The time of my life that I’d been waiting for, working hard for and exercising for has finally arrived! I left England on the 1st of April via Qatar Airways (who delayed my flight resulting in me missing my connection flight, hence I stayed in transit for 5 sleepless hours!). I got to Doha around 1am, but had missed my flight to Kilimanjaro airport, therefore I was told to wait for another plane which was going to depart at 7.35am taking me to Dar es Salaam, where I’d wait again for another 3 hours or so to connect to Kilimanjaro airport. Qatar Airways, you’re delightful!
Since I hadn’t travelled by plane in almost 2 years, it seems I had forgotten how hot non-British countries can be. When I got to Doha, I was sweating like a pig and could barely breathe! (Thank God for the brains that created air-con). By the time I landed in Tanzania, I felt overwhelmed! First off, let me say it’s such a beautiful country. As soon as I got off the plane (we had to walk from the plane, on the parking space and into the building), it started to rain. My first reaction was to get my warm jacket but would you know it? the rain was WARM! How cool is that! I could have stood in the rain and not felt cold for a second, although once I got inside the heavily air conditioned airport, I’d have frozen my pants off. Anyway, I got there and it turned out that Qatar had arranged my connection flight with a different airline called Precision air. Now, this airline had different luggage limits and they wanted me to pay for the “excess” baggage. Like heck I’d pay that! I protested and had to speak to Qatar representatives in Dar es Salaam because in all honesty, I was tired, sleep-deprived, hungry and sticky with sweat, and it wasn’t my fault! After about an hour of going up and down int he airport, I finally checked in. However, I checked in too late and subsequently missed my other connection flight! It’s safe to say that it was quite a hectic journey! I finally boarded the Precision Air flight to Kilimanjaro airport and we were served a small packet of cashew nuts and a tumbler of fruit juice. How filling for someone who hadn’t eaten for 7 hours.
When I got to Kilimanjaro aiport, I managed to take a picture or two and then collected my things and came out. I was welcomed by the lovely Samina, the project manager of Future Sense in Tanzania. She introduced me to Mr Thomas, our driver, who took my bags and put them into the car. It was such a warm welcome which didn’t just end there. That night, we went to dinner with Rob, a former Future Sense volunteer who is helping out with a school building project, and Dan who is a coordinator (I think) for Future Sense in Tanzania. We went to this really lovely hotel called Impala, where we had Indian food. The meal was delicious and very filling, which I was happy about as I’d been so hungry!
The following morning I woke up bright and early, took a shower and packed some stuff into my back packing bag because it was SAFARI WEEK! Samina had decided to send me off to safari so I could experience Tanzanian wildlife first of all to fully appreciate the beauty of Tanzania. I saw the full cast of The Lion King, some crazy monkeys and baboons, met some amazing people and took loads of pictures!
I also had the opportunity to visit a Maasai village where an English-speaking Maasai boy introduced us to the people, gave us a tour of the houses and the whole place, and explained to us how Life as a Maasai is. He aspires to be a doctor so he can assist some of his people who have no access to medical attention due to their location on the plains of Serengeti. He informed us that their diet consists of milk, blood and meat, and sometimes fruit. I was surprised so I asked for more detail. He said this is because the women don’t know how to cook *gasp* and because they own a LOT of livestock (literally hundreds of cattle, sheep and goats per small group). They had milk mixed with blood for breakfast, and then meat for dinner. I was quite appalled but they seemed healthy and fit. He also told us that it’s the women who build the houses while men fight lions and other aggressive animals, and tend to other matters. The Maasai are nomadic so they migrate roughly every 6 months in search of better pastures or when the lions and other animals are edging too close to them. I really loved their simple way of life, but cannot see myself living that life for a prolonged period. It would have been great to experience life as a Maasai for a week or so (minus the blood), just so I can appreciate the diversity of the cultures of this world.
|Pumba and family|
After safari, I returned to our volunteer house in Arusha and began my teaching yesterday at a school here in Arusha. This is perhaps the most exciting part of my trip as I also learn new things from the children (while learning KiSwahili), and in turn I teach them what I know. They’re well behaved and so respectful that I’m contemplating teaching in the future. Today as I walked through the school gates, the kids were all standing outside their classes, about to begin lessons. A group of four kids started running and I thought they were playing a game but no, they were rushing towards me and they all hugged me and said “let’s take your bags”. Then they helped me carry my books and handbag to the classroom! It’s so wonderful to be loved by such awesome, beautiful kids! I’m glad I made the decision to incorporate this experience in my trip. Definitely the best decision I’ve made in a while! Now, tomorrow I shall go hiking in preparation for the Kilimanjaro climb, and I hear it’s another great way to meet new, like-minded people. Really looking forward to that! More updates next week. For now, enjoy your weekend!