Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kili Kids Drum Show

So this past week was not too busy but I was pretty exhausted although I don’t know why. I hung out and didn’t do much (as far as traveling around goes) over the weekend. On Sunday, though, everyone from the hostel went to the Kili Kids Orphanage Drum Performace Fundraiser. It was a lot of fun…except that it was supposed to start at 5pm and didn’t start until 630. The kids did an awesome job and I think they ended up raising a lot of money for their orphanage! The pictures on this posting are from the fundraiser.
On Monday, Rovina and I taught first-aid (she did most of the teaching because my Swahili still is not good enough). Over the weekend three of the boys ran away…one of the boys was my favorite kid (even though I know we aren’t supposed to have favorites). I keep looking for him on the streets on my to and from work hoping that I find him. I really hope they are all safe and I really really want them to come back.
Today, Tuesday, Rovina and I took one of the kids to a doctor and stopped at Mawenzi hospital on the way to do some paperwork. It was super crowded with people and some lady had me hold her baby. It was really interesting to see how they did things there although I was only in the waiting area.
After I got back from the doctor with this kid I went out for soda and chips mayai (French fries in eggs) with my Upendo group. Twice a month we have Upendo (meaning love in Swahili). One of the meetings is a group meeting where everyone at Amani meets together as one and talks about relevant issues or topics. The other meeting is broken into groups of two or three staff and five or six children. The small groups meet together and go somewhere outside of Amani to talk and drink soda. It is a treat for the kids to have attention in smaller groups and to be outside of Amani and to be allowed to pick a treat to buy. All of the boys in my group looked so happy while we were out. I wish I could take them out everyday even if it was just to walk around town.
Not sure if this blog makes any sense but I am exhausted so…oh well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kendwa, Zanzibar

We spent the last three nights of our trip in Kendwa, a gorgeous beach in the northern part of the island. If you try to think of the perfect and most beautiful beach you can imagine this is the beach that would come to mind. I have never seen sand so white or water so clear blue. It was honestly breathtaking. I generally have a hard time sitting on a beach for hours at a time but the beach was so pretty that I wanted to sit there all day (even though I was mostly in the shade of the thatched cover).
The sun was so strong I ended up needing to buy a hat (my parents would be proud) which is something I would never have done but my skin was milky white and because I have been wearing conservative clothing here, hadn’t been exposed to sunlight in a while. I wore 50 spf and tried to stay out of the sun when it was strongest…since I am back to Moshi now I regret being so careful because I barely got any color.
Anyway…about more important things…the beach was super relaxing and while Cassie and I were eating lunch one day on the beach I saw a girl that had just been staying at the hostel, Iona, walk past. It was so good to see her. We all ate dinner together later that night and during dinner I looked over and noticed another girl that had stayed at the hostel about a month or two ago that had been my roommate. It seemed like such a big place until I ran into all of these people (which was super exciting).
At one point I was helping some local children and fisherman pull a huge net out of the ocean when I rasta man walked over to me with a pet monkey on a leash. The monkey was so cute and was like a puppy. He was jumping from person to person and swinging on the hammocks and falling face first into the sand. His owner let us play with him for as long as we wanted and told us to bring him back to him when we were done…so we got to babysit a monkey for a half hour-very interesting.
One of my favorite things about being at the beach was the amazing sunsets. It was wonderful to be able to sit there with my feet in the sand watching the sun come down.
The plane ride back was miserable…I was drenched in sweat and thought I was going to pass out from the heat. The left side of the plane was vibrating the entire ride…I couldn’t read because the vibration of my seat made me feel nauseous when trying to focus on words. Luckily, we landed safely and I felt better as soon as I got off of the plane and got some fresh air. Anna and Josh were waiting for us at the airport with their new car! It was a perfect end to a perfect vacation!

Stone Town, Zanzibar

I took a week off from Amani last week and traveled to Zanzibar with Cassie. Our plane landed in Zanzibar but nobody was getting off of the plane so Cassie and I waited with everybody else until we started seeing new passengers board the plane. Apparently everyone else on the plane was flying to Dar es Salaam and they were meant to remain on the plane but Cassie and I were supposed to have gotten off. Luckily, we noticed just in time and started exited the plane while everyone else was coming on and giving us really confused looks.
We met up with Shirley and George (a really awesome older couple that are good friends with Cassie) and with Shirley’s son and grandson. Our first two nights in Zanzibar were spent in stone town. Shirley and George took us to a restaurant/hotel/bar that overlooked the sea where we were able to watch the sunset. It was gorgeous. A European woman who has been living in Stone Town brought three monkeys into the bar. She had adopted them I guess and was taking care of them and keeping them as pets…they were adorable. One was drinking out of a coconut!
After seeing the sunset we went to eat dinner at Fodhani Gardens (I don’t know how to spell it). It is a big area along the sea where they have stalls and stalls of different types of food. I got a Zanzibar pizza but vegetarian and then got another one but with chocolate and bananas (sooo delicious)! It reminded me of the night market in Morocco.
We spent the next day wondering through the little alleys of Stone Town. It also reminded me of Morocco because it was just like a giant maze that went on and on but we somehow always ended up finding our way. Many of the shops had great scarf’s and jewelry (hard for me because I was trying not to spend money). We met some interesting people and everyone was super friendly there.
The hostel we were staying in, St. Monica’s, also happened to be the Slave Museum because the slaves were held in the chambers in the basement during the slave trade. Cassie and I found this somewhat creepy and started scaring each other at dinner by telling ghost stories. I woke up at 3 am to go the bathroom and remembered that to get to the bathroom I had to leave our bedroom and walk down the hallway from where I could see downstairs to where the slaves had once been held. Being the immature and scared person that I am I had to wake Cassie up to walk me to the bathroom…but I didn’t end up feeling bad because as soon as we got back to the room she got a phone call from her mother that would have woken her up anyway. There was a warning for a possible Tsunami heading straight toward Zanzibar and her mom called to warn us (her mom seems adorable by the way). Luckily, however it ended up as just a warning and no tsunami occurred.

Friday, April 2, 2010


This week was pretty good. It is exam week for the children so most of the older boys that would usually be in school were home by lunchtime. It was fun to have everyone around. On Tuesday, most of the kids and staff went to the Amani Farm to plant maize (which we use as food). I stayed back with the younger boys.
On Wednesday a lot of the kids were doing their laundry and Rovina and Christina were helping them so I decided to help out too. At one point I decided to take a break because I was starting to sweat too much in the sun and my hands were becoming raw…when I looked up I realized all of the kids and Christina and Rovina were watching me wash and thought it was the funniest thing ever. Christina is American but has been in Tanzania for a while and does her own laundry…clearly I don’t. They all tried to show me how they do it but I just couldn’t get it right. I thought the way I was doing it was fine but I guess I was taking too long and not cleaning thoroughly enough…the kids were fascinated by the fact that not only do I use a washer at home but that I also use a dryer.
Later that afternoon, the kids found a scorpion in a bucket. They tried to scare me with it but I told them that because it was not a rat I wasn’t afraid but that they better not touch it. Of course they kept poking at it with sticks and pencils and then finally trapped it and threw it to the other side of the fence.
There has also been the biggest praying mantas I have ever seen hanging out in the doorway of my room at the hostel. The other day I walked into my room to my roommate reading a book in bed with the huge praying mantas right next to her sharing her bed. She was not even bothered by it.
Three kids came to Amani this week. Two had never been before and one was one of the younger ones that came for the first time with Baracka and I saw him when I was in Arusha for the night. I am so happy he is back he is such an adorable kid with so much energy.
Also, last week a group of travelers stopped by Amani for an afternoon to hang out with the childen and one of the women that was with that group was from England or Australia and used to nanny for two families in Summit. She babysat for the Fortunes and the Rosetniks...what a small world.
Thursday was Cassie’s last day at Amani :( I am now the only volunteer at Amani and I know that the kids are going to completely overwhelm me…oh well. I’m really going to miss her-luckily I will be with her all of next week in ZANZIBAR! I am leaving on Saturday and can’t wait for a week at the beach.
It has been raining a lot here recently and because it is so rainy the bugs have gotten pretty bad. By bugs I mean crazy insects…not just mosquitoes (although they are also plentiful) but weird creepy things with huge wings that hang out in mass amounts just outside of the house. I hope it doesn’t rain during the day in Zanzibar.
I will post again when I get back from vacation.