Archive | June, 2011

Distance makes the heart grow fonder…and the blog posts mushier

15 Jun

I am in love with Evan Moss.

Being away from him has been making feel VERY reminiscent.  I have been thinking a lot about the little things–all the reasons our somewhat random acquaintance  turned into the relationship we have now.

We met for real in Budge Hall, where we played a card game with mutual friends and he walked me around the building to check doors at the end of my shift… because I was on duty.   I love him because me made me laugh on that night.

I love him because when I causually and not so tactfully brought up maybe going to a dollar movie together, he said yes. And offered to drive.

I love him because on that first date, we talked about who knows what and there were no awkward moments.

I love him because in his blue nissan on the way to that dollar theater, he was listening to NPR.  He mentioned he liked the jazz program in the evenings.  I remember my dad saying the same thing. I knew then that if he asked me on a second date…I would say yes.

I love him because he offered to watch the movie The Right Stuff with me on his netflix account during visiting hours after he overheard me saying that it was one of my favorite movies of all time.  I couldn’t believe he would be willing to do that–most people think that movie is kind of boring.  We snuggled.

I love him because the first time he put his arm around me was in an art museum.

I love him because he gave me his copy of Tess of the D’Urbevilles when I flew out for Elisabeth’s baptism.  I love books.  I teared because it meant so much.

I love him because we spent countless hours sitting under trees reading books that summer we met.

I love him because he said “I bet you will love the show Freaks and Geeks.”  And we watched it. And I DID love it.

I love him because he gets absolutely giddy at family functions.

I love him because he honestly wants to help my grandparents plant their garden and can some raspberries.

I love him because he is learning how to braid so he can braid my hair.

I love him because when I have mini breakdowns, he calms me down.  He once bought me food for a week when I moved into my new apartment. And he dried my clothes in his dryer when the dryers at my laundry mat were not working. And he let me take his big suitcase to Africa because I wanted to take too much stuff for my duffle bag.

I love him because he always looks so happy to see me.

I love him because he was worried to the point of breakdown about accepting a job for next semester because he was concerned about not having time to help me study.

I love him because he will share a Little Caesars pizza with me anytime. And he too thinks it is worth the money for an order of crazy bread.

I love him because he gave me a baseball cap for my birthday, which was probably more significant a gift than he realizes.  Maybe I will write a blog post one day about why it meant so much.

I love him because he let me curl up on his couch and sob loud, uncontrollable sobs on his shoulder for a long time because I didn’t want him to go on Singer’s Tour and leave me alone for 2 weeks, even though I was about to leave him alone for 3 months.  He didn’t point that out though, and didn’t think I was ridiculous for making such a scene.

I love him because he prefers more jelly than peanut butter on his PB&J and I like more peanut butter than jelly on mine, which means the jars will even out perfectly throughout our entire lives!

So, as  you can see, especially based on the PB&J point, we are absolutely perfect for each other.

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“Save Water, Drink Beer!”

11 Jun

On the way into town, on a drive I do on the Dala Dalas on a nearly daily basis, there is a painted mural of the adage, “Save Water, Drink Beer.”  At first, I just laughed everytime I saw it.  I mean…come on….it’s funny.  Especially since it is right next to the building witht he painting of President Obama…with the Pope.  (They like President Obama over here…A LOT).

But since I have been here, and I have noticed all the drunk men from the banana beer, and the women who have to do all the work because all the men are drunk, and the children who have no role models in their fathers, I realize more and more that there is a serious Public Health concern in the extremely widespread use of beer in the villages around Arusha town.

I was first made aware of the cultural norm of drinking…ALL THE TIME….when I began to notice the Dala Dala guys were already totally hammered when we were going to meetings early in the morning.  And then when a couple friends and I were hiking Mount Meru a while back, and we asked our guide what he thought of so many people around drinking SO MUCH banana beer all the time he replied that he saw no problem because it is a local beer and the price is very low!  We were a little concerned that those were the only issues to be considered…

The thing I love most about Public Health, especially in developing countries is that it is all about preventative education.  It has such hope and belief in the people involved and understands that they want to be healthy and happy and will soak in as much knowledge as they can to help them.  Here in Tanzania, we are teaching multiple classes everywhere from Arusha to Boma N’Gombe about the basics of being healthy and improving your own life and lives of those around you.

In the words of the man sitting by me on the Dala Dala a couple days ago “It is important to teach people about health–if you are not healthy you can not change the things around you.”

I couldn’t agree more.

So, maybe I will sneak out in the night and change the sign to say something like…”Let’s all just forget about the beer and maybe have a round of water!” It may not have the same ring to it, but you know…I think it is still an improvement!

I am still loving Tanzania by the way.  I begin teaching my girl’s health classes on Monday with the Grow. Learn. Give curriculum.  We went to introduce the class to the girls this past friday, and there is something special about them.  I wish you could all see them for yourself–they motivate me to try harder in everything I do.

And you should have seen Kilimanjaro during the sunset.  My oh my.  I hope I never forget what that looked like.

Public Health for the win!

7 Jun

Hello Everyone!

You may be wondering what I have been up to the past little while while I have been…quite out of town.  The simple answer is….saving the world.  How am I saving the world you ask? Through Public Health!! Duh!

Anyone who knows me at all probably also knows that I have two major loves in life…my major in school and my fiancé.  Since I have written more posts about the latter than the former, I figure it is time to give my wonderful undergrad program some blog-lovin.

I am a Public Health major! It is the greatest major of all time, in case you didn’t know.  Here in Tanzania, we are working on a whole slew of Public Health projects from HIV/AIDS  education, to maternal health awareness, to community trash pick up.  My specialty is Women’s Health, and I am creating curriculum for a Girl’s Health class to be taught in various schools and women’s groups in the area.  We have lessons on personal hygiene, empowerment, nutrition, menstrual hygiene and family planning.  I am a firm believer in the theory that healthy and empowered women=health and empowered communities.  I am so excited to begin teaching all these girls at the beginning of next week and I am passionate about the subject.  I will write more specifics later…just standby! Especially now that we have more reliable internet! It is really a blessing!

Other than that important work, I am just having the time of my life.  Sometimes I walk around these fabulous villages, munching on a piece of fresh sugar cane or a fresh off of the tree banana and catch a glimpse of Mr. Kilimanjaro, and it really hits me that I am in Africa! I can’t even put into words how beautiful the place is—everyone should come! I love the food, and the people, and the scenery, and the Dala Dalas! (those are the CRAZY form of public transportation that basically means shoving 30 people in a mini van while blasting American rap from 10 years ago.)  I am having a grand ole time!

Kwa Heri! ! (that means goodbye)

Sincerely, Annette