pizza is always good!

And along with pizza, I finally tried Nutella last week.  Now I know why everyone loves it!!  I OD’ed on it and doing better now.  I bought a jar of this and peanut butter when I first got here.  Krus is gone and we are positive she has the peanut butter locked in her room.  I had no other choice than the Nutella!  On Saturday I even had a nutella & banana crepe.  Reminded me of being in Paris with the girls!

Rifugio Re Carlo Alberto has a website,  Granted most of it is in Italian, if you search around you will find a few things in English.  And if I remember correctly, there are pictures!!

A lesson to be learned if you are travelling in Europe – trains.  If you do not go to the station you almost cannot get the tickets.  I tried ordering online and they want to send them to America.  I can order them via an 800 number and for a nominal fee ($36.00) they’ll send them to me here, from North America.  I cannot make an 800 call from my phone and I am confused as to why I would need to get my Eurail train tickets sent to me from America when I’m here??!!  I am going to the train station tomorrow to purchase everything and be done with that step of my journey.  Some things make no sense . . . . .

I have learned though how to connect with America at no cost!!  My credit union messed up my Visa card, blocked it actually.  So, in order to deal with it, I face talked to Marissa from my computer to hers and then had her make the calls on her phone and I spoke to the various people via the computer.  Technology at its best!  Riss and I had a good laugh!

I have been working on my living arrangements for the next 5 weeks.  I have Prague, Munich & Strazburg done.  I still need to find a place in Vienna, which has been very difficult, but I’ll find it!  I then have Venice, Trieste & maybe a night in Milan – I may just hang in the train station.  And then my final is Athens, but I think I have a spot picked-out, just need to finalize.  All of this ‘planning’ honestly gets a bit old.  I think if I just had time, so I really need to volunteer everyday????, I would be good.  🙂  Tomorrow will be a big day to getting things done – I have to take off to do the trains, no choice!  And now, PIZZA!!

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Saboto, Occtobre 20, 2012

Buena Serra!!  Its Venerdi evening as I am writing and the internet is down so I am not sure when you will get this!

What a day – a week – an Occtobre!  I woke up this morning to an extremely clear view of the world – the mountains were gorgeous!  And I could easily see the one small peak that is the mountain that sits on the border of France & Italy (to the left of the tree).  I know which side of that mountain my heart is on, but I thought of Marli’s on the other side!  🙂

My time here has been a whirlwind.  The peacefulness of being in this small town is bellisimo!  Yet you are not so far away from the rest of the world that you can not be in the thrust of life, the world, within a short time.

Krus is travelling and then a workshop so I am actually catching my breathe!  Tuesday was our little going away party for Melissa (US) from Krus & I.  Pizza and gelato cake!  We were all happy.  On Wednesday Melissa looked at me at pranzo and said she realized that she was going to have to deal with reverse culture shock upon returning home.  We had spoken of it the night before and she didn’t seem too worried – a good nights sleep can always change the way you see!  She was already re-Americanizing worrying about what all she was going to do!  I just laughed and told her to learn how not to speak Italian and live out of a suitcase!  That would be plenty to start with – and then she started laughing too!  I do not even want to think about it!

I have realized that once I learn the language, I really believe I could live here full-time.  Soooooo, I am going to learn the language and come back for lots of visits.  And always bring a piece of Italia home with me in the things I do — my cooking, my baking, gardening and some home things.  I will bring the pace home.

Today Elena (operator) was looking for Anna Marie’s doll, her bambino.  Mario, consumer, looked at Elena and pointed to me telling her there it is!  We laughed!!  And decided it was a compliment.  Then, after pranzo, Medi tells me how he was on the bike and saw a woman from the backside who he thought was me.  He called out, “Ciao, bella!  Want a ride!” only to pull-up and realize it wasn’t me!  We are still laughing!  He ended up speaking with the woman for about 10 minutes to explain and it ended-up being that she spoke French, as does he, so it was all-good in the end.

Italia has been amazing — and so needed after Tanzania.  But at the same time, I know it will be time to leave again.  I received the first set of information today on my family’s ancestry – they have been researching my father’s parents.  Not a lot found, but a beginning.  I will be contacting the couple that does this and will have them expand the search and answer some questions for me, hopefully.  And because Czechoslovakia no longer exists, I am going to ask for before/after maps.  I hope they are able to find more!  This is where I am leaving to.  After that, Munich and Austria.

And I booked my flight to Athens, Greece!  I will be there for 4 days at least, maybe 7.  And then to Thailand!!  After Thailand I will be heading to California, early January.  I cancelled India & Nepal for multiple reasons with one being that the IRS is auditing my 2010 taxes.  Not that it is life & death, but its like the icer on the list of ‘if it can go wrong, it will’!  I will save those two for another trip!

Well, it is Saboto afternoon and I have just recently returned from mercato in Pinerollo.  I found some socks & a bit heavier jacket for my next direction – oh, and some l-o-n-g socks too!  I am determined not to buy a big heavy coat and I think I will accomplish that.  We have a Boutique at Rifugio so I went this morning.  I got a scarf, 2 nice sweaters and a long-sleeved t-shirt for 5euros – ~$6.  I think I’m in good shape!  And I did pick up a phone Thursday, not that I’m calling any of you!!

Have a great weekend – I know I am!!!!!

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Monday, Oct. 15

Buenoserra!  It’s evening here and I realized I should probably write something!  I have to tell you, its hard getting on here.  I have been so totally involved that I run out of time!  Did I tell you that my first Friday here as I was sitting with Guisi, Paulo & Marcel having spaghetti supper we felt an earthquake?  And there was one on Saturday and Sunday.  All small, but enough that you could feel it.  I must be strange because for me it was, Oh, well!

On Friday, Mhedy, Marie & I went for a l-o-n-g walk and ate supper in town.  I LOVE pizza Margherita!  It was nice to just sit & talk.  Saturday I went to Turin with Guisi.  It was great.  We went to a place called Eataly – it is part of the slow food movement.  There is one in New York and maybe somewhere else in the US.  All kinds of food, very cool.  On Sunday, Guisi and I drove about 3/4ths of the way up a mountain and then walked the rest of the way to give her car a rest!  It was sooo cool!  The area I am in is known for using the rock to build things – houses, walls, etc.  When I get the pics up you’ll see.  It is amazing what they have built, all by hand in the beginning.  But that is all relavant to Italians – working hard and by hand.  They take so much pride in the things they make and they don’t just go with all the mass produced stuff that we all seem to thrive on.  They have kept their love of their workmanship and pride and continue on.  Its that sense of self that I guess makes me love it here so much.

After the mountain I had dinner at Guisi’s with Krus and Guisi’s sister, neice, nephew & his girlfriend.  We had a ball!  It didn’t matter that I didn’t know every word being said (as Krus interpretted) you could just tell it was typical family stuff.  Alejandro burped and we were all laughing – I even told them about my girls burping contests at the dinner table!  We were rolling, they loved it!!

Italy is a beautiful country, but the keeping of the old world arts is what makes it.  People are friendly and want to get to know you, taking a real interest.  And of course they want to feed you!  I have started to slow down on my eating.  When I first got here, it was like — FOOD!!!!!  Now, I’m balancing – but eating!  Tomorrow we are going out for drinks & pizza for Melissa’s last night here.  We will all miss her and I think once she gets home, she is going to find that she misses all of this more than she thought she would.  This was Melissa’s first trip abroad.

As I take pictures, and look around, and theres sooooo much to see!, I just think about all the different people I have met in the last 2 months.  It is amazing.  We are all so much more alike than different yet I don’t believe that is what we are taught.  I think about my ‘multicultural’ classes in grad school.  We spoke of culture, culture, culture, but not once did we speak of basic humanness.  Its always about our differences, not are similarities.  I just find it really sad.  When I planned this trip and started, this was by far NOT what I expected to find.  Everyday brings me more.  And I am so grateful to have this opportunity.  And again, from my Facebook page to here, if you have not left North America, start planning your trip now!  Be scared!  You’ll go, you’ll get over the fear, and be glad you did it!!

Anyone for Italia in ’14???  CiaoCiao

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Friday night, 10/12/12

I cannot remember what day it is!!!!  But I think thats a good sign!  Italy has started off with me being tired, but I’ve been able to hang with it and am having a ball.  I told you about Krus.  Well, there is also Melissa here from New Mexico.  She has been here 9 weeks and is finishing up, going home next week.  It’s time for her to start grad school!

And then there is Dariella (I hope I did that right!)  She is some sort of therapist from Bolivia, about 30 yrs old.  Very, very nice.

And Mehdy.  That’s his last name.  He is 22, from Morocco living in France the last 3 years.  Last year he joined the French volunteer army, spending 3 mos. in Somalia, Iraq & Afghanistan.  He thinks I’M brave going to Tanzania as a single white woman – I think he’s the brave one for going into Somalia!  He is very attuned to life, but as he says, thats what happens after you have been off to war.  And thats a big chunk to think about . . . .

And yesterday Marie arrived from Armenia.  She’s not doing too well, her first time travelling.  We aren’t sure she likes us.  I’m glad I’m only here for a month!

So, in the last week, I told you about dinner.  Sunday we went to the top of a mountain.  OMG!!!!!  I will try to post those pics soon, I am working on safari.  But it was breathtaking.  We were up in the Alps and some of the clouds I think were below us.  Unbelievable!  We have gone to the market and a little cafe Monday.  A glass of wine & a simple snack was 2 euros.  There were 4 of us, with 2 rounds and we had a ball!  I bought a bunch of junk at the market just cuz I haven’t had food in a long time!!

Tuesday took us to Saluzzo.  It is a typical Italian town (pics coming).  We had fun going to see the castle, which at first we thought was a prison!  What do we know??  On the way home, we got lost!  We made it home and then went for my first Italian pizza!  We had a ball, AND, it marked 2 months that I have been away.  On Thursday we visited the Valdese cemetary and took a walk into town.  We had gelato! and I bought a plate of cookies to take back.  And Friday, we walked through Luscerna to Torre Pellice and back.  Oh, and did I say we stopped for pizza??

On Tuesday I weighed myself and saw that I had lost 10 lbs.  I knew I lost weight so, I will eat!  Besides, Marcel said you come to Italy for two reasons – to eat and/or to make love.  I’m eating!

Italy is just very calming, a very safe place.  People are nice.  It is heavy, predominate Italian speaking people where I am at so I am trying to learn Italian as fast as possible.  I have picked-up alot of words, but I am studying as much as possible too.  I have been told that although this is a nice area, the south of Italy is much friendlier.  And these are Italians telling me this!

The style and atmosphere here is so different than at home.  Like I said, its very safe here.    You here the cow & the sheep bells consistently along with the mooing.  Here, I have are regular work schedule, 9:30 to 5:15 daily.  Dinner isn’t until 8 which is not great, but the food is good!  I am slowing down on eating and getting into a balance again.  It is just a very simple, peaceful life here.

I am heading to Turin to tomorrow with Guisi and hoping to find a few shirts and a jacket.  The weather last night was 17C – about 64d. F.  I am also going to find 2 good Italian written cookbooks – one for cooking, one for baking.  Sooo, when I get home, I’m going to the baking one first if anyone wants to join me!  They have cutting boards at the Day Centre that are about 2 x 3′.  They are the best!  I am also going to take a real bread making class.  Vito just popped out a bread last weekend that was delicious!!  The food has really been great!!!  Veggies are huge, fruit perfect!

Ok, I’m going to work on some pics.  PLEASE let me know if you haven’t seen the pics – figured-out a link to them for those that are not on FB.  I am also uploading to Shutterfly, but that will take some time!  Ciao!!

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Domenica, Ottobre 7, 2012

Come stai?  (How are you?)  Yes, I am in Italia and need to learn to speak the language!  Basically, no one speaks Englise.  And its something I have always wanted to learn so I guess its time!

I spent an overnight in London on Wednesday which was very refreshing.  It is very nice, quaint there, but expensive!  So start saving your money for that trip!  I did send some things home, 2 boxes worth at about 24 lbs.  It was good to lighten the load!  The air travel has been great.  If you are coming this direction, use British Airways.  Everyone is great and they feed you!  I think I am getting too used to flying!  So far on this trip I have been in 10 different airports!  Education coming from just all different directions!

When I arrived here on Thursday I was greeted by two young women – Gizella from Hungary and Teresa from Germany.  Both volunteers that volunteered to do pick-up.  They took me to my placement, Rifugio Re Carlo Alberto Onlus located in Lauserna San Giovanni (TO).  The TO refers to Turin/Torino, and it is a home for the elderly.  We are in the Pellices valley area with the town of Torre Pellice being in walking distance.  The Pellices valley borders France to help give you an idea of how west in Italia I am.  The nearest town is Pinerolo which I was able to visit Venerdi (Friday) night.  It is beautiful!!  And of course, no camera!  I will go back.

Upon arriving I was introduced to another volunteer who volunteered to be in charge while Marcello, the director, is on holiday.  Crus is 20 years old, from Ecuador, intelligent, bright, enthusiastic, energetic and someone you just cant help but to admire.  Crus finished high school at 17 and began university.  She finished 2 years and decided to travel to learn more.  The thing about Crus, she was in a car accident at 18 and lost her right arm above the elbow.  Obviously, to me anyway, she hasn’t let it stop her.  She is great!  And the perfect way to start this part of my travels.

I look out to the Alps every morning as I wake and every evening before bed.  My accomodations are very nice, the food is good and plentiful!  The staff that I have met are great!  Giusi, works in the day centre and is my age.  She invited me to dinner Venerdi.  So, she and a friend Marcel, took me to Pinerolo and then we went to Guise”s home where Paulo had a home made spaghetti dinner waiting for us.  It was perfecto!!  Bread laid on the table, wine glasses full,  sauce was bueno and I ate!  I was taught to smell the food before/as I eat it – smart concept!  And to use my bread to clean my plate.  I told them that usually the dogs do that for me!  Giusi speaks a little Englise and Marcel & Paulo none.  And me a little Italiano – made for an interesting mix!  All in all, a great evening.

Just being back in Italia rekindled my love for this country.  It is beautiful, kind, soft, friendly.  I could go on & on!  And the program I am in is great – so if anyone has kids, I can tell you all about this program!  The volunterees are travelling all over Europe and having a ball yet doing their program here.  Just awesome.

Well, I am hoping to be on my computer domani (tomorrow) so I can upload some pics from safari and here.  I am heading out for a walk to see if I can start to learn how to get to town.


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Thursday, October 4,2012

WOW!!!  What a time I have had over the last week.  It was tough leaving my host family – they are really good people.  But I was ready to go.  Honestly, the heat was debilitating.  By 7:30 or so, everyday, that sun was blazing and only got hotter as the day went by.   It makes you exhausted.  You hit a point in the day that you just need to stop and rest.  Or sleep.  It messes you up.  And moves you to becoming a bit lazy.

And I think I referenced to Tanzanians being so laid back and lateness being an issue.  Well, after talking with actual Tanzanians, they explained to me how it’s not so much laid back as the issue of transportation.  Due to very little paved roads and so, so many people, everything is congested and you just cannot get from one place to the next.  It is very frustrating for many people, but no one has a solution.  Other than the obvious!  Which takes me to the point that no matter what, I have learned ALOT Tanzania and its people.

I met a girl Wednesday morning from London as we were waiting for our flight.  She too was a volunteer, but with another agency.  We talked specifically to the point of EXPLOITATION.   And that reality that many/most of Tanzanians are just that, exploited.  They know things are not good, education is minimal, but they know there is more out there and they want it.  Which makes them a very vulnerable population.  Anyone in a position of authority seems to be too willing to take advantage.  This young lady told me of how the director for her program has 3 Macs, 2 iPad and a couple of iPhones.  Yet the “organization” had no money for supplies for her program.  It is a mess in Africa, a very hot mess.  We both are glad we came, but very disappointed in what we witnessed.

Side-point — the young man who needed to get to university made it!  We got the loan paid-off which allowed his mom to get the larger loan for his college.  Keep him in his prayers that things continue to go the right direction and Tanzania will have one more doctor!

Safari.  What can I say . . . . it was tiring, exhilarating, exciting, fun, amazing, cold.  Yes, cold.  We  went into a crater left by a now defunct volcano.  And we went early in the morning and it was cold!  It warmed as the day went on, but that beginning!  I saw a porcupine and 3 black rhinos amongst many other animals.  The black rhino is almost extinct so that was very cool.  Every park I went to I was fortunate and saw many, many animals.  And I met and chatted with people from all over the world.  Even the group from Pennsylvania!  There was a young couple from Japan, on their honeymoon, too cute.  And then there were the 4 French guys.  I spoke a lot with the one and he made a very simple, accurate point.  “Its Africa”.  And sadly, he is exactly correct.

For Tanzania, what an unbelievable experience.  There is no way anyone can go there, for an extended time, and not leave with greater humility.  No, it is not a 3rd world country, but within itself it goes the full spectrum with a large portion being 2nd world.  We complain ALOT in the US and I think that’s OK.  We want and demand.  But we really do not know what it is to go without.  When I  got home last week and found out that Elizabeth had Malaria, I was furious.  Here I am with an original prescription of 150 pills to take to prevent me from getting the disease, and I got them for free.  YES, for free.  And here she is with no healthcare, no prevention.  Just the meds when you do get it.  And for Elizabeth, this was her second time.  And then trying to teach a lesson to 3rd graders where most of them were without pencils.  So I bought them.  Then it took over 15 minutes to sharpen them because all they have are those little junkie sharpeners, or a blade.  They were in awe when I told them we have ones that you can mount on the wall and it does all the work in less than a minute.  If you want to change a little bit of the world, please let me know.  I can direct you.

I am working on a cyberspace place to put all my pics so it might be easier to view.  Will let you know as soon as I have that!  I left Wednesday morning for London and then onto Italia on Thursday.  London was very cozy, but expensive!  But I will go back someday!  And for here in Italia — I am sooooo excited!!  I love this country!  And the volunteer who greeted me and showed me around, Crus, well, I will tell you about her next time, but what an outstanding young lady.  She has been here 6 months so knows the ropes and did a great job showing me.

Sorry so long!!!   For now, ciao!


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