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Parker in Africa

Home > Parker in Africa > February 25, 2006

Parker in Africa - February 25, 2006

Hello All!

Thanks so much for all your letters. It's good to hear from you, and I'm so sorry I haven't gotten back to so many of you. My email access is extremely limited. Anyways, just wanted to give you some highlights of the last few weeks (or maybe a month?) Goodness, time is flying. Things are definitely getting better here everyday for me, and I'm still very happy to be in Tanzania, despite the many challenges and difficulties. I am not nearly as bored lately, as is seems every day is being more and more filled with various activities and responsibilities. I have also started to make real friends which is such a blessing.

Teaching is such a joy! Before I came here I sent a couple of boxes of donated science materials to the school. Most of the science classes here have been without "practical applications" and it has been great to see the students' excitement when they discover that what I just told them in lecture is true! Probably my favorite thing here at Agape is bringing a class out to use the telescope. About every other night I bring a different class out to use the telescope, and it turns into "ask-madame-hour". They all have so many questions about astronomy, physics, America, and myself that I end up standing around for hours with a circle of students around me asking me about everything from aliens, gravity, food eaten in America, to asking if they can touch my hair. THey hang on to every word that I say-from the very little wisdom that I have, which is quite intimidating. It makes me wish I had all the answers for them!

About once a week I walk into the villages for an adventure of sorts, or just to see something new. Last week I walked up near the gates of Mt. Kili National park and went to eat lunch at on eof the 'posh' tourist lodges. Many of the tourists that come here don't actually see the real TZ, but are driven from the airport to their beautiful hotel, climb the mountain, and drive back to the airport. They rarely taste real African life. Nevertheless, I need to think of some excuse to go and stay in one of those hotels for a night! After lunch that day we (myself and another teacher) were determined to find a certain waterfall. WE followed the direction of a sign only to find that the sing was completely incorrect. We asked some village boys to show us where it was and we walked for about a mile through tiny paths among the houses in the villages until we came to a canyon of sorts. The waterfall was probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. We walked down the steep hill of the canyon to be surrounded by luscious rain forest-hanging vines, big pink flowers,and a beautiful white waterfall.

There is so much beauty in this country, but also so much sadness. Death is everywhere. At least once a week a parent of one of our 400 students dies. Probably half have lost on or both parents. Accidents, malaria, HIV/AIDS, cancer and many other things take lives everyday. It is very difficult for me to hear about so much death. Still no rain here, but hopefully in one more week we will have some. Electricity comes seldom, and I had my small birthday party in the dark. It's really dusty, dry and hot, and we hope the rain comes soon, or things could get very bad. Although, Iimagine once the rain comes for a while we will be hoping for the sun again.

Well, I don't want to put you to sleep. Son there might be a website with these letters and pictures on it. I'll let you know. . .

Much love,