Life talks, mountain hikes, and alligator pears: ‘tis the season – 21 Nov 2017

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I wrote a letter to a few friends today and realized that it’s getting to be the holiday season, though it doesn’t feel like it here in hot and sweaty Dar es Salaam. But while the weather won’t bring the sentiments of the season, time with my close friends/Peace Corps family certainly will.

I’ll spend Thanksgiving on Zanzibar with the few friends from my training class who remain in country. Then I’ll spend Christmas with friends from my adopted training class here in Dar – a cozy couple of days filled with delicious meals, baking, movie marathons, peppermint patty shots, dance parties, and lots of laughs. Together with three of those friends, I’ll then go to welcome the New Year in Madagascar!

In my letter, I wrote a few things I’m thankful for. I think I’ll continue that list here, just for a bit…
-Large and solid glass windows
-Hot chocolate
-The sound and sight of beach grasses waving in the wind
-Incense
-Black on white
-White on black
-Thimbles of strong street coffee with a bite of kashata
-Inspiration
-Hula hoops
– The ingenuity of airplanes
-“Howl”
-The stars when it’s time for the moon to take a step back
-The moon when it’s time for it to shine greater than the stars
-Quiet and solitary Sundays
-Creative liberties
-Rain and sun
-The inside and the outside
-The deepening of friendships
-Music
-Feeling
-Ubuntu
-The flight of birds
and
-Alligator pears – aka avocados!

…The alligator pears are what started this all… I wrote the letter mentioned above on a postcard with the painting Alligator Pears in a Basket by Georgia O’Keeffe on it. The painting looks more like a couple of blueberries encircled by a black ribbon to me. But I know how Ms. O’Keeffe loved to paint flowers and they actually look like vaginas, so I can’t say I’m surprised, and will simply change the focus of my imagination to humor her. (And then will let it run wild again to see the blueberries…)

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Anyway, how about some pictures of my own! I recently traveled for about one week to do four site visits up North – beautiful, expansive country that I had the privilege of seeing from way up high in the Pare Mountains. I was able to follow up on project progress after the bees and chickens training conducted back in August, attend an HIV/AIDS education event at a secondary school (118 students attended!), meet some awesome teachers and Counterparts of Volunteers, hike hike hike, and have some excellent discussions about life as a PCV – the decisions we make, the priorities we set, the strategies we use, the challenges and successes we have…

Here are a few pictures from my adventure:

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