Beautiful Zanzibar

this post was originally from February 4, 2008

Get ready-I have a lot to tell you…
On Wednesday last week we all went to Arusha. It is a city about  2 hours away and is quite congested with traffic compared to what I am used to here in Moshi. We got there and went to the United Nations Rwandan War Tribunal. This is where they are trying the criminals from the Rwandan genocide. We had to go through security checks to get in and then were herded into a small room to listen. We sat behind glass and had earphones on so we could hear the whole thing. Sitting right in front of me was the person who had done the most heinous of crimes!!!!  It was crazy how vague he was. They were making him read letters that he had wrote and he kept acting like he had never seen them. There was a cassette that he obviously knew who distributed it on Rwandan Radio and  his answer as to where it came from was that it was accidentally found in a pile of rubbish…then he proceeded to say that  he didn’t remember who found the cassette.  It was crazy to be right there watching history unfold, but also a little discouraging as it was an obvious ‘pass the buck’ and never take responsibility for his actions.

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On Thursday after placement I was quite ill. Throwing up and not being able to flush the toilet because of the water being turned off, made for a pleasant treat for my roomies. But there was no way i am staying sick, so I willed myself up and went to the orphanage to make macaroni necklaces with the kids. I am feeling much better now though. So many of the volunteers have gotten malaria…my roomie had to go to the hospital last night.Don’t worry…apparently when treated early you are totally fine within a couple of days.

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On Friday Maryanne and I went to the airport to go to the beautiful island of Zanzibar. The landing was fabulous…the water was so blue and all I wanted to do was jump into the ocean as soon as I could. When we got to our hotel there was no booking for us. Maryanne was convinced that one of the bookings for someone by the name of ‘Halbersma’ was me and that was our room. She is a firecracker and would have fought that one to her death. I was like the more time we spend arguing the less beach time we have…so i dragged her out and we found a hotel nearby for half the price. It was perfect –  bed, a shower, and best of all it was on the beach. The sand felt like you were walking on flour. It was powdery and white. The ocean was warm and man oh man i couldn’t ask for anything more.

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On Saturday we were picked up and brought to the southern part of the island. Here we got on a boat with a bunch of Italians and sent out to the middle of the sea. In an instant there was a pod of dolphins. We could see about 8 of them swimming next to our boat. Our boat then positioned itself in front of the pod and then we were shouted at to jump out of the boat. Here I was – swimming in the middle of the ocean with about 8 dolphins swimming towards me. It was absolutely unreal. Some swam so close that I could see every detail on their bodies. But what was crazy was once I looked down below me there were not just 8 dolphins…no…more like 25!!!!!! Once the dolphins swam passed (as they are far better swimmers than I) we all hauled ourselves back in the boat and drove to the front of the pod again…once in front we jump back in and experience the whole thing over again. I sure wish I could relive this experience over and over again. I have never been able to do anything remotely like this in my life! Simply amazing!
We spent the rest of the day on the beach and had a relaxing evening. I fell asleep and woke to the sounds of Maryanne’s sobs. She is only 21 and I think this is her first time away from home in a not-so-western-country. She is constantly on the phone with her boyfriend and this time she was crying about how horrible it was where we were sleeping. She was crying about the bugs and how she wants to come home. Holy shit is all I can say. She told me that the last straw was finding an ant in our bed. I just laughed…’you definitely wouldn’t want to come to my house then, because I have ants in my bed all the time!!’  (Yes I do need to find a new living arrangement when I get home because I have an ant infestation…but hey, maybe it was basic training for Africa!) Anyway i tried to calm her down and soon enough it was morning.
Have you ever had a massage on the beach? I did for the first time and it was splendid. This woman had her own concoction of oils that she made and her massage was to die for (except my stomach because I found that too ticklish)!  Yesterday evening we made our way to Stone Town which has intricate Arab architecture. The sultan of Oman once lived here until the 1940’s so his palace still exists as well as forts from the Portuguese. All too often you would hear the call to prayer coming from the nearby Mosque which was very cool.We also got to eat at Freddie Mercury’s…did you know the Queen legend was born 1923679_22079455433_4676_nhere?
Our flight home was…special. We had to wait for a full hour in the blazing heat on the tarmac just to get our boarding pass. The flight was then delayed because of ‘technical difficulties’ and when we finally boarded the plane, the tires were desperately flat. I took a photo of that one. It was funny because a boarding pass did not guarantee you a set seat.  Once on the plane it was a free-for-all as everyone did a mad dash to the seat they wanted. There was so much shoving and pushing! 1923679_22079450433_3609_nAnyway, we got home in one piece.
Today at placement I was happy to see that my girls were wearing real shoes. Some of them have been wearing things on their feet that slightly resemble a shoe so I gave Mama Mrewa money to go get them shoes that actually fit and are not falling apart. They were so happy. You should have seen the smiles on their faces!!
On Wednesday I am going to Mwanza to finally meet my World Vision sponsor child. The village has been planning a celebration for me but because I only have one day to go and meet her I am unable to go to the village. The flights are not working out so the only choice I have is for World Vision to drive the child and her mother to see me and then I will be back that same day. I have tried every option of trying to get there and stay for 2 days but it is so expensive and there are no guarantees that I will make it to the village and back in time. I will just see her briefly and give her all the goodies that I have collected from some of you guys.

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