africalana

TANZ THUS FAR

Posted on: July 18, 2011

So I am currently updating my blog via gmail because the wordpress site is taking forever to load! Tanzania is Great!!!! Sorry I haven’t written sooner…. I don’t like being bound to a computer and I am lazy… So here is a long update!
The flights were good, except for one seat neighbour who was a bit obnoxious… ok, extremely obnoxious… but I dealt with it……
When I arrived I noticed the lack of lines and more of like a huddle? I squeezed my way to the front of the visa line (haha). Elizah, the Volunteer House Manager picked me and another volunteer up, and we were on our way! It was about a 45 minute drive to the house, and arriving was probably one of the most overwhelming experiences… On Thursday nights the volunteers have Social Night, where all the volunteers from homestays come to the house and have dinner than go out if they choose afterward…. we arrived during the drinking portion of the evening…. not going to lie, we stayed in the car for a couple of minutes because we were so overwhelmed. Everyone for the most part ended up being friendly and introducing themselves, so it wasn’t bad afterall. The house is very nice and has space for over 30 volunteers. I live in the female back room, which is 12, now 14, beds filled… feels like camp!!!! If we are lucky we have water… if we are really lucky, we have hot water. The shower comes out of a faucet that is low, so showers are done in sections; first the hair, than the limbs and body. The food is good and pretty standard, bread (or toast if we are lucky) with peanut butter, marg, jam on top and I bought nutella…. as well as mandazzi which is like deep fried dough, which is awesome… Lunches vary and I don’t really eat them because I usually am not home for them… and dinner is interesting combo’s of food… either way I leave dinner full.
Friday morning I had IVHQ orientation which was a lot of paperwork and a tour around Arusha. Arusha is bustlin (is that a word?). We then went to the Masai Market which I will definitely be going back to because it has the coolest things which are both authentic and touristy. Friday was a lazy day afterwards, and I went to bed at like 8pm.

Saturday morning about 11 of us went on a waterfall hike. It is at the base of Mt. Meru and the hike begins after about a 30 minute walk, or as I like to call it, another hike. The hike was strenuous, but the hardest part consisted of these mud steps we had to walk down. They were so steep a few of us fell (I survived that part). We then got to like a river bend, which was where we were to put on our sandals. I heard flipflops were ok to wear, but boy was I wrong! I fell in the water a few times, but luckily my camera didn’t get wet!!  The end result was beautiful and very worth the pain I am still feeling two days later… when I have more patience I might upload some pictures. In the afternoon that day, a few of our group went to town to look for random things. It became chaotic and a couple of the people tried being heroes and pretended to know where the Dala Dala was…… nope. they didn’t. Finally someone stepped up and asked. At night a few people went out, but the rest of us stayed in and watched Mean Girls (I would say that is a perfect night).

Sunday I wasn’t going to do anything but then last minute I decided to join a group to go to Shanga, which is a bead factory that employs Tanzanians with disabilities. It was very cool looking and reminded me a lot of that scene in Harriet the Spy with all of the bottles…. I took a picture so I can prove it. We payed 20,000 tsh for lunch and it was phenomenal. I want to go back and will try to. In the afternoon we just came back and laid outside, it was so nice and relaxing!!

Today I started my placement at Cradle of Love Baby Home, which was hectic at first. The person who was assigned to show us the way wasn’t actually going there, so we (another volunteer and I) had to wait until 11 to go. We take 2 Dala Dala’s there and its about 45 minutes away on a good day. The babies are adorable but we were given no instruction at first so we just did whatever. It is very well funded so there a lot of staff, so the volunteers are just extra help. I already fell in love with like five different babies and I was only there 2 hours. I will usually be there from about 9-2 everyday.

I feel like I should explain the Dala Dala’s….. they are this minivan that is meant to sit 12 but usually sit at least 16. They are all named and many of the names are about God (like God is Power, Jesus Power). They have broken my comfort zone, but now I am used to people climbing on me… They cost from 300tsh to 500tsh and get you to where you probably need to go. The one I was on just coming from placement backseat was broken and, yep, I sat on it! haha.

The currency here is tsh (or tanzania shilling) and roughly 1500tsh is equal to 1 dollar… so everything is extremely cheap, making me even cheaper than I already am! I cringe when I spend over 5000, but that is really like maybe $2.50….

Everything else is good so far! had a health scare this morning, but pepto solved that one! I am going on a Safari the weekend of the 29th, and could not be more excited!!!!!

I am going to try and go to the ICTRs but I hear rumours that they are closed for now 😦 I am not sure if it means closed session or closed for good… I will find out!
POA SANA
Alana

ps if you care to text me my number is +255 075 443 1268

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