Published: June 26th 2012June 26th 2012
We are so busy here that it’s hard to find time to write in depth.I’m going to let Syd expand on the safari.
Our placement continues to be good and also challenging. I had a discussion with the director of the school and told her how surprised I was that the kids – 4 & 5 years old (especially the girls) hit each other so much or they just bully each other by snatching their pencil or scribbling in their exercise books. She said that most of these kids are beaten by their parents. Some are being raised by a single parent or grandparents. During class it’s hard to sort anything out because of course, the kids are rattling off their complaints in Kiswahili and I’m watching faces and body language to see if I can guess what happened. I would be much more effective with more Swahili. They laugh when I say acha (stop) so I am upping my game to msipigane (don’t fight). They will probably laugh at that too so my best plan is to redirect them, find something else for them to do. There was something going on today that involved pieces of broken
flesh colored crayons and a small envelope of some kool-aid like candy. No one in the group of 7 or 8 who were in the vicinity of the crayons & candy could focus on their workbooks. I tried reading them a story today but gave up after 3 pages when one girl bit me and another wrote on my shoe. The bite didn’t hurt, she (Sharon ironically) was being funny but she is very difficult to redirect. The strange thing is, she likes me and will smack other kids around to be able to sit by me, she just doesn’t take this muzungu very seriously. I’m guessing the kids have seen enough white volunteers come and go so she isn’t too concerned with me. The teacher, Ishmael, uses a ruler to enforce directions when necessary but he doesn’t really hurt the kids.
My placement went well today. Tomorrow I’m suppose to have some kind of lesson for my kids. I’m kind of nervous because all I have done with the class is help grade work and teach a song. I think I’ll work on math tomorrow. Jessica who is a preschool teacher back in the
U.S. gave me an idea. She said to use physical objects for the kids to add and take away. I’m thinking I’ll collect some rocks to use. I thought these kids had their numbers down really well at first but they really just have things memorized. Yeah they can count, but they don’t understand the values of the numbers or how you subtract a number or add a number to zero. Hopefully the lesson with objects will help. I think it will be a relief for them also, because the only lessons they do are ones written on the chalk board that they have to copy into their raggedy workbooks.
Okay, anyways… safari. Wow. It was amazing. I have a hard time describing the experience because it was just incredible. We left Friday afternoon and went through Arusha. Arusha is a city of 500,000 and it’s totally crazy. There were times I couldn’t watch out the window because there are people everywhere and cars going every which way. The drivers act like it’s nothing. We stopped at a super market and got gelato. I had banana and grandpa had mango, it was delicious! Then we went on
and not even an hour later we saw our first wild animal, a giraffe! It was all by its self, which was kind of weird. Then we stopped at the Masai village. That was one of the coolest experiences of my life. As soon as we got there the Masai women and men are singing and dancing for us. They come to us and give us beaded necklaces and take our hands to come dance with them. When the men dance they jump really high. Grandpa got video of it, you’ll have to check it out. Afterward they showed us their homes, grandma talked about that. I can’t believe they live that way!
We stayed the night in tents – sleeping bags on thin mats laying over tree roots the first night. It was really hot and uncomfortable, grandma got no sleep. Thankfully, the wonderful people there changed our mats, helped us vent the tent and even put us in a new location. The first morning we were up at five because of girls in other tents giggling. We had breakfast and then left around eight for the Ngorongoro Crater. It was amazing to me how green everything was.
The drive up was a lot like going up a mountain except the roads weren’t paved and they were pretty narrow. Also, I didn’t get sick! Yay! When we got to the top of the crater, right on the rim, the view was just breathtaking! We took a few pictures and then drove into the crater. Once we get to the bottom we see tons of animals. There was an abundance of zebra and wildebeests to our left and to our right. Also to the right was what looked like a pink glob on the water; they were flamingos! Quickly we realize zebra and wildebeests aren’t rare, they are everywhere! We also saw ostriches, the beautiful black ones are males and the females are more grey and brown. They walk funny and they don’t really like us around, they seem to leave every time we stop to look at them. Like grandma mentioned, there are only seventeen black rhinos in the crater and we saw four of them. Our driver said that was really rare to see so many in one day. Another thing I thought was really cool was all of the hippos. They are so big! They hang out in groups in the water. During the day they stay in the water and at night they come out, walk for miles and eat. They’re very fun to watch, and we got to do a lot of that during lunch because they were right near our picnic site. Right before lunch though, we saw lions! First we pulled up next to a lion, who was lying in the middle of the road, just relaxing. He was watching two females look for his meal. The female hunt for the food and after the kill, the male eats first, then the female, and then cubs. He wasn’t a full grown male, still a boy, but he was beautiful and soooo close to us! It was awesome. He was looking away from us and we wanted a picture of his face so Nikos, another volunteer in our car, tried everything to get him to turn around. Finally Nikos mooed like a cow, and sure enough, the lion turned his head towards us. He had flies all over his face but was still so beautiful. Then we saw the female lion in the tree. Our last lion encounter that day was when we saw two lions mating. That was quite a sight, it is not seen very often. The female is in cycle only a couple times a year but when they mate those couple of times a year they mate every forty five minutes or so for three days. That’s crazy! Towards the end of the day we saw our first elephants. I was so excited even though they were pretty far away, I had no idea I would be seeing 6o of them or so the next day! More to come… Love, Sydney
We spent an afternoon at an orphanage. A couple shares their home with 33 children. They didn’t intend to start an orphanage but he found a sick child on the street in the rain one year. He took the boy to the hospital and he was admitted with pneumonia. When the child was released the wife said they must take him in because if they sent him back to the streets he would get sick again. So he was their first. The children sang to welcome us and were very warm and happy to see us taking us by the hand and asking about us and our families. The bedrooms have2 or 3 sets of bunk beds and the kids sleep 2 or 3 per bed. The orphanage is on a small farm. Tanzania is in the midst of a serious drought. Everything looks green but that’s because the rainy season just ended. The corn is drying up in the fields and soon (worse) hunger will follow. We took food as a gift for the kids but 35 kids will go through the food fast. They have a nice yard were the kids can play futbol and run. We played a fun game with the kids outside – everyone sits in a circle, one person hides; a leader is chosen. The leader starts some motion (hand clapping, finger clicking etc) and the person who hid comes back into the middle of the circle. The leader changes the motion whenever they want to and the person in the middle tries to figure out who the leader is. They have 2 cows – one ready to give birth at any minute, chickens and geese. Syd especially loved talking with the girls and became friends with Flora an 18 year old, and Rachel. From their back yard, we had our first stunning view of the top of Kilimanjaro. It was cloudy lower on the mountain but the sun was out and we were all impressed. Syd and Dave took photos of this all. Dave will probably be setting up a website for the orphanage.
Dave has been very helpful at his placement. He is teaching basic Word and keyboarding skills as well as helping with the budgeting/accounting in the office of the vocational center. He is enjoying the work.
Sharon, Dave and Syd