Hello East Africa
I made it to Tanzania! After flying from Accra to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I stayed overnight in a hotel. I was very pleasantly surprised to enter a really nice hotel (or maybe it just seemed extra nice because I've been staying in pretty basic accommodations for the past month). I was surprised because the airline covered the stay at no cost. Anyhow, this morning I caught my flight to Kilimanjaro International airport which was only a 2.5 hour journey. I was picked up by Thomas, a staff member for the program I'm volunteering with. He was very nice and welcoming and for the duration of the hour long drive to the volunteer house, he told me about all of the many options of things to do here in my free time. So far, I'm stuck between a weekend trip to Zanzibar, Moshi to visit the springs, caves, and more, and a 2-3 day safari. How do I choose?! I had it in my mind to go Zanzibar for sure, way before even arrived. I only have two weeks to spend here and I don't want to feel as though I'm spending more time being a tourist than I am actually spending at my orphanage placement. But it IS Tanzania. It's not cheap to fly here from Miami, so I do feel since I'm here, I should take advantage and do as much as I can. Who knows when I'll be able to come back.
Anyway, so far I think I am really really going to enjoy Tanzania. It's much different than Ghana and I haven't even seen much of it yet. It seems more peaceful (although to be fair, it is Sunday). It also seems greener, more lush, more clean. Everyone went on and on about how friendly and welcoming the people in Ghana are. To be honest, I didn't find them to be significantly more friendly than anywhere else. But here, it does seem like a very friendly atmosphere and the people seem nice from the few that I've met. It's also a nature lover's paradise, which I am. As I write this, I am sitting outside in the volunteer houses' garden area. There is a lot of greenery, tropical plants, and a tree called 'Jacaranda' that has these beautiful lavender colored flowers on it that I am absolutely obsessed with.
As far as the accommodation here goes, I really really lucked out. There is a volunteer house like the one I stayed in in Ghana. The volunteer house here is much smaller and cramped though. Theres about five girls sharing one small room. THANKFULLY, God was looking out for me because I get to stay in one of the onsite cottages. It's sooo cute. There are two sets of bunkbeds in there, but so far, I have it all to myself. I'm really happy about this, because after living in a house full of girls for 5 weeks, I couldn't be happier to have my own space. It has it's own little private bathroom too, with a really nice shower that has HOT WATER. Oh my gosh, hot water seems like such a thing of the past. Although I've gotten used to and honestly didn't mind cold showers in Ghana, it'll be nice to shower in hot water again. And to top it all off, we have an onsite restaurant and bar that's literally only about 20 steps from my cottage door. And the menu has so many options, even for me, a vegan/vegetarian. Such a step up from my options in Ghana. Already today I've had fresh juice and a vegetable curry wrap with sweet potato fries or "chips" as everyone outside the U.S. calls it. I look forward to coming back from long days at the orphanage, grabbing a glass of wine, and relaxing outside in the garden. I'm already wondering if I should have done three weeks here instead of only two. Oh well, all the more reason to come back someday.
Tomorrow, Thomas, who is the staff member or somewhat of our guide while here, will be going with me to the orphanage where I can start right away. I was meant to begin on Tuesday, but I'm ready to jump right in. I need to make the most of my time with the kids since I'm here for such a short time. Afterwards, he'll show me around town and teach me how to take the public transportation. It should be a fun day.
In the meantime, I think I'll get a glass of wine form the bar and just unwind before this next part of my adventure begins.
But before I go, here's a picture I snagged while on the plane. I had a perfect view of Mount Kilimanjaro- the tallest mountain in all of Africa and second tallest in the world. This picture doesn't come close to doing it justice though. it really is incredible in person.