Sunday 5/29/11 @ 7:30pm
It's Sunday night and I am starting to feel much better. Every time I leave the house, I get a bit more comfortable and am really starting to see the beauty here. So last night we went into Arusha to have dinner and watch the soccer final, so Jake, Jonas and I walked about 10 minutes down the road to a volunteer house where Aly (an american girl) and Locky (another Aussie guy) live and than the five of us walked up to the main road and caught the dala dala into Arusha. Those buses are seriously a trip... but greatest thing ever because they are bloody cheap and so efficient. There are constantly dalas coming and since there are no stops, they will pick you up or drop you off anywhere along the road! We got to arusha and walked over to Africafe (cutest name ever) and sat for dinner. Its a GORGEOUS place, it could be the nicest in arusha. I opted for the veggie burger and chips -- OH MY GOD. By far the best veggie burger Ive eaten in my life. So much better than home - this was insane. The fries were some of the best Ive ever had as well. Funny that such a western meal is much better over here. Another girl met up with us at dinner, Maltilda, and shes Danish and adorable. We got alot so well but she has been here for 3 months and leaves tomorrow... damn. But Ali, the american, is great - shes 20 and came here for 3 months last year, went home to work and save money, and came back a month ago and it staying for a year..maybe more. Locky is really cool too- hes been here 6 months and doesnt have an end date.. he's pretty set here. Its a great group of people. We than headed over to Empire, its a sports pub- I had no idea what to expect, but it was acutally a really cool place! They had a live band that covered bob marley songs for the majority of their set, and there were tanzanians dancing, a pool table, heaps of white people, probably around 10, and CHEAP alcohol. Local beer (cleverly named either Kilimanjaro, Safari, and Serengeti) run around 2000-2500 shillings, just over 1 US dollar. Some of the kids were taking shots of local booze and shots are about 2000. And you dont tip here... weird.
We watched the game, the place was packed and the game was playing on a large projection screen so it was great. Most Tanzanians were rooting for manchester united, while some were for barcelona. There were 2 white people that were rooting for barcelona that were SO into it-- there are some SERIOUS fans out here. We stayed for a while after the game, enoying beer and music. It was Maltilda and Jonas's last weekend night so they were getting quite loose, so they wanted to keep going so we went to a local bar - seriously, not for tourists, and if it werent for Jonas's fluency in swahili, we wouldnt have gotten it.
It was SO late taht I was basically falling asleep, and Jake was really sick (he didnt drink, hes been very sick for a while and ive finally convinced him to go to the doctor this week, the problem is that its an hour dala ride away and they are so hard to get into, but hes going to go). From his symptoms and what he's told me.. I wont be surpised if he comes back and tells me that he has malaria. Uck.
So we walked out of the bar around 3am and there were no less than 15 taxi drivers begging for our business. there were 6 of us, but maltida doesnt live in usa, but in a town between usa and arusha, so we had to drop her off on the way.. Jonas's swahili came into play again when he asked how much it would be and they all started yelling prices - thirty thousand came out, and jonas replied in swahili... "30 thousand? Okay.. we will just walk"... it was hilarious! They all went crazy and kept bargining until a guy yells, okay, 15 thousand (about 10 bucks for a 45 minute drive) beacuse they dalas stop around 8pm. So, we walk over to the car.. 6 of us shoved into a small cab, and we head out. Most of them fell asleep instantly, and as we turned for Maltidas road, she mentions.. this may be a bit rough. HAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAH. I would do anything to have that ride on video during the day. It's my favorite memory so far from this trip. It took us atleast 30 minutes to get up the road.. his car kept stalling.. its super steep and just straight bolders, no pavement or dirt whatsoever, and massive holes everwhere. Its absolutely not made to drive on, and his car would scratch every 5 seconds. I could not control my laughter, I sat there as if I were on a disneyland ride or something.. it was incredible We finally make it up, the cab driver is so pissed and says "this raises the price 10 thousand." It was so funny, and SO worth it. the poor guy is going to have to buy a new car after that and its probably going to cost more than 7 US dollars!! Oh wow I just luaghed the whole way down and the whole way home. It still cracks me up.. guess you just had to be there!
So we got home just before 5am (rediculous cuz i was ready to leave at 10pm) but since we all shared a taxi, we had to wait for everyone to be done. I got home, laid down, and woke up at 1:30 in the afternoon. AMAZING. i havent slept more than about 2 hours since being here, so that was a real treat. Woke up, washed my hair for the first time and boy that was an experience. I want to cut it all off here... its SO annoying to ration enough water to wash my rediculous amount of hair. So I dont know if I've mentioned it yet.. but showers here consist of going to collect water and than using about a quarter of a bucket to splash yourself or use a cup to pour on yourself. I use my body wash/shampoo first, than let the water take it all off. It's shocking how little water we acutally need to wash ourselves; at home I can sit in the shower for 30 minutes no problem - until the hot water runs out.. Here there is no hot water and there is no acutal shower. Its a bathroom with a tile floor. Theres a toilet, a sink (which doesnt work cuz theres no running water, and I was a pair of flip flops and than scrape the floor with a window wipe type of thing at the end, to remove the excess water on the floor into a hole in the corner. I'm already used to it so it can't be too bad right?
Jonas took off to go to a nearby cafe called Tanz Hands and said he'd be there for a while if I wanted to join. So a bit later Jake and I walked up there.. its crazy here, we just walk through fields to get places.. definitely don't know my way around yet. We walked for about 15 minutes and reached this gorgeous plantation- its a rehab center for disabled people and they have a cafe and gift shop to raise money.. great place and just stunning. I ordered a scoop of ice cream with mixed fruit on top - delicious! And it was under a dollar. Its great :] The three of us sat on the patio and played cards for hours. We took a detour home beuacse Jonas was telling me about a great tree that isnt too far away. We walked through more fields and bush until we reached this amazing tree - huge, heaps of branches, and host to about 200 hanging nests. its something truly incredible. We looked to the side and there was Mt. Meru soaring into the sky.. and we could see the peak. Apparently cloud cover almost always hides the peak, so it was just stunning. We kept walking and suddenly Jake goes.. no way! We all look east, and Mt. Kilimanjaro just sat there in the distance, nearly 20,000 feet high standing by itself, nothing like I have ever seen before. Jonas is climbing Kili next week, and Jake did it a few years ago. What a cool thing!
As we approached home, there were a bunch of kids playing outside and they all ran up to us just to hold our hands and walk us to our gate. These kids are no older than 6, it was wonderful. There are a few english schools here that are very expensive to go to, but the kids that do go always say "hi, how are you" as you walk past.. thats about all the know how to say, but it is just the cutest thing- they get so excited when they get to say it and we say it back. I love the kids here. Once we walked in the gate, I headed into the house where I was greeted by Maggie, the 5 year old that lives next door. She is probably got to be one of the cutest kids I've seen in my life. She has the whitest, most perfect smile and hugs me non-stop. She always gives me kisses on the cheek and wants me to dance with her and spin her around. She loves my hair and constantly touches it. Every kid here has a shaved head.. not kidding- EVERY kid. Its good because since hygiene isnt a top priority by any means, shaving the head removes chance of getting lice and what not. Doreene, the 1 and a half year old that lives with me has hair but its braided. There are literally more hair shops here than any thing else. Its insane!
Tomorrow I start at the orphanage, but we are acutally doing home visits which is very lucky for me beuacse they only take place once or twice a month and it just so happens to be on my first day. We start the day at the orphanage, but we than leave with 10 kids and go to their homes... we see how they live, get their story from their grandparents or whoever they live with.. there are 70 kids at the orphanage and not one has both parents.. most have neither. With only a few exceptions, nearly every child has lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS. There are 3 kids in the orphanage that are HIV positive, but I dont know how many more are.
If a child gets sponsored, they are immediately sent to St. Vivian, the english speaking school, within a few days. If anybody wants to sponsor a kid, please let me know and I would be more than happy to get it set up or give you more information. I'll write more soon, with details of the home visits and what not. Lala Salama.
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