This post was originally from January 14, 2008
Hi there Everyone! I can’t believe that I am actually here in Tanzania.
Not only will I be volunteering with CCS while I am here, but I have planned to meet my World Vision sponsor child as well. Because of this I have spent the last few months collecting and gathering items for the village. I literally have a massive hockey bag full of stuff to donate. In fact, the bag was too heavy to go on without extra charges so before boarding I had to redistribute all the stuff into different bags so that I was basically carrying all the heavy books in my carry on. This made for not-so-fun transfers between flights! My trip started by having to sit on the plane while on the runway right in Edmonton for about 2 hours. Now that I am here it is absolutely amazing so far and I have no complaints whatsoever!
Where do I start? The Home Base where I am staying is awesome! There are about 25 other volunteers that stay here with me. I share a room with three other girls and we even have our own bathroom/shower between us. The shower is not a bucket, which I am so pumped about. The bunk beds are comfortable and I even managed to duck out of staying in the same room as Lolita. When we all first arrived *Lolita had an empty mickey of booze in her hand and was going on about how she had already found the best bar and cheap booze. The ‘Mama’ of the house, Mama Lillian found the bottle and immediately there was a bruhaha going on. Lolita wanted me to stay with her in her room, but she was too busy arguing about the empty bottle that I snuck away and went to my designated room. Phew.
We have had two full days of orientation. Learning about the culture and even the basics of Swahili. Yesterday we were taken to town where I was unable to take out any money. The bank machines are a bit on the finicky side so I am currently owning multiple people money. The food is fantastic. The Home Base has a full staff who cook, and take care of the place. I am eating far better than I ever had at home…but I guess it doesn’t take much to do better that Froot Loops and Cornpops! They have amazing vegetarian dishes. The staff are fantastic and I feel like I am right at home!
Today we were divided into pairs and given different challenges. Me and another volunteer had to go into the community and buy sugar cane…remember this is speaking Swahili! While walking along the dirt roads we came across a family of about 6 children. they were all laughing and playing together in the dirt. One little baby sat there with a Santa hat on his head and nothing on his bottom. The kids came up to us and couldn’t stop touching my hands and looking at the photos that I took of them on my camera. They loved my rings and I tried my best to make conversation. The kids would run after us and yell ‘pictya pictya’!!! Anyway, I found a lady who had sugar cane so I spoke to her using my phrase book and trying my hardest to put words together that I had learned earlier that day. It was such a surreal experience.
From the balcony at the home I can literally see Mt. Kilimanjaro. We are staying in the town of Moshi that is right at the base of this majestic mountain. It is so lush and green, and the temperature is incredibly hot. I love it!
Tomorrow is my first day of placement with the women’s organization called WEECE. I am told that I will be the only volunteer at this placement and I will be working with teenage girls. Wish me luck!
Because we get weekends off I have booked my first excursion. I will be spending time with the Masai Tribe and going on a safari. Crazy huh! This is all real and I just want to slap myself silly. Please know that I am totally being taken care of. The staff are like mothers and we even call them Mama. I know that I am missing a ton of stuff, but with the internet minutes ticking away I am running out of time. And this key board is so stiff that I am probably developing carpel tunnel as we speak!