Tuesday, July 29, 2008


so im feeling a little sick today. yuck!
another bus ride yesterday. Deus had someones kid on his lap and it threw up chai biscuits on us. overall a fun busride though as most of the time i stuck my head out the window and stared at people and got yelled at and had little kids run after me a lot Deus said some little kids even told me they wanted my underwear...hmm...
at any rate sticking my head out there on all the dirt roads has made my hair so thick with dirt i can no longer run my fingers nor comb through it. not that i think i even packed a comb.

I stayed last night at Deus's aunts home which has no lights and a dirt floor. I shared a bed with one of his cousins, a 20 something girl who, in the middle of the night, suddenly grabbed me and started cuddeling before becoming coherent enough to realize what was happening and return to her side of the bed. We did however continue to share a pillow for most of the night.
today we go to GOMBE. expensive as hell but i'm stoked. its the only place to see chimps in Tanzania and for those who don't know, the place where Jane Goodall did all her research.
We are in the town of Kigoma which is where Deus grew up and we will be here a week. I'm trying to think of other news but its hard because I really need to pee..
My drug and alcohol project is changing but of course I never sit down and work on it, frustrating!
my schedule is quite confusing. i'm hopefully meeting some kids from the U.S. soon and hopefully not the college bound snooty type. oh snoots.
my swahili is coming along better now (although i was reminded of how limited it was yesterday as Deus's aunt and cousins speak no english and i was left alone at their house) and my smoking has ceased. karlos emailed me which was pretty cool too and my parents sent me some sunflower seeds and time magazines in the mail.... i carried the magazines around for like three days without end, hardly looking up. i'll have to get a subscription when i get back. I'm trying to decide where i want to live when im back and perhaps for a time i'll have to live with my parents but i'd like to do some traveling in the U.S. or get a place. anyone interested?

Friday, July 25, 2008


the ugly trash eating bird, really very terrifying when they fly around above your head

a much prettier bird, i think my aunt jane would love tanzania, so many amazing birds
something i was attracted to naturally, why is there always hanging barbies in third world countries i go to?
mama and baby baboon, baboons are really quite characters and their young get a lift by hanging onto the moms rump

bibi sleeping outside in the afternoon

me meandering about, this is between the houses where all the cooking is done and most of the day is spent
from the left deus's aunt elizabeth, me elizabeths daughter Dia, Simon, Kosovo (nickname) his cousins, then in the first row from the left his cousin also elizabeth, and two people who i dont know but happened to be around that day, the girl in the red also has one child named stanley, very cute
my behind down at the shoreline right before we ran into the theif
notice the elephant?! my first "safari" as americans know the word
me and Dia! she quite likes me but maybe because I am a strange muzungu and also a pushover

certainly theres lots more but for now they'll sit on my photobucket and rot. some bad events lately, a fire next door to Deus's bibis broke out while we were having ugali for lunch, everyone in town ran over and a man emerged bleeding from the head who proceeded to scream at and taunt the firemen for arriving so late, the firemen then sprayed him down with the hose, getting quite a few other people wet and starting a little stampede i got caught up in. who thought that was the kind of stampede i'd see in afrika.. also Deus's aunt is still sick and still pregnant, all yesterday she threw up and cried and eventually we all went to the hospital but i couldn't pick up what was wrong because my swahili isn't good enough but it isn't just malaria anymore. i met with my swahili teacher today and i like her so much, compared to the first guy i met with who's every other word was "isn't it?" like "Deus nows where my office is, isn't it?" or every word he wrote on the board, "now this is mambo isn't it? and it means hello isn't it?" and id just go mhmm.. and he'd say "no say yes" so im going yes yes yes yesyeyssyes getting absolutely stressed out and left after one day with quite a bit of guilt as he told me he fasted the day before so that he might help me through god to help others in america know swahili. dear god. tomorrow we are starting our safari to kigome and GOMBE!!! how exciting, although expensive, but it means i get to get up close and personal with chimps. and its a good break from the stress of decieding how i want to do my volunteer work!!! what will be effective, what am i comfortable with, what do i really want to do???? god.
oh and a light bulb moment i had the other day... im not staying for six months.. but FOUR. i never actually sat down and counted, ha! somehow the knowledge improved my mood greatly and i have been enjoying my trip lately. i feel certain at the moment that i will remain throughout the whole time although i still hope smitty visits me
enough for now

Monday, July 21, 2008

dancing & driving, cow legs & crab eyes

ah where to start. quite a bit going on. i seem to have untangled myself from the grasps of alcohol... finally. quite simply i dont like drinking one bit at the moment. unfortunately its customary to buy your guest a beer here. ive been turning that down and drinking a lot of fanta. also ive been driving peoples cars... yep me a designated driver. who would have thunk it.
i went to the club as well which i have been trying to avoid. thankfully for me there was other muzungus there so i didnt feel quite so silly. I had a big row with Deus that night though because we were staying in a hotel with one little tiny bed and he was really drunk and I said I wasn't comfortable sleeping in it together and I was going to sleep on the floor and he pouted and pouted about what kind of guy I took him as and how it wasnt acceptable that his guest sleep on the floor blah blah blah making a big deal saying he was going to leave. it ended with me getting the bed to myself and him being to drunk to realize i laid out all the couch cushion like a bed so sleeping on this little maybe 4 foot long wooden couch without any cushions on it. another reason not to like drinking.. straight dumb.
the next me and bibi and mamandogo went to the market... and i decided to never eat a hamburger again. we stopped in the butcher shop and among all the other horrendous things like blood splattered walls, a huge tree stump covered in curdling fat and bone, rotting skin hanging from the door and huge slabs of fatty meat on hooks covered in flies with a man wielding a huge machete on them was......... four cow legs. absolutely horrifying. from the knee down, sitting all neatly placed so that the bone and guts were exposed to me, slowly turning gray and rotting. it would have made a great picture.. but it also made me want to vomit.
we left there though and got really good pineapple juice, freshly squeezed while bibi yelled at the waitress about something. shes always cranky.
then that night me and deus, agnes, shebanon and kay (his friends) went to this beach not far from here that was absolutely gorgeous. its got huge rock formations in every direction with little islands around the area. you can climb all over and theres amazing lizards and birds and mammals. i saw 8 pimbe which are these small little creatures, looking kind of like rabbits or something and that move very quickly. also some of the more standard lizards, which include ones about a foot long with their front half being bright red and their back being bright purple and ones I'd never seen before that were at least two feet long and looked like very large iguanas that upon seeing me hopped into the water and swam off, Deus said they were like alligators but smaller, although i forget the name, something with an "m". I also found a dead lizard and lots of dead crabs one of whoms eyeballs i took because it was just really cool. I think all of Deus's friends thought I was weird, they sat around drinking and I was off climbing up and down rocks in the distance.
today i spent the morning in the hospital as Deus's aunt has malaria and had to go for medicine. I'm pretty concerned as she's very very pregnant and ive read bad malaria can cause miscarriage. and then on the walk here I was proposed to, I believe, by a man about the age of 40.. yuck.
thats it folks.

Friday, July 18, 2008

oh the phone.

i hate Deus's phone. it never leaves his ear. oddly it is not rude here to talk on your phone during a meeting, performance, conversation, while im asleep in bed next to you or throughout an entire meal. its worse than my mom, i never get a word in. ive taken up wearing ear plugs!
on another note yesterday was good. we visited two schools and i had to talk in front of several hundred students which was hard becuase everyone else does their speeches in Swahili so i dont really know what were talking about or what appropriate to say, normally just 'my name is stephanie, im from CA, America. I just finished secondary school so this is my first time travelling. I have been in Tanzania for two weeks. I am a new Roots and Shoots volunteer. thank you for inviting me to your school' needless to say it didnt really excite anyone but at least I didnt get scared about speaking publicly.
none of my mail from my parents has come. sort of worrisome. neither has an email from Jody who i really need to help me with the drug and alcohal program I'm hoping to start soon.
the program will look like this: we are going to find 20 kids, who are out of school and work and using drugs and offer them chances to do work or school or learn skills and ways to keep them busy and hold meetings with all of them, basically counseling where I can pull out what knowledge I have about drug and alcohal counseling (bargaining, triggers, etc). I dont know how well it will work and I need some help. especially in understanding the drug problem and culture here.....
we went to this theater group thing yesterday, it was taking place in a dusty dirt floored luthern church and all these people would put on two person dramas about AIDS or discrimmination abuse etc, very dramatic, lots of fake crying but i thought it was good. it helped that this woman sat by my side and translated for me. I thought it was a cool group though. the kids were really good actors from what i could tell. i got some pictures with them and lots of videos. some of them rapped or sang after and these two guys even did a sparring match in karate and backflips and stuff... pretty cool. i got a video of most of that.
other than that ive been a little homesick, having very crazy dreams and according to several people sleep talking quite a bit which is new.. and annoying. but what can you do

Monday, July 14, 2008

the long safari

so the trip that was to take 14 hours... took 31. the bus ride was quite crazy, some hightlights: the back of the bus went so fast over the big bumps and holes in the road that something happened with our back axle and we had to stop and repair it, actually we bumped so much i almost sporadically started crying, i was at the second to last row and every few seconds the bus driver would go over a bump and everyone would fly into the air and then come down really hard on their butt and then do it over and over again, my tailbone hurt very bad and when i finally got to stand up my butt felt like it was reinflating, then there was a big fight over a girl and these two men pushing each other around into everyone and a old woman hitting someone on the head with a water bottle, there was lots of crying babies and one very fat man directly behind me who was quite ill and passed out and drolled allover his face and neck and was very sweaty and pee'd his pants and had a fever and it took about 20 minutes to wake him up. then there was apparently a new law that went into effect the day before we traveled that buses couldn't run after midnight so we had to sleep in the bus in a very small town. African Texas Chainsaw Massacre style. there was one creepy Arab guy who kept staring at me at dinner and walking past slowly. then i had a very genious idea to put the hood of my coat on the head of the seat in front of me and my arms in the sleeves so it created a little craddle for my head, this worked quite well except i was asleep while we went over lots of bumps and consequently i woke up with really bad rug burn on my forehead. i was also extremely dirty and when i got home last night the water wasn't working nor was the power. we borrowed some water from the neighbors and used the keronsine stove to heat the water though so i took a very nice shower. im reading the biography of Jane Goodall now. I didn't know she was British. I hope Zach hasn't moved because I adressed his letter yesterday. Not much else is new. I'm getting really frustrated with myself for not learning Swahili very fast. I can listen to conversations and understand what is being said sometimes though, but I don't speak enough to be good at all. It's a bad situation because Deus can speak English to me and Swahili for me but I'm hoping he will speak more Swahili to me soon. Plus after these next few weeks I won't be traveling so much and can get a tutor. I ate five of bibis cakes for breakfast. I need to learn how to say, thanks thats enough, very soon. Did I mention all the wild animals I've seen? lion, hippos, zebras, wilderbeast (which Deus cannot say), birds, monkeys, baboons, and elephants. oh and giraffee! i got a good video of the baboons. the babies are very funny, they sit on top of the moms bum with their arms wrapped around the base of her tail and get a ride. Also I talked to a theif. A really crude man. He grabbed my arm outside the hotel I was at while Deus was inside and I was out fetching dinner and he kept talking to me and when I said I was going after he started asking about visiting me in Musoma and California he started saying pretty awful stuff. I know how to say piss off in Swahili but for some reason didn't use it. I am pretty happy that I haven't taken many pictures for some reason.. although I do catch myself saying God that would make an awesome photo in my head a lot. I'm smoking cigarettes which is frustrating. Also I'm getting really mad at Deus because he's always telling me I can't quit. and I'm just like, SHUT UP. plus he has this bad habit of coming in and trying to start a long conversation with me as I'm lying down to sleep and of staring at me and not saying anything which just bugs me for some reason. today I am getting a work permit and have to pay the fees. I need to go to the bank now. I'm spending too much money, but just because we have been traveling mainly. more later probably

Friday, July 11, 2008

of mosquitoes and men

i dont think thats spelled correctly is it?^^
not too much is new. i have 33 mosquito bites right now. i circled them all with a purple pen so that i look down right sickly. we are in Dar Es Salaam right now and at 11 we are taking a bus to the beach to spend the day. then tomorrow we will wake up early and start a two day bus ride back to musoma. i cant say im looking forward to it. we have to go around the big national parks that lie directly in our path (so i dont have to pay the fees) so it will take some time. ive been having a lot of really crazy dreams and Deus tells me I talk a lot in my sleep. I'm eating too much food here, theres lots of pastries and sweets. I had four donughts yesterday, although they are different from the ones at home. Me and Deus were talking about what kind of project would be good for me to start and I am thinking I will maybe do drug and alcohal counseling because its something I know well and can get resources for and that there isnt a program for yet. I'm excited about it. Alot of the other projects like bushmeat or recycling or something I would have been really excited to do when I was like 12 but for some reason am not excited by at all anymore. As soon as I get back to Musoma and find my envelopes I'm going to mail some letters... okay actually I think just one to Zach but everyone should email me. I had a dream that I came back to the U.S. and everyone got Tonitas tatoos and tatoos of watchs that were always pointing to burrito time. If anyone takes this idea and makes it a reality please do and then send me a picture. You know what I've decided I like about Africa.. that everyone looks like they got dressed at the bins at goodwill. I don't think I'd like Europe, from what I saw of the Netherlands, everyone has skinny jeans and well matched outfits, considering my wardrobe is rather hodge podge I fit in pretty well here, except for the whole being blatantly whiter than everyone but the albinoes part. I think im doing a project to help albinoes too, people think they are lucky here so they kill them and take their body parts. Its pretty awful.
Deus has been talking about me getting a phone lately but I'm not sure I want. Its kind of nice to not have some things, like phones and (most of the time) mirrors. plus who would i talk to?
i hope everyone in CA is doing something awesome.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


the past few days i havent been feeling that good. i met some students from this high tech self directed high school in san diego. the kind bill gates wants to impliment across amerika. i was really jealous of their school. its kind of like unschooling but with more rescources...which of course i would have loved. i think they all looked down on and me and felt i was stupid. i really wanted to come home the last few days and then realized i have nothing to come home to so i made up a little story in my head about what my life will look like when i get back that is completely unrealistic and im happy again.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

culture differences

some things here are very different...
a few days ago we went to the market by the lake shore and all of the sudden an angry crowd formed around a man, he hopped into the lake and started shouting back at everyone, someone hopped up on a boat near him with a big rock aimed at his head. he escaped by swimming to another shore further away. Deus said he was a theif that stole lumber and if they'd caught him they would have beat and maybe killed him. We were actually filming something at the time so Deus got the incident on video. I asked him what the man was saying and he said "please don't kill me ... if you're going to kill me please just do it now, get it over with"
i was glad he got away.
also here it is not rude (at least not that rude) to run around calling me a white person. the word for white person is muzungu (moo-zoo-n-goo) and everywhere i walk, especially in more rural areas children yell at me, muzungu, muzungu and wave. one little girl was walking past and she stopped right behind me and stared for a very long time. eventually i turned around and pretended i was taking her picture and she left. yesterday there was a little girl not even two years old I'd think with a cute little beanie saying muzungu in the cutest little baby voice ever. I almost melted. I don't know why but I find the term really funny so I walk around laughing whenever I hear it. I think because I don't expect to get so much attention for my skin color.For now its funny but it might get old..
also I noticed that gender here dictates a lot of what you do. the woman cook all the food and yet they sit outside on the ground to eat while the men eat inside. I asked Deus why they eat seperate and since sometimes what is he says is a bit blunt do to translation differences he answered "tradition.. and it makes the men feel powerful". He is interested in doing womens groups and yet he told me he slapped his ex-girlfriend when she came to visit so hard her nose bled. I don't think he sees any irony in this.
Another note on children, some of the smaller children are afraid of me because they aren't used to white people. At Deus's bibis house there is a small boy named Stan who everyone thinks is funny to set on my lap because he cries so much. I think maybe another month and he will come around. Also when we took the bus I noticed people just pass their children around with ease. The boy next to me puking into a bag was sitting on the lap of a middle aged man he didn't know the whole time. The steps into the bus are steep and anyone near them would grab all the little kids on their way up and give them a boost. People passed off babies when they needed their hands to get their tickets out of their purse. I think trust in Tanzania is a bigger issue though. Even if you don't know someone you can tell them you'll pay them tomorrow and they are okay with that. Last night we went to the bar and I had to pay in US dollars, they said, okay just come back tomorrow and trade us for shillings. Its very different than in the US. I'm not sure if being trusting is such a good thing or if it makes you a fool but it seems to be a part of what got me here.

Friday, July 4, 2008

i knew there was a catch

hate is a strong word, but darlin so is love
who sings those words

noone reads thsi huh?

how to contact me

by mail:

stephanie riley
97 Mukendo Road
P.O. Box 989
Musoma - Tanzania 00255
East Africa

and by email: (im having trouble with my local email so i made a gmail)
i would prefer to get emails honestly, postage is very expensive, but I don't have a lot of my friends emails so send them to me.
also let me know what is going on in Amerika, I'm too curious

i forgot

if anyone from skull collector reads this...
i dont know if you remember but deus went to one of your concerts in the cellar. he came back and told his family/friends about it and he says noone believes him because here even popular music artists cant find or afford instruments for a whole band so noone believes a bunch of kids had all their instruments. they think he made it up.
something to appreciate

Thursday, July 3, 2008

long day

today i spent 13 hours on various buses. for most of it i had a grown man more or less sitting in my lap, with a young boy puking into a bag in the seat next to me, a lady fainting behind me and people so stuffed they are standing on the seats. i had to pay the muzungu price to go through some of the national parks, even though we were just passing through quickly on the bus, so what cost everyone else on the bus 3 dollars cost me 120. the price of being american. i did see a lioness and hippos and a lot alot of zebras though. i also got to take my second shower, another bucket shower but still very nice. I am in Arusha now, me and Deus are staying here for a few days to meet with some students from CA, exciting. I have too many mosquito bites and I am always itchy, otherwise good.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

not much to come

keeping a blog is too much work through internet cafe. im trying to get used to the food here. yesterday i pulled the heads off little fishs and ate beef. i refused to eat the fishs. i gutted a big one too. all very gross. its okay though, im trying. lots of ugali and bananas. id say im dirtier than karlos now. showers involve buckets of water too.
i hope everyone is well. i had a dream i came home to visit last night.
also im hopping all the buchon inside jokes wash off me soon. there is a guy wearing a dale earnhartt jr. shirt.... i keep laughing at him. also lots of knux in afrika. ill try and send people mail soon but stamps are 800 tsh, which is like almost a dollar.