my new name

“Namuudu” is the name that my host family gave me last week.  It’s from the clan that they come from (Enchima – the monkey clan).  I’m doing well.  My host family is wonderful.  6 brothers and sisters, but they all just left for boarding school, so only my mom and dad are home now.  Last night, Daddy brought home a fried fish.  It was whole: eyes, fins, spikes, scales, everything – just fried.  it. was. disgusting..   but i ate it.

I was surprised at the amount of tv that’s watched here – mostly really really awful soaps.  The other popular passtime is watching Nigerian movies.  They are, by far, the trashiest stories I’ve ever watched.  It’s painful:  The acting.  The plot.  The technique.  Everything.  In the last one I caught a few minutes of, a brother got his sister pregnant, then wanted to marry her.  She wanted an abortion, but then they found out they weren’t real brother/sister.  I dare you to rent one and watch it. 

The walk home is about 45 minutes from campus.  On average, I hear “Mzungu” shouted at me about 20-25 times. Some kids even run up to me and whoever I’m walking with and basically tackle us, hug us, shake hands, anything.

 I have bedbugs.  I think they’re from the sheets I’ve used at the host home.  I’m hoping they’ll go away if I change the sheets – they’re red bumps that don’t itch all over my body.  It’s not too bad, though, I don’t have enough to where it’s completely noticable – there were some on my face, but they’ve started to go away.

Life other than that is good.  It’s been just about a month since I’ve been here!  I joined the football team here, so I’m now an official UCU footballer (soccer player).  Our first match is this Friday –  I can’t wait.  I’m becoming more settled at the University, however, I definately miss:

throwing dirty clothes in a machine and pushing a button.

showers with warm water.

good salads & fresh veggies.

ice in my water.

electricity 24-7.

wearing shorts and a tank

Turkey Hill chocolate peanut butter swirl ice cream.

flushable toilets.

real coffee.


I love, however, living in this culture.  It makes it real and it makes it worth it – not having everything I’m used to.  Nothing makes you appreciate life as you know it like having it stripped away.  Everything is so raw and basic here that it’s almost refreshing.  (I don’t always feel like that – especially on midnight runs to the bathroom fighting with the cockroaches for my spot)  But I digress..

Thoughts/Comments?  (Just so you know, I love getting the mail and comments, it’s just really hard to respond right away if at all.  So thank you for thinking of me, I appreciate it all.)



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11 responses to “my new name

  1. Aunt Shar

    Sarah, I love reading this stuff. Of course I feel this obligation to be witty and funny and poignant after reading what you’ve written! But here I am, stuck in middle class America…. Seriously, it sounds like this is an experience that will change you forever in the most positive way. Reading about the things that have happened in Rawanda is one thing but seeing people that have been affected and seeing the result is another thing entirely. It’s really hard to understand how humans could treat one another in such a way. Looking forward to your next entry.. and I do see two of the pics.

  2. eetaow

    all i can say after not much sleep last night is i miss you lots and wish i was there with you

  3. Jean

    Well Sarah, I’m down here in DC. My rotational assignment over the last 6 weeks sounds worse then your wonderful adventures. I too am on a bus that seats 20 with 450 people in it. It’s call METRO. I’ve landed myself in the hospital with gastritis or something similar from all the take out. My walk home is about an hour and a half (I could walk faster than traffic). Oh, and I have a new sport too – let’s see how fast we can move through the streets of DC to beat the traffic signals. Anyway, I know you are having a great time and listening to your stories makes me miss your smiling face even more. Take good care of yourself!
    p.s. if you host family can afford to send their 7 kids to boarding school, what’s up w/ no electricity or running water?????

  4. Prof Lehmann

    Hey Sarah,
    Thanks for the poke. Loved that picture of you playing soccer in a dress. Sounds like are having the experience of a lifetime–until your next one! I’m so glad to see you are taking things with a dash of laughter and your typical upbeat attitude. I’ve missed you in class, although one of the newer English majors has taken over your old task of tormenting her Prof. She doesn’t imitate me the way you did–who could?–but she does manage to keep class interesting. Don’t bite the bed bugs, and hold close to the one who loves you best.

  5. my friend… what fun to read about what you are doing and your pictures are KICKING MY BUTT…
    they are amazing…
    you are in my prayers
    I am so proud of you…
    how can i pray for you?

  6. I love you Sarah Bury. You rock my world!

  7. knepper

    your words, i love. i remember thinking the exact same thing about tv over there. it’s so funny, because our ‘american idea’ about africa usually doesn’t have any tv included in it. my family loved it when i was there too … especially those dumb soaps! their favorite one was one from spain i think, dubbed over into english with awful AWFUL dub over voice and a stupid plot (about some little boy who was a mime that got kidnapped? i have no idea). i’ll admit though … it sucks you in 🙂 (and ps the soaps in thailand are just as bad — about crazy demon-possessed women with red eyes attacking people. and the movies are as cheese-bally as possible. oh developing countries …)
    how are your classes going? is it weird to go to school in africa? man, what a sweet thing to experience though. i’m so excited for you.
    when we are both in the states again we are going to sit down for a long dinner and lots of stories. i’m home for a few weeks over christmas – maybe then? otherwise, i should be back in may… can’t wait bur!
    i prayed for you today. keep fighting the good fight, and know you are not alone in living in a different culture with strange experiences 🙂 love you.

  8. Aunt Chris and Uncle Charlie

    Sarah…you are one brave soul! We can’t believe your living conditions…bedbugs and cockroaches, yikes!…and yet your enthusiasm and excitement never diminish! You are an incredible human being…so giving and full of life. Please continue to email, as you are opening up your new world to those of us who appreciated our world before, but never so much! So glad you are finding the best in your challenging situations…good luck with classes and enjoy playing soccer! Love your news! Lots of love, Aunt Chris and Uncle Charlie

  9. Master Adam

    My wonderful cousin! Hey, I just started reading your blog and I love it. I am definitely jealous of you (not of your bathroom situation though). It sounds like you are making the most out of college and well you should because its a lot more fun than the working world. Anyway, good luck and I’ll be checking back often. Don’t worry, I was thinking of you while I was munching on delicious crabs and old bay at Aunt Bon and Uncle Bob’s.
    Love, Adam “The Master” Booth

  10. Caryn

    Sarah, I am LOVING reading your updates. Keep ’em comin’. I’ll try to send a real email soon. Working on a job app tonight (different job at ED), and things are in full swing with the National Fellows program.

    I’m so happy you’re there having these experiences. Although I’m sorry about the bed bugs. Hmm.

    Caryn 🙂

  11. Jeremy

    Sarah, you have just confirmed everything I knew about you: A monkey with bedbugs.

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