After 4 nights staying at the university I arrived at my homestay on Friday! After spending the whole weekend with just them and Emma, who is the other student staying there with me, I have learned so much and felt so integrated in the family. We have a 6 year old sister (Dorothy) and a 4 year old brother (Stephen), and baba (our dad) is the pastor at the church. Dorothy saw all my friendship bracelets I wear and she wanted one, so I made one for her, her friend, Emma, and she wants another one today too. The kids also both went through my whole suitcase asking what different things are, and I showed Dorothy how to use my makeup too. My family speaks really good English, but many of the other host families speak mostly just Swahili. Even Dorothy speaks a little English, and she loves taking me on walks and being with me as my sister. Lushoto is in the mountains, so we have banana trees and lots of greenery in the forest just outside our house. The family also has chickens and 2 pigs!
I’ve had to get used to having a hole in the ground for a bathroom and taking a shower means using a bucket of hot water, but I really like it here. Realizing that this is a new culture and a new way of life really puts things into perspective, and little inconveniences here really made me so aware that life is just different here and it is still a beautiful way to live. I give so much respect for the mamas here since cooking takes several hours since they don’t really have boxed foods or sauces of any kind, so you go to the market to buy veggies and fruit and make a whole meal from scratch every time. Our mama make the best juice from fresh passion fruit, mangos, and avocados. Even that involves lots of chopping an straining and mixing. They also don’t have kitchens, but rather they cook with coals outside. But the thing I absolutely love about this experience is I am learning every moment I am here and people here are so happy and friendly. The lifestyle here works so well, and while it is easy for us to think life is difficult here, it really is just different and they really are much more sustainable and less reliant on imports and machinery here. It’s simple and wonderful. I’ve also really appreciated the limited access to Internet we have had (since I haven’t had it since last week), since it has allowed me to journal and really just embrace my time here.