Friday, February 19, 2010


There are incidents in life that I simply call “moments.”  No three adjectives suffice to describe the moments.  They are indeed memorable, but not to the extent of life-changing.  They are not grand events, such as a wedding or a dental accident.  They provoke some thought, but are perhaps more sentimental than stimulating. 

The first of these moments happened during the homestay period. Mr. Mawazo is my co-worker, which means that I got to bug him a lot during the homestay period.  He also taught me two hours of Swahili every other day, only because the KOICA office obliged us to get tutors while we homestay.  Mr. Mawazo is a math teacher, thus not a very good Swahili instructor.  So during the first half of the class, he taught me some basic words, and during the second half, we walked around the school and I asked him a bunch of questions about how the school works.  One day, both of us somewhat fatigued with the lesson, he took me outside the school to show me around the area.  We walked a bit until we reached the main road.  Then he offered to give me a ride on his bicycle.  I first refused, thinking “this is a bit strange.  This won’t ever happen in the US/Korea.”  But he insisted and my Swahili sucked enough to refuse him.  So I hopped on, and felt strangely good.  I was having a bit of trouble adjusting to the bucket showers and the pit latrine, but as I was on the back of Mr. Mawazo’s bicycle, I thought maybe life in Mtwara won’t be so bad at all.

The second moment happened today.  In mid-morning, the school has a tea break.  I spent the whole morning watching BBC news on the school television, and I was getting sick of watching the same news twice.  I left to get some breeze as the third news cycle was about to being.  Then, Mr. Prosper (what a name! And Mawazo means ideas.  I should have a post on Tanzanian names sometime soon) invited me to his place of tea.  This meant that there’ll be some food as well.  I always feel a bit nervous when a Tanzanian tries to be too close, but I felt it would not do me much harm.  Mr. Prosper is a soft-speaking man, and he doesn’t speak much in English as well.  Naturally, there were some awkward breaks in the conversation.  I kept reminding myself that it’s awkward only because I think is awkward, and so talked about the Chelsea calendar he had in his room.  Soon, he introduced me to his wife with so much pride, as he is a newlywed.  He showed me the photo album of their wedding, and provided me with some tea and food.  Fortunately, once the food was over, he thought we should go back to the school, and I was relieved.  Yet, I felt a mild pleasure of being invited by a colleague so soon, and thought again that life here won’t be so bad at all.

Except, now the electricity is out, and tap water has been sparse for the past two days.


Kabir said...

Dude your blog is great.

Narae said...

I love the first moment. I can totally picture you bing so cute on the back seat of the bike. lol :-) Miss ya!