May 8th Mt. Kilimanjaro and Waterfall

Hello everyone from Mt. Kilimanjaro!

After the long bus ride we finally arrived at Kilimanjaro! It was absolutely amazing seeing the ice capped mountain rise above the horizon. We arrived at the resort at about 4:00 and all ran to our rooms. The rooms were absolutely incredible, we were definitely spoiled. Our room opened up into a nice living room and then went into a beautiful bedroom. As soon as we saw our rooms everyone ran outside completely excited. It was now time to explore the grounds and this is when we found the pool, the view of the creek and Pete’s bar. The rest of the afternoon we all just sat around outside and enjoyed the sunshine and view while we relaxed. Dinner time approached quickly and we were served a wonderful dinner that was typical of the colonial period. It consisted of soup, salad, meat, and we received our first real dessert of the whole trip! After dinner everyone sat around outside and enjoyed the beautiful evening. The next morning everyone got up early to get the best view of the mountain. It was amazing! At breakfast we were served a wonderful breakfast that consisted of eggs, bacon, sausage, or an omelet. At breakfast everyone talked about how nice they slept and how wonderful it was to have a consistently hot shower. We decided as a group to take a day hike and see as much of the mountain as possible. As we found out we couldn’t see much, but we were able to see the starting point for the hike up the mountain and learned about the climb up. After seeing the starting point our guide took us to see a 95m tall waterfall. It was neat hiking down into the valley to look up at the waterfall. On our hike back to the bus we ran into an incredible nice elderly lady who happened to be African royalty! That night we all relaxed much like we did the night before. I am quite confident no one wanted to see Kilimanjaro go.

Waterfall!!!

Waterfall!!!

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Mt. Kilimanjaro

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May 7th

Hello!  Today we had our third and final Kiswahili lesson with our lovely teachers.  We learned two songs: one about counting and one about introducing yourself and your family.  So now we are basically 3-year old Kiswahili speakers, which could be more dangerous than us not knowing any of the language: we can count, greet people, and say ‘mboga mboga’ which means vegetables.  After Kiswahili class we hung around campus and showed up 40 minutes late to a sign-language class. We like to call it “Tanzanian time”. We learned useful terms such as ‘slaughter’, ‘choose’, ‘wear’, and ‘dirty’. After a glimpse of the University classroom, we realized that the rain had stopped for the first time since we arrived in the mountain area, we all let loose and played 500 with a football that one of us brought as a donation, enjoying the long-lost sunshine.  It was interesting to see the reactions we received from the people at Sekomu as the females wrestled each other and males for the ball.  Lots and lots of staring.  Later in the afternoon, we went for a walk towards town, and saw monkeys in the trees.  It was great!  We will probably be taking a few home with us.  Also, we will bring chickens, cows, goats, and children home with us.  I don’t think the airport will mind.  Right?

Swahili Class

Swahili Class

Irente Orphanage

On Monday May 6, we made a trek to the Irente orphanage.  After a long walk through the mud to get there, we were greeted by the MacPhearsons, a missionary couple from the Lutheran Church in Philadelphia.  When we had all peeled off our soggy raincoats and stashed our umbrellas, we sat down for tea with the MacPhearsons, the director of the orphanage, and some Norwegian students who had just arrived there.  The tea was delicious and suspiciously like Fruit Loops, but that wasn’t our purpose in visiting.

After tea, we were taken on tours of the children’s’ rooms in small groups.  First, we went to the 1 year old room, then the baby room, and a 2 year old.  In the first room, I sat down on the floor next to a little boy who just couldn’t stop smiling.  He grabbed my hand and just looked at it until he decided the rattle was more interesting.  In the oldest room, the kids were more than happy to have their pictures taken and play with my earrings.  The smiles on their faces made the muddy, soggy trip completely worth it.

When everyone had toured the rooms, we all listened to the orphanage director tell us about how their business works.  Personally, I thought it was fascinating.  The children who live at the orphanage are up to 3 years old and then they are placed elsewhere.  I found it interesting that children who had lost their mothers are considered orphans because they cannot be fed.  Irente takes these children and feeds them formula until they are old enough to eat real food and go back to their fathers.  For children without fathers or mothers, they are either taken to their grandparents or other family members, taken to other orphanages, or adopted by other families.

Another way the orphanage helps the country is through training girls to be midwives, child caretakers, gardeners, etc.  They do this through a long internship sort of program where the girls pay to work at the orphanage and take care of the children.  They also milk the program’s cows, do the laundry, run the hostel, and tend the gardens.  From this, the girls can then go on to complete more schooling or use their knowledge to help others from their homes.  Because of this, the orphanage really serves two purposes: taking in orphaned children and teaching young women how to help themselves or others.  I found this particularly wonderful because it means the children are being taken care of and well-fed but women are also gaining education beyond what they would have gotten otherwise.

When we were finished learning about the orphanage, each of us pulled out our backpacks and unloaded 3 tables worth of donations.  We completely filled the tables and the looks on the staff’s faces were priceless.  I don’t think they expected our donations or even the quality of the donations we had brought to them.  I was particularly happy to give away a pile of stuffed animals and flip flops for the children.

Although we only got to spend a couple hours at the orphanage, it was well worth our time and I couldn’t have asked for any more on a Monday morning!

Donations for the Orphanage!!

Donations for the Orphanage!!

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May 5th

Hello all,

This morning we woke up, ate our delicious traditional b

reakfast, and then headed off to a beautiful church service. Lutheran Cathedral hosted us and even allowed us to sing for them. They were in for a treat. After their choir sang and danced, we had to get up there and Chris chose the song “We are marching in the light of God.” Taylor J, Chris and Shayla led the first verse in Swahili, and then the rest of us joined in English. We were all really nervous at first, but survived it. After church we talked a little bit with the natives, as much as we could.  We then headed to the market for some shopping. Some of us bought a whole lot because everything is so cheap here. We can buy a jacket for about 6000 schillings, which is about 4.5 US dollars. We walked in and the first part of the market was primarily produce. People would lay a burlap sack down and pile the produce on that they had previously picked. There were probably about 100 people their wanting you to buy their produce. They would all say, “karibu/welcome” to try and get us to buy their product.  After about two and a half hours in the market, we went to a restaurant for a lunch/dinner. We were served pork tidbits, and a tomato, onion, and habanero pepper mixture. There were cooked bananas on the side most likely to eat after a habanero because we found out those were really hot! We of course all tried them and then didn’t know what to do when we found out how hot they were. After dinner we all headed back up to Sekumo and hung around before dinner. They treat us so well here, it’s outstanding! The food for dinner was wonderful; more rice, vegetables, meatballs, and even pasta with a red sauce.  After dinner we got together to play some cards once again, hoping that it won’t get too heated this time!

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Lutheran Cathedral

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Intense game of toothbrushes

Intense game of toothbrushes

Habari gani from Tanzania!

We finally arrived in Africa late Wednesday May 1st after two long flights from Chicago to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Dar es Salaam. We were greeted with open arms by our bus driver and Kadeghe! Our first night we spent at the Catholic Guest House in Dar es Salaam. To our surprise our accommodations were very nice; some of us even had air conditioning! We haven’t had much access to internet since we have arrived, until now at the Sekomu University in Lushoto.  So in a nutshell, we have traveled a lot, seen the beautiful landscape, ate amazing food- practically every two hours, almost fish tailed off a cliff, learned basic greetings in Swahili, and bonded as a group playing an intense game of Phase 10. We look forward to seeing a church service, visiting orphanages, taking more Swahili classes and going to the Market in the upcoming days. We’ll keep you posted, Kwa herini (goodbye)!

Christina, Shayla, Mycala, Jes, Debbie, Aaron, Justin, Taylor S, Heidi, Abby, Taylor J, Chris, Patrick and Drolet.

Donations for the Orphanage!!

Donations for the Orphanage!!