Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Myths about Tanzania No. 1

Due to the public's lack of knowledge on Tanzania, there are several myths about the country and its culture. This is the first of the series: Myths about Tanzania.

I was talking to my volunteer friend who was recently sent to Vietnam, the following is my conversation with her:

Ji Young: Jung Yul~ There's still a lot of time left before you leave right? kk
Ji Young: Preparing to leave for Tanzania?

Tommy Kim: I have lots of time.
Tommy Kim: I'm not doing any preparations now.
Tommy Kim: Just about to... buy some pants

Ji Young: You don't need to buy pants. Kk. People in Tanzania go around bottomless.

Tommy Kim: ....

People in Tanzania wear pants!!!

Here's the dialogue in its original language:

 김지영: 정열~ 넌 아직도 출국하려면 많이 남았지?ㅋㅋ
 김지영: 출국 준비는 잘 하고 있는거야?

 Tommy Kim: 열라 많이 남았어
 Tommy Kim: 준비.. 안하고 있어
 Tommy Kim: 이제 막.... 바지좀 살라고

 김지영: 바지는 안사도 돼.ㅋㅋ 탄자니아는 벗고 다닐거야.
 Tommy Kim: ....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Where and When

Whenever someone asked me

"so, when are you going to Tanzania?"or "where in Tanzania will you be?"

I felt a bit odd saying "I don't know." The conversation then approached a slight moment of awkwardness.

The person who asked me the question would then have a puzzled look with "what the hell" all over his face,which I would reply with a sigh and the expression "tell me about it."

Finally, I was given the answers to both questions. On the second to last day of domestic training, I was chilling in the lobby sofa with some folks, when the front door burst open with a gusto of wind, sweeping the fall leaves indoor. Then a shining gleam of light from where else, the sky! And slowly, but gently, a scroll made of lamb sheep came down, and landed by my foot. And it read:


크게 보기

Go to Mtwara, a small coastal town in the Southeastern corner of Tazania. There, you will find Sabasaba Day Secondary School, with a KOICA dude already teaching math and biology. You will take his place.


You will leave this holy land Korea at December 17th 2009. It's a bloody long time away from now, so occupy yourself by doing a lot of nothing.

And then with Pachabel's Canon in D playing softly in the radio, the scroll began to disintegrate into gold dust, and vanished as the song's volume faded away. I have been blessed by the grace of the government! Now I can finally answer the questions of where and when without any awkwardness. THANK YOU!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Domestic Training

I was browsing through some shared photos of domestic training, and I realized how little it was mentioned in Tomzanian. There are only two days left of training, and I do feel a bit regretful for clumping such an eventul month in one post. Please forgive the Tomzanian.

A large portion of training consists of dull lectures.  Topics include Korea's Vision to be an Advanced First Rate Country, the Proper Understanding of Korean Wave, and the Appropriate Volunteer Attitude. Eighty percent of the lectures are junk, which make the trainees respond as above during breaks.

And the Tanzanian group again! As government volunteers, we travel with diplomatic passports, so we had to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to retrieve them. This is what we do when we are on standby.

Here are the dumbshit dudes who are going to Ethiopia. Okay just kiddin. They're notorious for being big clowns, but also real good people. The guy on the far right is my roommate, who wants to be the agricultural minister of Korea. Notice their short hair? They also went to boot camp back in August.

One of the key aspects of training is being vaccinated. KOICA provides four vaccines for all volunteers: Hep A, seasonal flu, tetanus, and typhoid fever. Those who go to Africa will get the yellow fever vaccine as well. All for free. Thanks for the free stuff government!

This is the library volunteer group at the National Fire Service Academy. We went there for a day long lesson on various safety measures, including CPR. The library volunteer group is famous for being a clique.

The most important lecture of the program was conducted by Doctor Yoon, who himself was a volunteer in Papa New Guinea and Peru. He gave us some very useful information on diseases as well as general health guidelines. This was one of his last words of the lecture:

"Marrying a local would be the completion of your assimilation to your host country. That's of course a good thing. But, keep in mind that they may love your citizenship more than you."

For most of the time the trainees are stuck at the training center, banned from leaving the premises. One of the exception was a day long hiking trip to Worak Mountain. It was a well timed relief from the boring ass lectures.

So how are them Korean girls? Well, you can find them in Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Egypt.

Or how about the boys?

Jinho and our Swahili teacher Samson in class.

The Tanzania group with Samson. Swahili 3 hours a day, 5 days a week.

One of the final events was the visit from former US Peace Corps volunteers who were in Korea in the 60s and 70s. (more about them to follow)