Well, I can’t believe it, but this is my last week here in ARusha volunteering. Last week I finally felt bonding between the students and me. Teaching is much harder than i ever imagined, especially to adults. Many are older than myself. But several have invited me into their homes and villages. So it is very nice to get so intimate with a different culture…and believe me it is so different. I will never complain about the subway again. For someone with a large space bubble, living here has been quite a challenge. They don’t have buses here in the conventional sense, but instead use what are called “dala dala’s” which is nothing more than a minivan with multiple nailed down benches inside. At most, on one ride we counted 34 people inside one dala dala. but it’s great fun, except when I first arrived with my large backpack. We have been receiving 2 swahili classes a week, so that helps on the communication front. still they laugh at the silly white people and say things i haven’t learned in class. Last week we were taken on a field trip to several wood carving factories as well as other goods for sale. We also went to a local chagga home, which is one of the largest tribes in this region. The most interesting part was crawling in a tunnel that is underneath to hide the animals and valuables to prevent them being stolen by the local Maasai tribesmen. It was the strangest experience seeing as there was absolutely no light and you had to crawl along like a crab feeling your way. Then we spent the afternoon at a local waterfall which was uniquely spectacular just like all the other ones I’ve been to. As for volunteering, this has definitely been a learning experience and now I know what I will differently in the future. I have made a few friends here and the most hilarious thing is that my 2 best friends have turned out to be a 19 year old potential college freshmen and a 22 yr. old canadian. This weekend 4 of us went over to the coast to visit Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. An 11 hour bus ride there! Funny how most of the bus rides I’ve taken are longer than most of my domestic flights in the states. ANyhow, it is a lovely town. The water was incredibly salty and because of that provided much buoyancy. however, be careful of the 1000’s of sea urchins. we had to walk out quite a distance and on the way back I got several toes full of urchin spines. not a pleasant experience in the slightest.
not quite sure what lies ahead next, but i’ll keep you posted. All the best and keep the responses coming. also, thanks to my mom the website will be updated sometime this week.