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i was warned, stuck on the boarder, & arrival to tanzania--bliss

TANZANIA | Sunday, 16 May 2010 | Views [924] | Comments [1]

i was told before i came to africa that i must adjust to the africa time. you know 1pm means any time after lunch...maybe even 5pm. i was adjusting well but i couldn't help but get frustrated by my latest experience in nairobi. i had been back to the city for 1 hour and emediately i came to the local school Faith christian school to get a new assignment for my volunteer work. i was welcomed to their final celebrations as it was the end of semseter 1. the kids loved my return and i enjoyed performing a hula hoop act to the assembly as they yelled gospel music to serenade. i decided to start working with my roomate jojo on proposal writing to request aid for feeding programs and contruction neeeds. so after taking a lovely meal at the pastors house we sat down and got some details together. within a week i had prepared all information and typed it out for printing. i was only waiting on a few minor details to complete and print many copies. so i waited...and waited...and waited. this was the first week of the month and by the end of the 3rd week i was getting tired of the waiting. every day i was told i would be met at 1pm, 3pm, in the evening...same old story. 2 weeks later i had 1 day remaning before i took of tanzania and i still was not give the information i needed. my frustration turned to disapointment and even anger. here i was waiting all month just to recieve this final detail and they werent utilizing my help. finally i had to tell them to forget it as my bags were packed and i left for tanzania the next morning. i was sad to have to break the connection i had with the school but i also learned that many people here have never dealth with volunteers and don't really understand the methods of organization and timing that are required for properous projects. a lesson learned.

the morning cam for me to cross the TZ boarder to kilamanjaro and i was excited. arriving at the boarder i had a horrible experience. there i was with too little cash to purchase my visa which cost 100d for us citizens...strange...and i had not kenyan money to get back to nairobi to get to a bank...i was screwed. stranded confused and many locals were buzzing around me trying to take my money and convince me to follow them to god knows where. luckily a couple from pensylvania saw my conflict and swooped in for a miracle act of kindness. they took me to the counter and paid my fees. relieved i climbed onto the bus where everyone had been waiting on me. customs are so scary and i was so blessed by this community formed by our foreign-ness.

in tanzania i was picked up by a man i met on couch surfing who is an amazing volunteeer coordinator in moshi. he took me out to lunch then dropped me at the local hostel for a few weeks to get settled. the hostel was beautiful and it was the first time i was able to live with other volunteers from australia and ireland. they are great roomates and full of fun.

each morning i get up with the sun, as usual, and head out for 5-8kilometer walk to the street childrens home where i teach art projects, help with some organization and feeding program. i have never worked with street children before and i am finding it to be amazingly rewarding. the kids are extremely vibrant and laugh often in comparison to the shy nature that i usually encounter in school. i attribute their charism to the fact that since birth theyve had to learn that talking easily, looking sweet, and conversating with a purpose is the only way for survival. immediately entering i can have children greeting me and seeking to be held or hugged as its a rare experience for them. its a lovely yet sad reality that has affected them to their core. i learned that the community has actually been helpful in initiating alternative programs as most of these children will not go far in school as their strengths do not necessarily conform in a classroom. so a local man has come in to teach them acrobatics and the kids make 5 peple standing piramids, bend their body in all shapes, and turn backflips at any moment. there's also an older group who sing acapella hip hop music about life on the streets and they're set to record the tunes soon. they are sooooo amazing!....after the kids have got their amazing talents down on paper we sit around and talk with them for a bit and i take off for my return home another 5-8kilometers. its a long walk filled with serentity and peace as the kili hill is just infront of me while slopes of green covered mountains shelter my path.

the most amazing experience so far in tanzania is seeing how friendly the locals are here. i feel exteremely safe and can walk anywhere in moshi town on my own. i find myself interacting much more with locals and they force me to speak their beautiful swahili which is definately different from kenyan swahili. any minute you can find a local greeting you from across the street or coming to walk with you for a few hundred meters just to welcome you to the community. i seem to meet a new friend each day who i find is waiting for me near that same time the following day for a reunion. its such a sweet geture of friendship and love and i feel so blessed to have found this amazing community.

last weekend i was able to go out the waterfalls of morangu. arriving we found a school gathered where boys were wearing tight briefs taking a bath and girls in dresses waded at the base. on the side of the mountain was a chagga historical site where the chagga king had once hid from evading tribes. i even climbed into the completely dark cave and found the round carved space where he sat in silent waiting, this freaked everyone out except for me...but when we began our decent and heard this crazy radio like noise from about, we looked up to find hundreds of large bats hanging head down toward us. was so amazing to see them fly and land upside down.

the best part was the ride home in the daladal, like a mini bus. we were already uncomfortable as we were packed to the brim. my arm hung out the window and my head tilted to the side. yet the driver kept stopping to load more passengers. at least 5 people stood hunched over sitting passengers while another woman hopped on and put here baby in a strangers lap. it was so sweet to see the normalty of this action as he swadled the baby and kept her warm for the ride. this sense of community lacking concern for a "stranger" type of danger was so beautiful. after we'd got nearly 30 people aboard the 15seater vehicle we made it home in a half hour. thank god a tire didnt pop.

luckily my hearing is back although not fully. id never though i would desire to hear a mosquito by my head but the first time i was able to hear the pests buzzing past my left side...i knew i was on the road to recovery.

i am also still communicating with the congo women when i can and they are starting a woven back business as soon as they can find the funds. i will be contributing some money for this project but they are in need of more funds and also someone abroad to sell or purchase the bags to raise money for their families survival. if anyone is interested in this connection let me know.

updendo na amani

peace and love


Tags: boarder, congo refugees, kilamanjaro, street children, tanzania



Lovely stories...miss you much!

  LisaMarie May 17, 2010 3:31 AM

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