Since I have gotten back, everyone has asked my favorite part. I find it hard to pinpoint one thing; we got to experience so much (as you have read in previous blog entries). However, I sum it up with this: people watching. I think one of my favorite things throughout our time spent in Tanzania was observing the people and how they lived and interacted, and it really made me think. Many of these people do not have smart phones, or iPods, or even electricity, but they all seemed too happy. And I have to admit; not having my phone for three and a half weeks was great. It really made me reflect on how much of the “stuff” I have here at home is just that. Stuff. Do I need the most current smart phone available or that pair of name brand shorts? No — those are wants. What I need is the same as the people of Lushoto, or Morogoro, or Zanzibar. Since the trip, I really look at everything I have and realize so much of it is unnecessary. But how do we make an entire culture wake up and realize this same thought? In the end, everyone is a lot more alike than we would ever think, even half way across the world.
Our time in Tanzania is coming to an end. It is going to be hard to say goodbye to this place and all of the amazing people we have met, especially Kadeghe. L Our flight doesn’t leave until late tonight so the majority of the day we are spending relaxing and enjoying our time in Dar es Salaam. We ate lunch with a couple Wartburg alums and made sure to have some of our favorites before leaving such as milkshakes, kahawa (coffee), and you cannot forget chapatti and ndizis (bananas) :)
We have all learned so much on this trip about Tanzania and the Maasai culture. It is going to be hard to go back after an experience like this. Here is a quick summary of everything we did; stayed at Catholic Guest House, learned Swahili, Sekumo University Tour, Irente Biodiversity, Irente Children’s Home, Lushoto market, Church Service, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Waterfall, Lutheran Junior Seminary (LJS), Morogoro market, Kadeghe’s Maasai village, three safaris, Juma Hills, stayed at Lutheran Guest House in Dar es Saalam, Ferry to Zanzibar, spice tour, slave market, snorkeling, and eating delicious food. We loved it all.
The plane rides back to America were rather interesting to say the least, but between sleeping and watching movies we survived. We are all very happy to be back home with our friends and family. I would like to thank everyone who has been following our blog, and I apologize for the lack of internet connection that didn’t allow us to update while we were there. We all had such an amazing time in Tanzania and we would love to tell you about our experiences and show you our thousands of photos.
Asante Sana (Thank You Again) to everyone that gave donations, those receiving them were very thankful.
Aaron, Abby, Christina, Shayla, Mycala, Jes, Debbie, Justin, Taylor S, Heidi, Taylor J, Chris, Patrick and Drolet.
The ferry ride from Dar es Salaam to the island of Zanzibar was amazing! The wind was blowing in our faces and throwing our hair into funny and unusual styles. We arrived and stayed at the Blue Earth Bungalows (www.blueearthbungalow.com/). Our view of the beach was breathtaking. The sun shining bright on our faces, hot sand in between our toes, warm sea water, and of course, with great company. On the beach we shared our kites with the local children. All of us went snorkeling in the Indian Ocean! We saw so much sea life, it was such an exhilarating experience. After dinner, we sat around a bonfire with the locals and sang together. The locals would sing a song in Kiswahili and then our group would match their song with an English one. We went back and forth for some time and with many laughs. During a game of touch-tag, we all took turns dancing around the fire. In the morning, some of us awoke to watch the sunrise. What a beautiful sight it was. Words and pictures can not do justice to how wonderful and beautiful this trip was.
On Thursday May 16th we were warmly welcomed into Mikumi National Park by numerous monkeys along the road. This was the start of some amazing views and wild animals! J We first got settled into our luxury tents at Juma Hills. They were super nice; we all had an amazing view off our decks. We had to listen to a brief presentation by the owner on the importance of making sure a Masaai warrior escorted us to our rooms at night because there was a leopard and her cub living in the area. They also have had appearances of elephantscoming to the pool looking for water. Oh! And we can’t forget to mention that at night you can feed the bush babies, and see honey badgers and a civet cat feast on the day’s leftovers.
After that it was then time for our first Safari. Everyone had their cameras out snapping pictures of the gigantic groupings of impalas, elephants, giraffes, water buffalo, warhogs/ pumbas, zebras, hippos and even a crocodile. There was not a single person on the bus without a smile on their face, the biology majors were surely in heaven. It wasn’t until the next day, on our second safari, that we saw three lions resting in the shade. Other highlights included: going to a reptile zoo; where many held a rock python snake on their shoulders, swimming in the pool back a Juma Hills, eating delicious food, and feeding the bush babies :)
Animals (wanyama) in Swahili
Elephant: Tembo / ndoru
Zebra: punda milia
The most profound experience I had on the trip happened in the first week when we were staying at Sekomu University in Lushoto. We went down to the busy market on Sunday afternoon and split into groups to look around. Lushoto is very high up in the mountains and it is very rainy. I wore sandals and my feel were covered in mud right away. I noticed that many of the local people didn’t have messy feet– probably because of all the practice they’ve had. While we were finishing up our shopping and heading back to our bus we had to walk through a narrow path between shops. There were people all around trying to squeeze through. Of course, I slipped on the muddy ledge and fell… I landed right on my bottom and got my orange skirt covered in the mud. I was really embarrassed– I heard some children laughing at me. Everyone was looking at me and I started to tear up because I felt like a typical tourist who didn’t know how to get around. It was really overwhelming to have all these strangers staring at me and I couldn’t help but cry a little. I just wanted to leave. Our friend Kadeghe who was leading the group I was in asked one of the shop keepers if he could use their bucket of rain water to wash my hands off since they were muddy. The woman agreed but when she saw me she looked right into my eyes and I could see she felt sorry for me. She started to splash water on my skirt and rub out the mud. Kadeghe got a scrub brush from another shop and the woman took in and started to scrub the dirt out of my skirt–all while I was standing in the middle of the market. Everyone was staring at me. They could tell how embarrassed I was and wanted to change that. It was the most overwhelming yet wonderful feeling. I kept thanking her in what little Swahili I knew. A man came up speaking to me and bent down to wash the mud off my feet for me. The woman rung out my skirt and you couldn’t even tell I fell. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. It amazes me how, despite all our differences, the woman recognized my need and helped me. Once she started helping, others joined in and wanted to help too. With all the other terrible things going on around the world, this experience gave me hope. I am so happy I fell in the mud.
Well I think it is safe to say that Morogoro is definitely warmer than Lushoto. We spent the morning playing some volleyball and it was extremely warm out. We also gave some of our donations over to the school. The Wartburg Women’s Soccer Team donated nets, which was perfect timing because they were having playoffs for a soccer tournament in the coming days. Other donations included some laptops donated by Wartburg and an alter cloth donated by Debbie’s church. They were very thankful for all of our donations.
After eating some lunch at LJS we boarded the bus to spend the rest of the day in the city of Morogoro. Patrick created a scavenger hunt as a way for us to explore the downtown area. It also gave us a chance to practice our Swahili as we passed by the locals. A few things we saw included a Mosque, internet cafes, Piki piki shops, men drinking Kahawa, the market, and we even saw a Pioneer Seed Ad. It was a little heart-wrenching though to see the beggars on the street. It definitely is not something we are used to seeing back in the states. After walking around for a while we all met back together for some ice cream at Ricky’s café. It was delicious!! Our next stop was Hiliary’s shop. He makes really nice handmade crafts out of wood and cloth. I think everyone on the trip bought at least something from him. We then went to have dinner at the Oasis restaurant. We were accompanied by two quests; Barbara who works as an AIDS/HIV coordinator and a woman from the Peace Corps, I apologize I cannot remember her name at the moment. We had some very fascinating conversations about their experiences here in Tanzania and the events leading up to their arrival. Barbara also spoke about her line of work and her role in promoting the education of AIDS/HIV. In her time being in Tanzania Barbara said she has seen a drastic difference in the willingness for people to open up and talk about AIDS/HIV. It was very interesting to learn and hear their stories. Oh and the food was amazing! Many of us even tried something new!
Mambo! Today we arrived in Morogoro at LJS, the Lutheran Junior Seminary School. After we all settled into our new rooms and ate some lunch we visited the Mgorore Children’s Orphanage. It was approximately a 40 minute walk and we all brought the rest of our donations for the children. Right when we arrived, we unloaded the donations, which included crayons, coloring books, balls, cleats, clothes, stuffed animals and sunglasses galore. Then the children were released upon us; they stampeded from one end of the hall with smiles on their faces and excitement in the air. We gladly accepted the children jumping and climbing on us. One of the Sisters at the orphanage started handing out the toys to the kids; almost every child received a pair of sunglasses. We spent the next hour goofing around and chasing the children. There was one 6 month old baby, Joseph that was passed around between all the girls. He had the cutest cowboy boots! Don’t worry we took tons of pictures! At one point all the guys had children on the shoulders running around. It was bittersweet when we were told we had to leave, but we knew we would be back tomorrow!