Friday, December 24, 2010

Magnificent View of Uluguru

 The Darul Muslameen orphanage sits at the bottom of Mt. Uluguru. The weather is hot but not as hot as Dar Es Salaam. It’s a terrific change from the humidity we just left! The town of Morogoro is quite beautiful. Large trees that must be at least a 100 years old line the streets creating a green foliage tunnel as you drive through the main city route. This orphanage is much nicer than the last one we visited. They have a larger compound as well as a mill and a bakery. Don’t get too excited though as the bakery is really a small room with an oven, that is heated with burning wood the kids chopped with a very dull ax.

Our breakfast this morning was fruit and bread that they boys had prepared last night. Oh, and tea! The tea in Africa is so delicious!  It was great homemade bread too, my grandmother would be proud of their bread making skills! They have located us in the guest quarters and we are very impressed with the accommodations. Today we are working with the kids in a rotating classroom schedule and getting to know their personalities.  We worked with the kids on career planning, English speaking skills, Art, Kiswahili.  For lunch we ate rice with goat meat (pilau) and sliced veggies (kachumbari). The goat was freshly slaughtered by the orphans themselves.  I’m surely not joking, we watched them skin the hair from the goat legs this morning. Another popular food during meals is ugali and mahrage (beans). Ugali is a white substance made from a flour base.  It is often substituted for rice as it is less costly. We like the taste as much as the rice. Today it rained quite a bit and we lost electricity a few different times. A bit later in the day after some more class time we ate dinner.

  When the boys are done eating they are required to wash their dishes. The children are required to do many things most children their age would not do for themselves. One boy- Kondo (picture above), who is 5 years old, takes on quite a lot of responsibility for his age. He dresses himself, gets his own plate of food at meal time, and washes his dishes with no help from the others. These responsibilities seem to take away so much from their childhood innocence. They must grow up so fast. They also seem to be lacking in emotional connection. During prayers a little boy put his arm around one of the volunteers to gain attachment as would do with a parent figure. Tomorrow we plan to climb  Mount Uluguru  in the morning and a soccer match in the afternoon. Could be a muddy mess with all the rain we received today. More on that tomorrow..

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