Yes...it's a real, "live" letter (well - the first paragraph of a 4-pager!) from my "Peace Corps" son, filled with such wonderful details about his first few weeks in Tanzania. As he explains, the "PC" advice is to celebrate the small victories in life -- good advice for us all, huh? So what are the small victories Andrew has to share with us so far?
Victory #1: Completion of his first official week of PC training which he describes mainly as intensive language training and one day of "MATI" (still not sure what that means!) training - Andrew defines that as a day where they get to touch base with other PC volunteers, get more vaccinations (and I thought he already had all his shots before he left the states!), and "doodle while they lectured (us) on important issues such as malaria, evacuation plans...blah, blah, blah." Yep, that's our Andrew!
Victory #2: "Mimi ninajifunza Kiswahili!" (Not sure, but I THINK this means "I can speak Kiswahili" -- don't quote me!). Andrew explains that he's learned more Kiswahili in one week than three years of Russian!
Victory #3: Andrew has a great homestay family - who he will be with in Rudewa until August 20th when he is assigned to his village. His "mama gave (me) a very nice bracelet (kikuku) when (I) arrived and (I) haven't taken it off since." And he tells us that "mama" is a fantastic cook. "Baba" (the father) is helping him a lot with the language, and Abduhli, Andrew's "new" 3 year-old "kaka" (brother) seems very happy to have a "mzungu" living in the house. Andrew explains that "mzungu" simply refers to a white person, literal translation "European" and that he hears it alot when walking around the city - "People here are very excited to see white people and I often hear it ("mzungu") when walking around....but it's not said with ill intent." His host family owns a string of shops along the main road of the city, and his "babu" (grandpa) is the "Bwanakiti wa Kijili" (Village Chairperson) while his uncle owns the school used by the Peace Corps and serves in the government.
Victory #4: Andrew is happy that he has read 2 books of the many he brought along -- World War Z (he now says he is ready for the inevitable zombie invasion - LOL!) and Slaughterhouse V.
While the host family has electricity, internet access is limited to whenever Andrew (and the other volunteers) can get to an internet cafe in Rudewa or to the Peace Corps office - time is limited. When he can, he will be updating his blog about his experiences, so be sure to check it out and see what might be new!
As for me, I'll be waiting anxiously for the next email and/or letter! And, I'll try to remember to keep celebrating the small victories.