Yet again, we find ourselves behind on our blog updating. So, what have we been up to?
We’ve been inhaling paint fumes. We have finally finished painting the library! It looks pretty darn tootin’ awesome, if I do say so myself. We painted landmarks from around the world around the room. Each landmark has a corresponding star on the world map to represent where it is. It’s been fun watching the kids start to recognize places on the world map, including Tanzania. Many of them had no idea where their own country was in relation to the rest of the world. We learned, though, that nobody actually knows what USA stands for (the USA is referred to as simply ‘America’ in the rest of the world). When the kids went around the room reading the countries, they got to USA and pronounced it like a word–Oosa!
Joost grew a beard. Then he shaved it. I am petitioning for him to grow another.
Joost finally beat my 18 game winning streak. We play a lot of cards here. I held an impressive 18 game Egyptian Rat Screw record until Joost finally ordered me one too many beers and won.
We celebrated Valentine’s Day with Indian food, and, more importantly, clean hair AND clean clothing (a rare, if not unheard of since about day 3, combination)! We decided to save our pennies this year and didn’t exchange gifts–instead, we booked plane tickets to Zanzibar! Thanks to some unexpected financial gifts dedicated to travel, a tax return, and a larger-than-expected final paycheck from Athleta back home, we were able to (just barely) swing a three day trip next door in March! We’ll be spending most of the time underwater SCUBA diving, which is a good thing, since our $25/night African hostel got terrible reviews on Trip Advisor and came with a warning about bed bugs and theft. As much as it pains me to say it… #YOLO!
We finished our final long run before the 1/2 marathon. The first six miles were all uphill, with an elevation gain of just over 800 feet, reaching a max elevation of 3900 feet. The race itself has an elevation gain of over 1000 feet, blah blah running blah blah WHO CARES WE SAW BABOONS! A couple of miles in, we saw what we thought was a large, solid, oddly-shaped, limping dog dart across the road. A few seconds later, we saw another and realized it was a baboon! An entire troop (<–according to Wikipedia, they do not travel in ‘herds,’ as I mistakenly referred to them on Facebook) was running down trees, across the road and into a field. We saw probably 20 or so, but the entire field further out was moving, so I suspect there were many more out there. We were close enough that it was exhilarating and a little bit scary–they are quite large and surprisingly fast! It was absolutely the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on any run in my life, ever. I was so excited and busy jumping up and down that it took me a while to pull my phone out of my Camelbak, but I managed to capture one picture, as you can see for yourself in this high quality, well-shot and labeled-for-your-viewing-convenience iPhone photo.
We’ve also had a large influx of guests from around the world at the lodge, so we’ve spent a fair bit of time showing them around town, hanging out with them and talking to them about the school! We still play with the kids at recess and are enjoying getting to know them and recognize them more every day. Our quiet time is spent reading (as of today, I’ve read 21 novels since landing in Africa–feel free to send new book suggestions!), working on some administration stuff for the foundation and soon, working our way through every single episode of Boy Meets World, which we have just discovered that another volunteer has on DVD.