May Day in Madibira + Sarah is Awesome

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I am running with my hands stretched out in front of me, the way I always do when I am trying to catch something: a ball, a Frisbee, and, today, a chicken. I am in the lead, just behind the weaving chicken. It runs into some tall grasses –I’m thinking it looks thorny in there—and a Tanzania woman dives at the chicken from behind me. She is laying there with a struggling chicken in her grasp. The chase is over. And we don’t get to eat chicken for dinner tonight.
May 1 is worker’s day in Tanzania so there were festivities to participate in. We are currently in Madibira, Tanzania. You probably won’t find it on a map. It’s more than three hours from a paved road, but you can get almost anything here except bread. And running water and electricity. We are visiting our good friend Sarah, who is coming down the homestretch of her service in the Peace Corps. She tells us that Madibira is a rich village and an oasis. What makes them rich is their rice scheme that produces rice to be shipped all over the country. What makes them an oasis is the fact that you drive for hours on a dirt road, seeing hardly anything, and then there’s a bustling little town. I find myself thinking it’s the kind of town I’d like to live in in the U.S. There are little restaurants, local women running shops and sewing clothes on the street corner (I’m having a dress made right now!). Everywhere we go Sarah stops to talk to all the people she knows around town.
Today we are celebrating with the teachers from the area. We begin with a weird kind of meeting that is all in Swahili. Then we get to eat and drink soda. Then the festivities begin. First is the men’s 100meter race, which Sarah’s teacher friends force Alex to enter. He runs barefoot across the dusty soccer field and wins by a hair! They all love him now. Then is the women’s 100meter race which, despite my high school track experience, I graciously sit out of. I have to save my energy for what’s next: the chicken chase. Alex is in the men’s chicken chase and doesn’t catch the chicken, and Sarah and I fail in the women’s group. Darn! Next is men’s tug of war, which Alex’s team wins. Everyone loves him even more! Then Sarah and I get on the losing team for women’s tug of war. Darn! Now come the real sporting events. Women’s net ball brings a crowd that seems big enough to be the whole town. Everyone forms a square around the court and we watch the intense game for about 45 minutes. Then is the grand finale: soccer. East Africans (I can’t speak for the rest of Africa) love soccer! The crowd moves to the soccer field. The game is not as intense as net ball, so we end up playing with some cute little kids. At this point in the day, many of them are ignoring the main event to watch the white people. We sneak away at half time and conclude our holiday with a spaghetti dinner at Sarah’s house. For the next couple of days we will go to Sarah’s school, where she is a chemistry teacher. Then (stay tuned) we will attend a Tanzanian wedding on Saturday!

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One response »

  1. I love reading about all your adventures…and honestly who wouldn’t love Alex!!! Whether or not he catches a chicken, he is lovable…after all he’s already caught you or did you catch him…I can’t remember. Well, whoever caught who I’m thrilled!!!

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