Leopards at My Door: Peace Corps Tanzania
- Leopards at My Door: Peace Corps Tanzania, 1966-7, Introduction
- First Term
- First Break
- Second Term
- Second Break
- Third Term
- Third Break
- Fourth Term
- Fourth Break
- Fifth Term
- Fifth Break
- Sixth Term
- Looking Back on the Peace Corps Experience
I left school early to get to Loitokitok, Kenya for the start of the Outward Bound Mountain School. It’s a tough course, and usually it’s for policemen and other leader-types. This was the only course for young women that year. Most of the male instructors went to the coast for another type of course. As a temporary instructor, I relayed instructions to my patrol and then kept an eye on them. Of course, I had to keep up with them so my conditioning at Bwiru was important.
It was three weeks of physical training, mental challenges and personal discoveries. In the last week, we climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. (Click here for the full story, Mountain Women: Outward Bound, Kenya.) It was a fabulous experience.
August 28, 1967
On Wednesday, Dave, one of the temporary OBMS instructors, drove Neila and me from the Outward Bound campus to Moshi and dropped us at Neila’s house. Dave was supposed to stay with Carl Halpern, but Carl was not around, so we shuffled beds and he stayed with us.
Right now, I’m staying at the hostel in town for now because yet another person wasn’t home to welcome me into her free digs. Today I’ve been bombing around town, gathering information about the athletics competition and doing errands.
Tomorrow I move to the teacher training college. The athletes stay there and it’s near the stadium. They arrive by train tomorrow. I will be soo glad to move because it is really hot here in town. Mwanza is never like this. Yesterday afternoon, at the peak of the heat, I was plotting a route to my next destination and wondered if I could even make it. The sidewalks were scorching, and the humidity made me so weak my legs felt like lead. I remembered a bank that wasn’t far and made a little detour to cool down in the air-conditioned lobby.
Wednesday, September 6, 1967
Dear Pop, Carol, Mom,
I’m so happy that people’s eyes pop when you mention I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. It really makes me feel that in two years, I really have accomplished something worthwhile.
My girls did not do as well as I had hoped in the national athletics competition. They arrived after the one-month vacation. They were hard to motivate before they left school, and I’m sure they didn’t do any training at home. Other competitors were girls from upper primary schools who’ve been in session for the past two months and practicing hard. Oh, well. The girls did remember something because the Mwanza team came in second anyway, though individuals from the other schools did better than the Bwiru girls.
However, after I heard about the trip the national team had on the way to the East African Games in Kisumu, Kenya, I’m very glad none of my girls were on that trip. The Tanzania team’s private bus kept breaking down. It left Dar es Salaam late Monday and got to Kisumu on Saturday, just in time for the competition. Dar to Nairobi should only be a ten hour trip. The girls spent all but one night in or near the bus, usually in the cold and rain. Needless to say, they didn’t do very well. The great favorites from Rosary SS, our chief rival here in Mwanza, made the team, but they did not do as well as they should have, either. They were pretty arrogant when they competed here, but still didn’t deserve such a bad trip. Still, it would have been an honor for anyone who was actually chosen to compete, so I’m sorry none of our girls made it for that reason. I wonder if Olympics organizers know what goes into getting a team together in some countries.
I fear the enthusiasm among the old staff here at school is flagging. We all like this location, the students and the other teachers. Generally spirits are high, but no one is overactive. Our staff room is lively during breaks. Things get done, or they don’t, as always, and now we just don’t get ulcers over it. Maybe that’s how we should be.
We three, Kathy S., Anita and I, who did almost everything for Sister last term, have decided that this term, she can do her work as headmistress, and we will teach. That’s her job. We have ours. We don’t mention things that need to be done any more because we always ended up doing them! I do mention the things I do want to do, like putting together the teaching timetable. When I did it before, I arranged three free afternoons for myself. Ho ho.
I have traded Form III biology for Form 1 physics-with-chemistry. I’m glad. I’d run out of new things in Form III. Re-teaching something isn’t as fun as new stuff.
I hung my bark cloth on the wall, and it looks cool. Anita and I have all sorts of souvenirs all over the house. With all this exposure, by the time I get home, I’ll be ready to give it all away.
I got a letter from a friend on where to stop and stay in Asia. At this point I am thinking of stopping in Kabul, Afghanistan, and one or two cities in India, Bangkok, Singapore, maybe some others and Fiji. I’m still thinking about it.
One term to go.