Thursday, February 21, 2013

being lazy while all around us others do good deeds

So for our next installment...we're on our way to visit our friends Pete and Charlotte.

Pete and Charlotte O'Neal have been living in Tanzania since 1972. They started out with pretty much nothing, and have built up a whole compound - the United African Alliance Community Center - in a small village outside Arusha, where they run all kinds of programs for the community and visitors - ranging from classes in English, computer science, the arts (including music recording) for local students, to programs for study abroad groups from all over the United States. (Which is how we know them - Kevin helped plant the seed in their minds that hosting study abroad groups would be a good idea for all parties.) More recently, they have opened an orphanage with 22 kids on-site.

The orphanage is new since 2008. At right, a separate kitchen facility is being constructed.

About every available surface at the UAACC is painted with something inspirational.

View of a guest house, with Charlotte's art studio on the second floor, from inside the Red Onion. Bullet, the resident horse, wondering if perhaps Pete has any carrots for him.

"The Red Onion, named for Pete's dad (that was his nickname), is the central gathering space for hanging out, meals, programs, dancing, and general fun.

Sadly for us, Charlotte was not around - she was on her annual "Heal the Community" tour in the States. But we got a chance to hang out with Pete - or, to give him his due, Mzee Pete (mzee is an honorific for a male elder - the female equivalent might be "Mama", as in, Mama Charlotte).

But "Babu Pete" is probably his most cherished nickname. Here he is with a handful of his charges.

This is Joshua. Mark my words, this kid's going to be famous some day.

We went on a day trip to Tarangire National Park and saw a lioness stalking a warthog. I was showing some of the kids the resulting pictures. Then I flipped the camera upside down and snuck in a shot of them.

In return, I got a new hairstyle:
These girls have their heads nearly shaved every two weeks, so it was a treat for them to play with my hair, and of course, it was a treat for me as well!

Agape, yours truly, and Maria. I asked Agape if she knew her name meant "love" and she smiled and nodded. A fitting name for her.

Maria was a complete doofball.
A girl after my own heart.

In the meantime, a sleepy bat napped above our heads:

Next up: a lioness chases a warthog...a male ostrich admires the derriere of his mate... and more elephants than we could count. Oh - and a special guest - a leopard!

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