This morning I got to spend some time with Esta, one of my favourite Tanzanians ever! She has been the secretary at CAMS, where I used to teach for the last 25 years. If you want to know anything about anything to do with the school, she always has and always will be the person to ask!
Unbelievably we've been living here for 8 months already and for one reason or another, commitments and other stuff on both sides, it's taken this long for us to get together and 'catch up'. It was a privilege I never imagined would be possible when I left Dodoma back in 2001 and I'm still so grateful that the way things have worked out, I'm actually getting to spend time with good Dodoma friends all over again!
While we used to have a working relationship, Esta also used to come to my house once a week and help me with my Swahili, while I helped her with her English. To be honest though most week's we would just dissolve into a fit of giggles over pronunciations and expressions that one or other of us couldn't quite get right. In the 12 years since I left, we have tried to keep in touch via snail mail and email ... although chatting today it seems that the majority of my snail mail letters never actually got through.
But nothing beats having a face-to-face friendship! We had the chance to share news of our families. Her youngest son, who was the first baby I ever carried strapped on my back with a kanga, is now in Form 3 and taller than me! I was able to show her photo's of what I've been up to and also via the wonders of the internet (more specifically Facebook) I was able to share with her photo's and news of some of the other teachers who used to work at CAMS when I was here before.
Moving somewhere new, there is always so much to learn, people to meet, friendships to build. One big plus for us as a family of MAF sending us to Dodoma, Tanzania was that I'd already lived here which made certain aspects of our transitions SO much easier than it could have been. Another big bonus, more specifically for me, has been being able to re-establish friendships with people I never thought I'd have the chance to see again this side of heaven and it feels wonderful!