This blog serves to document my experience in Tanzania. Every day this blog receive a handful of hits, and I hope it serves as a good information source for others looking to find out more about Tanzania.
Reflection on my fellowship September 8, 2007
The MIT Public Service Center requires all fellows to write up a few documents about their experience. I thought the reflection article really was something that I want to remember, and to also share with others. So here it is!
Name: Shirley Fung
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Year: Summer between senior year and first year of my Masters
Fellowship Supervisor: Amos Winter
Partner Organization: Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre Wheelchair Workshop
I really don’t know if an article is enough to describe the experience I had when I lived in Tanzania for a month. I miss it a lot there, the surroundings, the people. I made many friends that I’ll never forget. I have never been treated with such great hospitality. Even though many people there don’t have all the material goods we have here in the States, everyone was very happy, and was so peaceful.
I lived in Moshi, which was a small town, mainly dependent on the tourism industry since it is conveniently located at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The town was small, and almost everyone knew each other. Everywhere I go, people would say hi, and asked how I was (and the conversation would go on for a few minutes until I have to tell them that I’ve got to go to work). Not sure if it’s because I am a foreigner, but they always enjoyed meeting me. In contrast, people here would normally avoid tourists. Everyone there knew their neighbors, but whereas the States, you can easily live somewhere for years, and never greet your neighbors (and for some reason the American society thinks this is okay). Not sure why Americans live in a place where they fear their neighbors, when this is far from true in Tanzania. From that point on, I have changed my way of how to treat people around me.
I had a big culture shock not when I arrived in Tanzania, maybe it reminded me of my visit to the rural areas of Beijing when I was younger. The town reminded me of what it was like to live in Hong Kong when I was younger. It was nostalgic, being reminded of what my childhood, really. But when I got back to the States, I was shocked by how much unnecessary stuff we have. Grocery stores, large office supply stores like Staples… We have rows and rows of all different kinds of the same stuff. A stationary store I visited in Moshi was probably the size of a small bakery.
When I did a small market research in Moshi, I had forgotten to bring gifts for those who participated. As I was giving out the survey, I also gave out pens so that they can fill them out. I dug in my backpack, and I was able to find close to 20 pens to give away to everyone! Honestly, I take for granted how many different kinds of pens I have, when I probably only need maybe 4-5 pens. We just have such an abundance of things that we don’t need. Then the question is, what’s the harm of all this? To be honest, I enjoy having the choice of 10 different kinds of paper towels at the store, or 100 different kinds of gel pens in 200 colors, or notebooks that come in hundreds of kinds and types. It’s quite amazing that developed countries have advanced so much over the years. I have to say it’s quite an achievement. But looking back at the fact that I was able to live comfortably without most of the unnecessary goods, I just think that people should really be more giving, and realize that not everyone are so privileged to have all that we got here. Give whenever we can!!!
Great news! August 21, 2007
I’ll be continuing to work with the WDDC class this year More on this later…
As to why I haven’t been blogging much? I have been too busy since I got back. I need to get back into the habit of blogging now.
Still sick with a cold, but! August 17, 2007
But, but but! I am a happy gal, and that’s all that matters!
Well today as a birthday lunch, the Lemelson-MIT Program took the staff out for lunch! We went to Sandrine’s in Harvard Square, and it was a delight! Highly recommended!
It’s so humid right now, but I think I am going to cook, it’s not gonna be fun!
Birthday Princess! August 14, 2007
Hehe. I am 21+1 today
Don’t know what the plans are, but it sure feels good on my birthday! I love how Facebook tells everyone that it’s my birthday, I get a lot of Happy Birthday’s on my wall
My wonderful friend Alicia called me today too. I was so happy to hear from her. I have to visit her in Houston sometime, she tells me there is a nice beach down there!
This video totally made my day!
I really like going to http://funnyanimalvideos.com every now and then to check out some funny stuff, and came across this one last night when I was just surfing the web.
It’s my video of the moment!
Ahhh Still Jetlagged~ August 2, 2007
Well good news! The luggage is back in Boston and is due to be delivered soon
I came home around 7pm today, and went straight to bed. I dragged myself out of bed around 11pm so that I could go to CVS to buy some new gauze pads! Oh, and I woke up to take my antibiotic. My infection looks much better today! Andrew got mad for me waking him up since he wanted to sleep all night… Did some cleaning of the infection, and had a great hot shower.
I was hungry, and since Andrew woke up, I cooked our very late dinner I made cous cous and a tofu dish! It was yummy and glad to be eating tofu again.
And yes, I missed my chance tonight to catch up on my blog. I still need to blog about my last days in Tanzania!
Why Shirley still hasn’t caught up on her posts… August 1, 2007
Well… I am kind of overwhelmed right now…
One of my luggage is still missing I want it so bad because it has all my souvenirs in it!!! Waaaahhhhh I want my luggage. American Airlines was kind enough to call me last night to let me know that they are still looking for it though, so it was very nice of them. I hope it shows up soon. I was hoping that it would make the flights yesterday but.. nope. still not around.
Also I got a cyst, ahh it’s gross! I was treated for it at MIT Medical and they told me that they need to cut it open! So I took the percocet they gave me, and then went back for the surgery. The surgeon told me that it wasn’t ready. So I worked for a few hours at lab, and came home and passsssed out. That was around 7pm… I slept all night. Needless to say, I feel like I wasted my time sleeping and not catching up on my blog!
Anyways, I hope I get my luggage back soon.
I am a bit behind… currently at London Heathrow July 30, 2007
I was informed that my luggage didn’t make it on the flight with me to London from Nairobi…. argh, another day of bad luck at the airport.
I did a lot of fun things during the last week that I was in Tanzania! I’ll be catching up on those posts when I get back home!