this post is originally from February 7, 2008
So since I have been in Africa I have truly tried to embrace the cultural differences. But as much as i try, there is one habit that I just cant get hooked on…nose picking. Yep, that is what I said-everyone picks their noses. I will be standing there having a conversation with someone and there they go-in for the pick…or should I say dig. Maybe it is because of all the dust that is in the air, but still-I just don’t want to see it. Lucky for you it has not caught on in my habits. Wouldn’t that be a lovely one to bring home??
So yesterday I had my long awaited visit with my World Vision Sponsor child. At 5:30 am I took a small plane to the west side of Tanzania to a city called Mwanza. It is called the Rock City, and for good reason. It was the coolest thing because everywhere you turned there stood these giant boulders. The massive 1000 year old rocks did not stand alone – there were clusters of them, and some lay right on top of each other looking like at the slightest touch you could push it over. Mwanza is situated right on Lake Victoria so it had a beautiful harbour with the boulders sticking out of the water. I loved it and have never seen anything like it.
The World Vision staff picked me up from the airport and took me to a hotel to meet both my sponsor child, Regina and her mother. It was so amazing to meet these people, but at times a little awkward too. We were unable to speak the same language and only able to really converse through the staff. Even at that, Regina speaks her native tongue and not Swahili so again it had to be translated through her mother. The mother was so sweet and called me her daughter. I don’t think she particularly needs another daughter as she is preggo with her 6th child at the moment!! Regina was shy but as the day went on she smiled more and even held my hand. I gave them all the stuff that was collected and they were in awe. I obviously couldn’t show them everything right there because there was so much stuff. Let me tell you that getting rid of that bag was freaking fantastic. I have had many problems with airlines since leaving Edmonton with it. Regina loved all the dolls I brought and as soon as she saw a pair of socks that were colourful she wanted to put them on right away.
Regina and her mother have never left their tiny village so this was their first time in the city. This was also the first time that Regina has ever seen a white person. First time they have seen a television (which was in the restaurant we had lunch at). This girl’s eyes were as wide as horse turds!!!! Lunch was interesting. The mother ordered rice, veggies and a fish for both of them. There was sauce over the food and I was not expecting them just to dig in with their fingers. I mean, they have never used a utensil before so this is all they know. Like many here in Tanzania they live in little mud huts with leaves over the roof. They sleep on the floor and of course have no electricity. So this was one hell of a day for them. As we sat there over lunch there were only so many things you could talk about as our lives are so extremely different.
One thing I was a little annoyed about was that the World Vision staff drove us around the city. It was a nice drive however seeing the mansions built on the slopes of the rocks felt uncalled for. Apparently a lot of Arabs have loads of money and build massive houses even by our standards. I felt very uncomfortable having these people see this, knowing the poverty that they live in.
I made it there and back all in one day. It was amazing, like so many of my experiences here. They really appreciated all the stuff that some of you donated with me. And they were so thankful that I made the journey to come and see them. World Vision Canada
It is now Thursday evening and I sit here with this cloud over my shoulders. This afternoon I broke down because the thought of saying goodbye to the people and this country saddens me. I feel so comfortable here and the people feel like extended family. This has truly been a trip of a lifetime and I am so thankful that I have had the luck to live in country that allows me to see the world.
Tomorrow a few of us are getting pizzas made and we are bringing them to the orphanage for the kids to eat. I can’t even imagine what a blubbering idiot I will be when I say good bye to kids.
Saturday I leave at 9:40 at night and get into Edmonton late on Sunday. Call me crazy but guess who is going into work on Monday morn? Not looking forward to that alarm whatsoever.
Also on the way home I will be spending 8 hrs in my Fatherland-Amsterdam, Netherlands so I look forward to seeing a few things there.
Lots of hugs from Beautiful Tanzania