Sunday, March 9, 2014

Things you don't hear in Grand Rapids, Michigan...

This week I had a few laughs at things I heard, and said to Marc, "We would've never heard that in Grand Rapids!". So I thought I'd make a blog post out of it - some serious, some funny, some just different, but all things we likely would not have heard back in GR:

* Muslim calls to prayer 5 times a day over a speaker system

* a cow mooing while listening to the sermon at church

*  "Mama Isaac! Mama Isaac! Kucheza! Kucheza!" being yelled by the neighbor kids from the tree they climb so they can see into our yard. This happens daily. "Kucheza"  means "to play". They're asking when they get to come and play. My response is always, "Jumatatu, saa kumi na moja" which means, "Monday at 5 O'clock"

* "Shikamuu" which is the greeting you say to your elders. My house worker (who is 23) says this to me first thing when she sees me each morning. My response is "Marahaba". My kids must say Shikamuu to their elders as well. Greetings here are very, very important. You can spend several minutes greeting eachother before you get to anything else. Even Geneva is expected to "Shikamuu" her elders, even though she cannot talk. They way she does this is by taking her hand and placing it on the top of the elders head. She has learned this and will do it when we tell her, "Geneva, Shikamuu". This makes random people we meet SO happy that we've taught this important greeting to our baby.

* this announcement at the primary chapel:
          Principal: "If you see the monkey, should you chase it?"
          Students: "NO!"
          Principal: "Should you try to pet it?"
          Students: "NO!"
          Principal: "Should you try to corner it?
          Students: "NO!"

* Ceiling fans on constantly in the middle of March. Cause it's hot & humid.

* "Hey Mr. Pickel!" Marc hears this at school. There is another family here who we spend a lot of time with, the Pickels. They also have three children, a boy, a girl (in Isaacs class) and a toddler around Geneva's age. Our families get confused by students quite often. One of Marc's students actually told him that "all the white teachers look alike to me". Ha!

* Lizards that sound like birds at night. I don't know which kind of lizard it is, but we've been told that that's what we're hearing at night, not birds!

* "Mrs. Driesenga". I hear this everyday, and until we moved to Tanzania, I'm not sure anyone called me that! I was just "Gretchen" back in GR. Here, though, I'm in a different role. I'm a coach and a teacher at school, and therefore I am referred to as "Mrs. Driesenga". It's taking some getting used to, actually.

That's all I can think of for now...hope you can 'hear' a bit more of what life looks like for us here in Africa!