Blogs from Tanzania, Africa

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Africa » Tanzania March 31st 2014

Feb 18 An early morning walk along the waterfront and through some of picturesque, narrow streets of Stone town before having breakfast on the ocean front restaurant of the Tembo. Cloves and Zanzibar are synonymous ( in my mind anyway) so it seemed very appropriate to have clove coffee - yum. Our guide Moosa and the Island Express bus met us outside the hotel for our day of sightseeing on the way to the northern most tip of Zanzibar and the Z hotel. First stop was a money exchange. Already we had noticed that things were cheaper when paid for in Tanzania shillings - and all we had was US dollars ( which had worked so far). While the guys did some high finances, the rest of us got a chance for our first wander around ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha March 15th 2014

We got up early to meet our guide for the weekend where we would catch the bus to Moshi. Nancy is Isaac's sister and has his intense energy. You take a bus to Moshi, which is a two hour drive. It only costs $1.45, but the ride is much like the dala dala. You are packed in tight as sardines and some stand, there are fold over seats that cross the aisle as well. Once in Moshi, we take a dala to our next connection point, which takes another 45 minutes. Then we grab a taxi and go to the start of the trail to Kilimanjaro. There are beautiful eucalyptus trees, and pines that look nothing like ours at home. The mountain creates its own climate and has a large forest belt on its slopes. The ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha » Arusha City March 15th 2014

Our last work week in Arusha was filled with surprises. School was the same, we shifted teachers around to cover the gaps, and I went back to helping everywhere. The children keep showing more and more affection as the get to know me. The one boy I work with one on one, no longer let's go of my hand during the break. But many other things came up. We got a new room mate, volunteer. I had to cancel my last time with the Masaai men, because of meetings with projects abroad, which disappointed me and I found out, them as well, since most showed up anyway. We had a surprise massage care of Isaac, at the house. He keeps wanting to show me how much he appreciates what we are doing. Then, yesterday, a journalism ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha » Arusha City March 7th 2014

I get up early in the mornings and do my exercises before I ride with the driver to pick up the first set of students. It is a beautiful time of day. The sun has not yet come above the horizon so the light is gentle with pinks. The stars are just disappearing, there is a planet that is so bright it shines well into the day and sits on the crescent of the waning moon. When the wind picks up, the banana tree leaves rustle like water. There is a grove a banana trees next to us. From our enclosed yard we can see the top of Mount Meru. First thing in the morning and at night fall, the mountain catches the light on one or the other of its sides and seems to float ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha » Arusha City March 7th 2014

On Friday, school was hectic. We didn't have our normal driver and the new one didn't know the route. I wasn't sure of the way neither so we had to get the teachers out earlier to help. Then they had to go on the second drive, so they were late for school. Along with the other volunteers. So we had to run their classes as best as we could. Elizabeth also had to go to the clinic so I had to take her class, even when the other teachers came back. Quite the morning. I went to town in the afternoon, to connect with wifi. Each time I travel into town, I am struck again by how different the world can be, and how adaptable we humans are. I squeeze against the thorn bushes to get ... read more

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Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha » Arusha City February 28th 2014

We went for home visits on Wednesday again; this time we went to twelve homes and didn't finish until after 6pm. Thursday was different; Isaac had saved enough to bring all of the students to a play park with a train and a climbing mountain. They were in seventh heaven. We transported everyone by the small vans called Dallas and it took forever so we didn't make it home till 6 again. Friday, we were finally able to go to town and prepare for our weekend climbing Mount Meru, and connect with home. It is even more precious when we talk with loved ones since we can only manage it from time to time. The highlight of the week was the three days spent in Mount Meru National Park. We left early on Saturday morning. We ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha » Arusha City February 28th 2014

This week we have been made to feel even more welcome at the school and at home. Even one day away and we were missed. I am more involved in teaching, and the children are working their way under my skin and in my heart. They will be hard to leave. We went on home visits, this time mainly to businesses, because parents couldn't be at home. There is no worry about our arrival it seems, even though we are many. We are always welcomed in to sit and talk about their child's progress. Projects Abroad arranged for a dirty day this Thursday. We gathered at the office in the morning and took a bus outside of the city to a Masaai area. They a building a school there. We were brought to dig trenches for ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » North » Mount Kilimanjaro February 24th 2014

People often asked me why I had decided to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. I would reply with "I don't know, it would be kinda cool I guess." It was part of a volunteer excursion so I thought "how hard could it be, just a bush walk, right?" Wrong. Summiting Kili was the most incredible and ridiculous thing I've ever done and would recommend it to everyone. Would I ever do it again? Not a chance. I took the Machame route. It's said to be physically one of the hardest routes due to its steepness but don't let that put you off. Machame has one of the highest success rates for summiting due to the way you're able to acclimatise. Machame is also one of the most picturesque routes. I would absolutely recommend Machame purely based on it's ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha » Arusha City February 21st 2014

Our second week of work and everything is beginning to feel easier. I get blisters cutting vegetables. My legs stretch into a crouch better, although Momma Johanna ( the cook and cleaner for the school) makes me take the bucket to sit on half the time. I am beginning to learn student names and I am understanding the rhythm of everything much better. The schooling here is very traditional, with lots of copying, and echo back chanting. Much of it is too difficult for the little ones, and there are not enough people to go around to help students one on one. I watch their boredom and restlessness grow and know that any of my answers to help will not be accepted or space requirements mean that it is just not possible. I can get to ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha » Arusha City February 21st 2014

This weekend was slow. I caught a cold and moved at a snails pace. We went to town to use wifi and prepare for a hike that we planned on Sunday, but Sunday morning the rains never stopped and we ended up reading and Jacob playing catch up. It's been nice to lie still, let my body fight the cold and listen to the bleat of goats, lowing of cattle and songs of the birds out the window. We do have a major hike/safari planned for next weekend with guides and porters and everything. I'm excited. This week the teachers must give exams to the children, even those who are 3 and 4. It means that Jacob has less to do, but I can help with marking and giving reading tests. Last week, I told Isaac ... read more
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