Ok, so it's been a really long time since my last post. I do apologize to those of you who are still checking the blog. We have had a pretty busy and eventful couple of months. After Daniel's birthday, we had a week-long project planning meeting in Arusha together with our supervisors and colleagues from two other projects. After that, we headed back to Babati and started preparing for our 'Vowels Workshop' at the end of March. We found and invited participants, bought and planned food for the week, arranged for a 'conference room' in Magugu, and edited, sorted, etc. over 1,500 Mbugwe words, printing them onto index cards for use in the workshop meetings, among other things.
Our supervisor came out to help us with this first workshop. Good thing she did, because Viggo ended up getting a majorly infected, swollen arm on the first day of the workshop and was basically unable to participate for the rest of the week, having to make trips up to Arusha to get antibiotic injections in his arm and whatnot. So Susi (our supervisor) and I kind of ran the whole show. I did a lecture on some basic linguistic terms in Swahili the first day and was pretty proud of myself for being able to make myself understood. The workshop went amazingly well, all things considered, though I was completely exhausted by the end. We had very heavy rains the first night, and had to drive through a fast-flowing river, with water up to the hood of our big SUV, on the way to the workshop the next morning. But we made it. That's why we have a Land Cruiser. We made good progress with the Mbugwe vowel system. We discovered that there are 7 vowels in Mbugwe, meaning that we will need to use two special vowel symbols in addition to a,e,i,o,and u. The Mbugwe were excited to do the research together with us and had a chance to learn some new things in the process. We will hopefully have another workshop on consonants at the end of this month.
As soon as we were done with the vowels workshop, we had to start preparing for a 'discourse workshop' starting in mid-April. Meanwhile Daniel had a week of high fevers, and I had a mild bout of malaria. It's difficult to explain the point of the disourse workshop, but suffice to say we've now been in Nairobi for three weeks and Viggo has learned a lot about 'discourse analysis' and the 'discourse features' of the Mbugwe language. This will be very helpful for making a fluent translation in the long run. The day after we arrived in Nairobi, I got really sick, and I ended up in the hospital with pretty severe pneumonia. It was really hard to breathe. I was in the hospital for five days, and slept most of the day for a couple of days after that, but after lots of antibiotics and rest I'm all better now. We have stayed with German colleagues for these three weeks, and they were extremely helpful while I was sick. We're very thankful that if I had to get so sick, at least we were in Nairobi, where there is a very good hospital.
So tomorrow we drive back to Tanzania. We'll be glad to get home. There will be a pretty intense couple of weeks of preparation for the consonants workshop, and after that, we'll be getting ready to leave for the US for Pamela's wedding and a much needed vacation.