Monday, May 17, 2010

a bad week for stomachs















The other day I was sitting at lunch at Amani and I realized the social worker that was sitting next to me had a huge piece of stomach on his plate. I always knew that they ate the stomach and intestines because I always see it mixed in with the other pieces of meat but I never really watched closely enough to see my co-workers eat this part of the cow. Once he noticed I was watching so closely he picked up a huge chunk of the stomach and shoved it into his mouth and then told me it was one of his favorite parts, especially when it is tender. Then the other men that were sitting at the table with me thought it was funny that I found it so disgusting so they all started to pick the stomachs off their plates and chew them up in front me. Whenever I tell them that I am a vegetarian they look at me sympathetically and say “pole sana” which means, “I am so sorry” in Kiswahili.
Recently, at night, we have been having massive invasions of termites. It is the craziest thing…millions (or something like that) of them will swarm the outside sitting area and the doors and windows of the hostel. They fly into things and just fly around like crazy. After about a half hour or so of crazy flying they shed their wings and start to crawl around and continue to run into things. There was one night when it was particularly bad and we had to shut all of the doors to the hostel and our floor in the kitchen was still literally covered with shed wings after the hour long invasion. That is what the weird looking pictures are.
Some of the locals catch the termites and fry them before eating them as a snack (a few of the girls staying at the hostel tried this crispy treat but I think it was just to get the termites back for being so annoying). The lizards also eat them and the dogs love having the termites around for food.
On Thursday I went to Arusha with two people from work to scope out some places for the annual Amani picnic (basically a big field trip for all of the kids and the staff). I think we are going to end up doing Arusha National Park which I know the kids will really love. We also stopped at the smaller of the two snake parks in Arusha which was pretty cool. It was really tiny but I got to see tons of snakes and one was a spitting snake (I forget its real name) but it spat at me (I was protected by a glass wall) as a form of self-defense. We also got to see crocodiles or alligators (I’m still not sure which) and tons of chameleons. There was one chameleon that was sitting on a tiny branch and looked so adorable. At first I thought he was just sleeping but when Leonard tapped on his screen cage and he didn’t move I realized he was dead. I told the lady running the snake park and she took the poor little guy out and threw him somewhere in the grass. I think the next part of the trip is where I made a mistake…
The Tanzanian’s from Amani that I was with took Guava off the tree to eat – of course I tried a bite too. The next day I started to feel pretty sick. My stomach was cramping up and my body was aching. After feeling crappy for a day and then extremely sick that night (I forgot to mention diarrhea) I went to the clinic that most of the Wazungu’s (Europeans) go to when they get sick. Apparently I have either a bacterial infection or an amoeba (it probably wasn’t from the guava but I don’t know what else to blame it on). The doctor gave me antibiotics and some other stuff to take and I’m feeling a lot better…but still pretty weak. Being sick away from home is awful…but I am on my way to being 100% soon!

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