Stomach Aches and Safaris

Sunday – Safari (Serengeti)

Drove from the hotel in Arusha to the Serengeti. A series of unfortunate events first came about when one of the cars tire fell flat; luckily, it was a quick fix. [please note that we had our first flat tire prior to this event] But little did we know that tires don’t enjoy staying on, and whilst driving through the Serengeti at a rapid pace, said tire decided to leave. It sadly rolled away from us, and we were forced to stop. As most cars need four tires to continue, this car only had three.

While some of us decided to collect the interesting rocks chilling on the road, others just sat in frustration. Eventually, a car from another company helped us out of pity. The car with the missing tire was left in the dust.

On the way to our camping site, we saw lions, elephants, zebras, gazelles, and a bunch of other safari animals. We finally arrived at the campsite in the evening and set up our tents… and oh what an interesting night it was.

 

Monday – Safari  (Serengeti and Oldupi) 

We all woke up at 5:00 am to hyenas laughing hysterically and other unknown creatures making noise. Once we felt safe to leave the tent, we saw the sun rise and ate a quick meal. Soon after, we set for another adventure through the Serengeti. The drive was magnificent as we continued to see more giraffes, elephants, wildebeest, hippos, etc. Finally, we saw more of the Big 5: the water buffalos and lions! We came across the lion sleeping in the tree.

Ate lunch after our 6 hour Serengeti adventure back at camp. We packed up and then headed off to Oldupi (a 2 hour drive.) Oldupi was where the earliest known human footsteps were found. After visiting the museum and the scenery at Oldupi, we headed off to Ngorogoro campsite.

At dinner tonight, we had a slight epidemic, during which about half the group ran off to the bathrooms and vomited. Needless to say, it was not the most enjoyable night.

 

Tuesday – Safari  (Ngorogoro)

After little sleep and lots of stomach pain, we dragged ourselves out of bed at 5:30am in order to have as long of a safari as possible. We attributed our sickness to something in the food or water. Although a lot of us still felt queasy, we all decided to go on all six hours of the safari, because this was an experience we definitely did not want to skip. The safari was really incredible. The view of the crater in Ngorogoro was just breathtaking, and the amount of wildlife was equally stunning. Apparently, this crater has the greatest concentration of wildlife in the world. At one point, my car was within a few feet of four lions, all snoozing in the middle of the road. After the safari, we rubbed our bellies and headed back to Arusha. The ten hours of driving on bumpy roads were a bit rough on upset stomachs, but we managed and got to sleep early that night.

 

Wednesday – Arusha

After a night of sleep and long showers, everyone woke up feeling a lot better than the night before.   Everyone ate breakfast in shifts, and enjoyed the morning and the breakfast at our hotel. 

We spent the morning walking around Arusha looking for souvenirs to buy for family and friends.  There were a lot of popular places to buy things where the majority of the group went to buy.  All in all, everyone had a fun time having a free day to buy and spend and enjoy the last full day with the whole GIEU group.

After a day of buying, the whole group had a final debriefing session.  We travelled to a different hotel and had a fulfilling session that covered the whole trip and everyone got to offer their suggestions about how to improve the experience.  We had our last group dinner and took photos together.  Our last night as a group was very bittersweet as the group splits off into two: the students going to Kilimanjaro and those who are leaving for home (America!) tomorrow.  We decided to all meet for breakfast tomorrow at 8am as our final goodbye as a group.

The group consensus: Tanzania was awesome and we are all so grateful for the opportunity to travel to such a beautiful country! We are so appreciative to Mama Mpesha for making all of the arrangements and letting us experience the culture of such an amazing place!

America here we come!

Bri’An, Greg, John, Sam, and Trevor

Hadithi (Story)

In Tanzania, the tradition of storytelling begins with the storyteller saying, “Hadithi, hadithi” which means “A story, a story.” To that, you, the listener, responds with “Hadithi, njo” or “A story comes.”

On our long bus ride to Arusha from Lushoto, we wrote a linked story — each person writes an entry and passes it on to the next person. The next person can only see the entry before theirs. We went through several cycles of storytelling and present to you, our dear reader, the result:

————————————————————————–

 

Hadithi

 

Safari ya Lushoto – Arusha na GIEU – TZ

 

We all woke up early to catch the fresh morning air of Lushoto and Arusha as we waited for the rides. We had a few surprises waiting for us…

 

John and I got front row seats which is super poa because the bus driver seems like a chill guy and we enjoy seeing his skills from da front. John pointed out some Tanzanian babes in their varying kangas. I got jealous so I put on an imaginary kanga. John said I looked nzuri. Ndiyo!!!

 

Molly is OUT OF CONTROL right now. Must be going crazy after eating some chapatis. Everyone demolished their breakfast five minutes into the trip…we’re not stopping for lunch…HOPE NO ONE GETS HUNGRY!

 

Bittersweet to leave. Everyone seems ready to move on to a new adventure but at the same time so grateful for all the hospitality and care. Driving into a market are now – does everyone always get up early here or what? It’s 8:37 AM on Saturday! Unfortunately I’m on the wrong side of the bus so I don’t see the mountains when I look out my window – it seems like the only proper way to say goodbye to Lushoto – to say goodbye to the Usambara mountains.

 

All of  a sudden an Alien starship 3001 appears and light beams the bus into the portal. “Habari,” the Alien King said to us as we arrived. All of a sudden, Greg awoke. Everyone was still on the bus safe. It was a dream. “Dramamine is a heck of a drug,” he said to no one in particular.

 

Then he gazed out the window and said, in a soft, dreamy voice, “Life to a highway, and I want to ride it all night long.” But alas, what is a highway but a highway of any other place, of any other time, of any other life, for all the world’s a stage and the highway is one of the players.

 

What art thou passengers but merely external expressions of internal convictions? A passenger of any other name would smell as sweet. To smell, or not to smell, that is the question?

 

We saw a waterfall. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a chocolate waterfall like in Willy Wonka’s factory. But I guess it was still pretty.

 

We passed out of the mountains, and are finally on a flat road where there is no danger of driving off a cliff. The view of the mountains from down here is unbelievable though.

 

From down here we look up at the Irente View Point, where we were just a week ago, marveling at the view and that tiny little road in the distance, the road that we’re driving on now. At this point of the journey, with the safety of being on flat earth, most of our group fell asleep. An unhealthy silence fell over the van…

 

Now we’re awakened to use the rest stop. This isn’t the rest stop we’re all used to. It’s the side of the road. This isn’t our first time being one with nature for natural waste removal. Ah! And we’ve just missed the lovely herd of goats. What a wonderful bonding experience!

 

I finally got a break and now we start up again. All I do is go round and round all day, carrying all this weight on my shoulders. Round and round I go, faster and slower. The only appreciation when I am down is I get filled up with air. Why, oh why couldn’t these people pack lighter. Ah! Rumble strip. Round and round I go!

 

Whilst relieving ourselves of our bodily fluids, a herd of wild, untamed goats approach. “Guys,” Tony says, “This is my calling. I must stay here and see that these goats be tamed. I am Tony Franklin. Man of the Goat.” We said our goodbyes and left, wondering who else we would lose on our epic quest through a land of fire and ice to the mythical town of Arusha.

 

Even though Tony had left our group, the rest of us trudged on. We all made a pact to stay together til the end. The question is not if the pact will be broken, it is when. I wonder how many will make it to Arusha.

 

There’s a very good chance I’ll throw Emily out of the window before we get there. She knows too much. She could prove to be a serious threat on the safari. I’m starting to believe this whole GIEU thing really stands for Guerilla Intelligence Evacuation Unit.

 

All of a sudden the bus comes to a screeching halt. Up ahead lies what we all feared most: Tony and his rabid herd of goats. “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Tony yells. “Oh no,” chimes in Mama Mpesha. “I feared this would happen.” She then goes on to explain the only way to pass through. We must select two tributes from each grade. One male, one female. They must face off in a fight to the death where only one can survive. Eight enter. One leaves. The tributes are each allowed one of Tony’s goats for a weapon. Tony has a devious grin on his face knowing full-well what he is forcing us to do: we must compete in The Goat Games.

 

Members of each team are stripped of clothing and given kangas. Each member of Tony’s goats has a different power. Groups are allowed only one goat. Other tributes must root for the other opponents. And so the selection process begins. From the first year, the chosen tributes are strong John Silver and Michelle Silverstein. From the second year, Sam O. Rye and Mattman are presented. From the third year, Em&Em  and the Gregarian Lion Whisperer are chosen. Each contestant must grab their goat, gather their courage and ENTER THE ARENA. The Goat Games have begun. But this year, there’s a surprise contestant. A huge twist, if you will. As the contestants are raised up into the arena, they see Madonna and her famous Goat (named Toad) rising with them. Toad’s special power: banjo. “This is loco,” everyone coincidentally said in unison. (Translation: “This is crazy.”)

 

The Madonna and her majestic goat, Toad, ride in towards the other contestants. Their eyes widen in fear and disgust for the Madonna strums her banjo. It is a Mariah Carey song. The Madonna warbles the tune, lulling the others into a trance with her dulcet tones.

 

The Madonna tune is drowned by the sound of the passing bus. There is a truck ahead slowing us down. To the right are the Pare mountains that are slightly inferior to the Usambaras. We can’t wait to get to see Kilimanjaro ‘cos that means we are getting close to Arusha.

 

It has been an easy ride. John and I are confused by the random wind warnings. Like, why isn’t it windy everywhere?! We’re about to get annoying and ask for a potty break! Ahhhhh… John wants everyone to know that, “People think I’m crazy but I’m normal, I just come off as a psychomaniac when I’m performing that’s an act. So I don’t bore you to death, I just adore you (GIEU Tanzania!) and it’s the summer…so…

 

Could you meet me at the lake, at the park, or in the road? Our only option right now is the road…which Molly absolutely needs to stop because her bladder is about to explode!!!

 

After bathroom breaks and snacks, it always seems like a good time to nap. Most everyone is asleep, except Mama and Christy, who are talking. The road seems endless, just like the stretch of the mountains. The stretch will come to an end, temporarily, since we are stopping again soon because Molly has to pee.

 

Potty breaks are a prime opportunity for switching seats, which brings us the chance to discuss the seating options on the bus. There are the normal seats, with higher backs and supposedly softer seats, but very little leg room and no place to rest your feet if you want to put your feet up. The fold-out seats reach mid-back but has legroom and foot rests in front of you. Both have their pros and cons, but the general consensus is preference for normal seats. I think people underestimate the importance of legroom.

 

T-minus 2 hours until Arusha and hunger is starting to set in. The last chapatti has been eaten and Life Savers are being passed around, in hopes to stop the growling in our stomachs. At least the view of the tip of Kilimanjaro is distracting us. You can see the top peeking through the clouds.

 

We play hide and go seek with the mountain. It is a reminder that we are, in fact, in Africa. We can’t wait to go on safari – relax. Become the tourists that we inevitably are in this unique land. The terrain has changed so drastically from the mountains. This country is such a juxtaposition of extremes.

 

We may have stiff necks, full bladders, and rumbling tummies, but we have cheeseburgers in paradise.

 

I’m in a blue dark bag. The ground is shaking a lot. I’m not sure why I’m here. I see many of my brothers and sisters huddled nearby, and all of us waiting, waiting. Suddenly, the bag is wrenched open and a pale hand grabs me and peels off my garments. I feel naked and exposed for about three seconds, and then, suddenly, I’m in a moist, dark place and I know no more.

 

The Gregorian Lion Whisperer has emerged victorious from the Goat Games. Tony let the victor pass through. “This is exactly what happened to my Calvin students. Oh my,” says Mama Mpesha, continuing onwards on the epic quest to Arusha.

 

Haiku:

On the road again

Serengeti awaits us

Cleveland is major

 

[drawing of a banana] ß TAMU NDIZI

 

In Moshi they also make “mbege” which is a banana beer. But right now we need to get to Arusha and have some FOOD. We could also have ndizi sucari for dessert.

 

Yea them bananas sound good. But rest is sounding better! Arusha Arusha Baboosha oh my goosha.

 

Booshah. Groomshah. Rooshah. POOSHAH! It’s a good thing no one’s having my diarrhea problem!

 

Hot weather makes the ride seem longer. Slow driving also has the same effect. Behind a slow semi…the ride goes on forever.

 

Just passed the semi…are we there yet?

 

Ugh, seven speed bumps in a row slowing us down…maybe we will never get there.

 

Can somebody say Debbie Downer? THIS RIDE IS SO FUN I JUST LISTENED TO BILLY IDOL!!!

 

Apparently, someone’s being a Negative Nancy, but I am enjoying the scenery so far. I saw a peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro before it was engulfed in clouds. Also, I saw a dung beetle rollin’ dung into a giant ball of feces! YAY FECES!!!

 

I hope they were cow feces but I guess beetles can’t tell the difference or it makes no difference whether they are cow feces or elephant feces. We have just passed JRO Airport so you must be feeling homesickness. How do you find the scenery?

 

The scenery, the scenery? It’s splendid of course we are in Tanzania! I like all the trees – and that breeze. How’s that book, Johannes?

 

It’s pretty exciting! But what’s more exciting is the police officer awkwardly staring at us as he examines the bus…

 

Stopped by the road – need some type of permit to keep driving. The heat continues to beat down. We were told it would be hotter in Arusha, glad that that seems to be sure. Back driving now, it’s only a matter of time until we arrive…

 

Arusha now 36 km away. We have sweaty thighs, rickety windows, but a view of beautiful sunflowers and a whole lot of love.

 

Now to describe the interior decorations on the bus. Most of the seats have seat covers designed with flowers reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. A garland of green and gold leaves hang across the interior of the window shield. Emily’s kanga hangs from the window to block the sun. Wavy strokes of red and orange decorate all the windows.

 

Everyone is bored, restless, hungry or sleeping. It has been 6 hours, 2 minutes, and 35 seconds. Oh no! We have driven into a town of kitenge eating zombies! They’re after Emily and Nicole for hanging their kitenge! Ahh! It turns out our drivers are on their side and stop the bus…

 

Luckily, we were mistaken. The flesh-eating zombies were actually police officers. They checked our vehicle and let us go. We drive for a while and approach Arusha. It’s so close we can taste it. It tastes like bacon. Finally, after 7 hours, we arrive at Arusha Lodge with full bladders, empty stomachs, sweaty thighs, and joyous hearts. Hari zote! We are free!

 

LE FIN.

 

Love,

The 2012 GIEU Tanzania Team!

Step by Step

Friday:

On Friday, team Tanzania continued to work at the three Irente centers. We had tea and mandazi at the “Bachelor’s House” thanks to the generosity and hospitality of Maria, Getrude, Jonas, and Susan (the “bachelors”)! Right before the group arrived for tea we found a guest in Rachel’s bed. There was a lizard in her bed netting and it was a group effort to get the lizard outside! Jonas was the key person in helping the lizard out. After tea the bachelors’ hosted a game of Spoons for the Irente group and the Lushoto group caught a ride back into Lushoto. Molly and Adrienne (now being referred to as “AJ”) walked around the Lushoto market before heading home. Christy and Rachel ended their night with a Tanzanian card game (similar to Uno).

 

Saturday:

Kristen, Michelle, Rachel and Christy went to Soni to see the waterfall. It was a long, hectic ride, but it was completely worth the travel. Molly and Adrienne went to see their host sister deep in the Usambara Mountains. There was a very crazy bus ride to the boarding school, but meeting Jaclyn was very special. Although Jaclyn was shy, she opened up very quickly and even shared her special treats that her parents brought for her. After the bus ride back to Lushoto everyone ran into each other at the Lushoto market! Molly and Adrienne merged with Jonas, Maria, Christy, Rachel, Ciarra, and Roni at the market. It was so nice to see everyone! Although, Molly and Adrienne were ready to relax with our Mama because she had been gone almost all week to tend to her ailing father. Christy and Rachel had a delicious American meal at Tumaini restaurant- it hit the spot!

 

Sunday:

Everyone went to church with their respective families. Molly and Adrienne had a different Sunday compared to the rest of the group. Rather than participating in the hike to incredibly high Irente View Point (you’re welcome, Mom!), Molly and Adrienne went to the Lushoto market after church to buy ingredients to prepare an American dinner for their family. We did our laundry and prepared our food for a couple hours and had a very special day with our family. Dinner consisted of mashed potatoes, spaghetti with a vegetable sauce, and garlic bread. Luckily, carbohydrate overloading is acceptable in Tanzania.

The rest of the group met in the early afternoon, after church, and hiked to Irente View Point. It was absolutely breathtaking! The View Point is more than a mile into the sky and overlooks the Masai Plains. On the hike up the group ran into a man who caught a chameleon and let everyone hold it. It even crawled in Rachel’s ear. She screamed, of course. When the group finally reached the top it was a perfect photo op. Except the boys and Christy tried to give everyone a heart attack by taking “jumping photos” right on the edge. This was especially difficult for Rachel since she considers herself the “mother of the group”.  After all of the photos everyone headed to a cave underneath the View Point. Some of the group even signed their names for future visitors. Christy put her email on the cave.

 

Monday:

The groups worked at their respective centers and this was the last day of our second rotation. Christy made Chinese food for the Bachelors House – it was a big hit!

 

Tuesday:

The individual groups moved onto their final rotation of the trip! The Lushoto group walked back to Lushoto after lunch and debriefing in order to exchange money. Tanzanian time, including business hours, has been a big adjustment for the group. After getting more Shillings the Lushoto group walked to the Lushoto Bakery for some delicious muffins and pound cake. Rachel made homemade ravioli for the Bachelors house- it was “delish”! Most excitingly, Kristen and Michelle’s baby sister, Sarah, finally arrived! The baby and mother were safe at home after the birth.

 

Wednesday:

All of the groups continued their work in the centers. It was Michelle’s 19th birthday so everyone did their best to make it special for her. Team Simba’s gift was a hand-crafted card, courtesy of Samantha Cunningham, of Greg Brown riding a lion, in a loin cloth, with a panga in his hand. We had tea again at the Bachelors house and gifted Michelle with a more appropriate card, a kitenge and candy. Everyone enjoyed the tea and mandazi and jam…especially Matthew DeGulis. He was out of control with the plum jam. He is currently seeking help. Michelle even got to blow out a candle! It was so special. The Bachelors House hosted another game of Spoons and Rachel got so out of hand during the game, she bit John Yim.

 

Thursday:

Everyone continued to work at their respective centers. It was a solemn day because this is the last full day at each center! It has been a really incredible experience here in Irente! 

 

Smiles fo’ miles

Adrienne, Christy, Molly, Rachel

Gettin’ Situated

May 15th-17th

The 14th was our first day working at one of the three Irente centers. Each group experienced different activities ranging from working in classrooms, changing diapers, and creating visual aids for students with low vision.

Speaking from experience, the Rainbow School was very high energy. On the first day, I (Michelle) spent my day working in the kindergarten classroom. We worked on math, which was great, because I actually know my numbers in Kiswahili. The other days, I worked in class four with the older children. We used Math again, and tried to teach Science. The language barriers are a little difficult with the older kids, because they have trouble understanding why we can’t understand them. With those kids, we also went to the garden to plant and weed. That was a good way to learn outside of the classroom. I had a lot of fun at the Rainbow School, because each kid is extremely energetic and happy to be around new people.

I (Kristen) went to the Irente School for the Blind for the first three days. The first day was spent gluing string to drawings that we copied out of textbooks, that way children who are blind could still feel the pictures. That afternoon we actually got to spend time with the children by taking corn off the cob and peeling potatoes. The next day, we spent the whole time gluing string to paper again. The last day was my favorite. I spent the morning in the Kindergarten classroom; helping the children who were a mixture of low-vision and blind, count. Later, I read an English textbook out loud while one of the teachers, Angelina, typed it up in Braille. That afternoon, the 5 of us spent time outside playing with the kids. I learned a song in Swahili, but I actually understood what I was saying! It’s definitely an improvement since the beginning of our stay here.

Starting today, all of the groups will switch centers. We are all hoping to continue having a great time!

We think that each group is starting to feel more comfortable with their host families. Some of us have started helping to cook (we made Chapati with our family!). Others are even teaching our families different American card games, when language isn’t too big of a barrier.

As the weekend comes up, each group will experience more of our family’s lives. For example, we’re going to visit one of our host sisters at boarding school! We are also going hiking as a group to Irente Viewpoint on Sunday. We’re all hoping this rain can hold off until then!

Baadaye (see you later),

Kristen and Michelle

Home Stays!

May 12th – 14th

             On Saturday morning, we left SEKUCo to move in with our host families. We spent the previous night without power during a rainstorm that continued throughout the weekend. Needless to say, our journeys to our host families were a little muddier than expected. The group is divided into pairs in homes that are in close proximity to the three institutions we will be working in for the next two weeks. Half of our group is in the city of Lushoto and the other half is in the quaint, rural town of Irente. Saturday was spent getting acclimated to the living arrangements, which vary from homes that have electricity, running water and western toilets, to homes that have no electricity, no running water and what we like to call “squatty potties.” Our living arrangement happens to fall under the latter. By the end of this, we will be experts at the squatty potty! Every pair has experienced difficulty communicating with the language barrier between the national Tanzanian language, Kiswahili, and English. We are all learning what it means to be a foreigner.

            Most of the families attended church and were introduced to the congregation. We attended a Lutheran church in Irente and our host dad, Mhina, translated for us as we introduced ourselves. We spent the remainder of the weekend with our host families. Today, the group split up and began volunteering at the three learning institutions, The Rainbow School for Students with Disabilities, The School for the Blind and The Children’s Home. Everyone happily reconvened at lunch and began sharing stories and experiences of their home stays. After lunch, the group debriefed in a separate room, discussing issues and listed adjectives about our feelings thus far. Words included: happy, calm, welcomed, awkward, confused, isolated, home sick and missing chocolate. The next part of our journey will be to balance the good experiences with the bad. This trip is definitely pushing us outside of our comfort zones and ensuring our growth as leaders, educators and beings of balance.

Nervously and excitedly yours,

Ciarra and Roni

Life at SEKUCo

May 9th

At SEKUCO we attended an orientation on Kishambala and Shambala led by Reverend Walalaze. Kishambala is the language used by the Shambala people, who live in the Usambara Mountains. We learned that SEKUCo is situated in the West Usambara at 1,650 meters. The history of this region involves a period of colonialism, in which the Germans strived to displace the indigenous Shambala people, in order to possess the mountains for themselves. During this time period, the Germans carved roads into the mountains, which are still used today by the Shambala.

During the orientation we also learned about the lifestyle of the Shambala. They have knowledge of pottery making. Many Shambala names begin with prefix SHE-. Most use cooking fuel from trees and do not use electricity for cooking. Dress code is influenced by Muslim traditions. Men wear barghashia and kanzus. Women wear khangas and kitenges.

In the afternoon, we visited The Rainbow School for Students with Disablility. There we had an orientation in which we learned about the schools teaching methods and curriculum. The school is open to both boys and girls in Tanzania who have physical or learning disabilities. Kindergarten students from the children’s home also attend the school. Afterwards, we met the children on the playground where we participated in various activities with the children such as soccer, dancing, reading, drawing and singing.

After leaving The Rainbow School, we had the opportunity to visit the Irente Biodiversity Reserve. There we sat down to have a beautiful picnic lunch. The entire meal was composed of food completely grown and prepared on the reserve’s premises. Our hosts and the center’s directors, Peter and Susan, then took us on a tour of the reserve. The goal of the reserve is to preserve indigenous species of plants and animals, which are slowly diminishing throughout the Usambara Mountains due to alien/invasive species. On the tour, we also visited the reserve’s farm where the students and Mama Mpesha happily fed cows. Additionally, we gained a great deal of knowledge concerning the indigenous tree species of Tanzania and the benefits of ecotourism.

May 10th

We began the day with Kiswahili lessons with Irene Muthemba and Esther. We learned many greetings, family relationships, numbers, foods, days of the week and months of the year. In order to prepare us for interaction with our host families, we had four hours of lessons. After, Irene and Esther accompanied our group for site seeing in Lushoto. We visited the bank, the post office, The Bureau of Exchange, the market and the Tumaini restaurant.

May 11th

We had our orientation at the Irente School for the Blind. Mama Reuben, the school’s director, gave us a brief introduction of the school’s history and current practices. When the school first opened in 1963, it was exclusively for girls but today it is integrated with both boys and girls. In addition to following national curriculum, the students learn daily living skills, knitting, basket weaving, hand crafts, and sports. The school accepts students from all parts of Tanzania. Once completing primary school, those who meet the requirements are integrated into normal secondary schools. The school also enrolls Albino students. We met the students in the courtyard where they graced us with a welcoming song. In return, we prepared a small song to perform for them. We then took a tour of the school. In the afternoon, we returned to SEKUCo where we had tea time with our host families. This was a brief introduction of the families we would be living with for the next two weeks.

-Emily and Nicole

From Dar es Salaam to Lushoto

May 4th

-the entire team (except Greg) meet in Amsterdam for our flight to Dar

-we arrive around 10pm to meet Greg and Mwl. Mpesha

-pack our things and ourselves into a bus which takes us on a bumpy,

unpaved ride to our hotel, Wanyama Hotel

-Bed!

 

May 5th

-we woke up around 9 and had breakfast of chipati, bananas, and beef

at the hotel

-we all packed in the bus after breakfast and went to the mall

-at the mall, we exchanged currencies and shopped a little. I (Matt)

bought a ‘Hakuna Matata’ shirt

-after the mall, we drove to a ocean-front resort and swam in the

Indian Ocean! It was a first for all of us

-after swimming, we traveled to Mwl. Mpesha’s daughter in-law’s house

to meet Mwl. Mpesha’s her son and his family, including his two

daughters, 3 and 5.  They were a huge hit with everyone, especially

Rachel.

-traveled back to the hotel for dinner, which turned out to be small

grilled fish with their heads still attached.  It turned out to be

delicious.

-saw some live music at the hotel across the street

-Bed!

 

May 6th

-a sleepy Sunday, we didn’t have to wake up until 12

-after breakfast, we crammed in the bus once again for a driving tour of Dar

-we saw the fish market, street vendors, the docks, and lots of busy streets

-we traveled to Mwl. Mpesdha’s home in Dar, which was gorgeous

-we then traveled to a Cultural Center where we saw the Dar Creators

perform.  They sang and danced and even invited us to dance with them.

They were full of energy and everyone enjoyed it. They performed

traditional Tanzanian song and dance for us. Everyone (especially the

ladies) grew fond of the percussionist with the dreadlocks.

-Bed!

 

May 7th

-We woke early, at 6:30am to eat a light breakfast and to pack into a

new bus for a “5 hour” bus ride to Lushoto

-on the way, we stopped at Bagamoyo, a slave-house museum. The fort

was originally used by slave traders in the 1840s to house slaves on

their way to the Zanzibar Slave Trade. During WWII, Germany used it as

a fortress using it’s access to the Indian Ocean to keep watch for

enemies and to shoot cannons at them. After this fortress was captured

by the Allied Forces, it was used to prison German soldiers.  It was

very surreal for all of us to step foot in such a historic location

with such a dark history.

-street vendors by the slave-house museum loved having us there. We

gave them a lot of business. We (Tony and Matt) combined to buy two

elephants, a bowl, a sugar container, and a bottle opener.

-one of the roads was unexpectedly extremely bumpy and unpaved, we

couldn’t travel faster than 5 mph on this road for about 5ish hours.

Although the ride took much longer than expected, we all enjoyed the

bonding time.  We asked each other about our most embarrassing moments

and played “Would You Rather?”

-Along the way, we even had to make a roadside pee break

-the most exciting part of the drive was when we entered the Usambara

Mountain Range.  The drive over and around the mountains to Lushoto

was beautiful

-we arrived at SEKUCo around 7:30, had dinner, and went to bed(!)

after a long day of travel

 

May 8th

-we met in the cafeteria around 8am for a delicious breakfast

-Alfred, an alum and teacher here at SEKUCo, gave us a tour of the two

campuses. It’s amazing how beautiful the views are of the surrounding

mountains with houses crawling up their sides.

-We then met with the provost of SEKUCo, Dr. Anneth Munga, who gave us

an inspiring presentation about the mission of SEKUCo and how much

it’s grown since its inception in 2007. They originally only had

around 150 students and they now have over 1500. Although they have

departments ranging from Law to Eco-Tourism, the focus is on improving

the domestic and international resources for the disabled.

-after a quick lunch, we piled into to cars and traveled to the Irente

Children’s Home, which houses abandoned and orphaned children and has

a teaching program for potential caretakers

-it was very refreshing and exciting for everyone to hang out and play

with the children, whose ages ranged from about 1 to 3

-And here we are!! Time for dinner then bed (!) to rest up for another

full day tomorrow!

 

Tanzania Love,

Matt and Tony