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Things to Cherish

I am on my fifth week of living and working in Dodoma. I am no longer in the phase where everything is new and exciting and have fallen into the routine that this is my everyday life. That being said, I am writing this after a 5 am wake up call as I watch the sunrise before leaving for a village. Life is grand. Although I am always aware how blessed I am, sometimes it takes a few purposeful reminders. 

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Sunset walks around the town

Working out is not typical in Tanzania since the majority of people's lives are strenuous enough. I however am not tending fields or herding cattle so the cultural taboo against women running for exercise has been majorly frustrating. To combat the lethargic shadow that keeps trying to swallow me up, I've been practicing yoga daily and going on walks from the golden hour between 6 and 7. The light and air transforms within the hour from from dusty and hot to a calm with a refreshing breeze. People are walking home from work and are therefore extremely friendly. It's a magic time that makes me remember how grateful I am no matter how difficult the day had been.

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Hot water with choya flowers and lime

My house doesn't have a water filter so hydration is sometimes difficult. Luckily, I tucked a lifestraw nalgene into my duffle so I can resist the urge to buy stacks on stacks of single use plastic water bottles. If I don't feel like sucking water through the miniature filter, I set a pot over the lit stove and boil up a nice and clean brew. There is only one kind of store bought tea here and it's not necessarily my favorite so I've been getting creative with infused water. My most recent favorite combination is choya and lime. Choya is a hibiscus flower sold at the market that has a sweet floral taste, along with countless health benefits. It turns the water bright pink, so that's obviously a bonus too. Squeeze a little lime to add a citrus flavor and it combines to make the perfect hot summer beverage, even thought its technically winter here.

My bed

Every night, I crawl into my bed with my headlamp on and wrap my mosquito net around all of its four corners to create a beautiful white canopy. What kid didn't grow up wanting a canopy bed? I feel like a damn princess. Then, I open up my journal and reflect back on the day that so quickly passed. There is something so serene about writing in a leather journal under the glow of my headlamp while I'm wrapped up with blankets to protect me from the night's chill. Some nights I fall asleep with my headlamp on because I'm so exhausted from the day's excursions in villages and other nights I stay up well passed midnight reading a gripping book. Either way, my bed is a comfort that I am so happy to come home to each night. 

 

Julia Bridgforth