Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
The great thing for my vegetarian sister Corey was that all the meals were created from the lodge’s own garden. I had some of the best veggies and salads ever. Gibbs Farm is quite small, so everyone eats in one cozy dining room, which I think adds a lot to the atmosphere.
The lodge also had a resident artist, which I thought was really cool. Being an artist, as a profession here doesn’t really exist, so it was exciting to finally see one. For example, of all the schools we have worked at, only one school has an art teacher. Furthermore, the lodge has a stunning view, the perfect thing to look at while sipping the free/local teas.
The lodge also has its own daily schedule of activities. Corey and I decided to give milking a cow a try (not my favorite), and the much more enticing bush baby feeding at twilight. A super cute animal.
Side note: the best thing to relax to on a beautiful African farm…..Glee with your sister
The Crater and the Lake
However, a major reason why we came to this lovely lodge was for the well known/beautiful safaris. On Saturday we had a full day safari to Ngorongoro Crater, which I had heard many wonderful things about and was really excited to go. We had to get up at the lovely hour of 6:30, eat breakfast in our cozy dining room, and then head off on our adventure. The morning was extremely foggy, and at times I thought I was driving through a cloud. We couldn’t see a thing. Our guide, Bashu, promised us the day would clear up so we could see something/anything at all, and I could only hope he was right. For the first hour we had to drive into the crater so we were on super windy roads for quite some time. There were a couple instances I thought we were going to side down the cliff. About an hour into our drive the sun finally broke through (very much Lion King style), and everything became crystal clear. The safari was amazing. We saw many lions, ostriches, wildebeests, monkeys, impalas, dikdiks, hippos, hyenas, and much more. We even got lucky enough to see two of the remaining ten rhinos in the park. We adventured about until about three in the afternoon and then we headed back to Gibbs Farm.
Since I had to get back to Arusha by Sunday evening, we only had enough time on Sunday for a half-day game drive. This time we went to Lake Manyaro, which was quite different than the crater. The lake is much more of a jungle atmosphere so we were excited to see something a little bit different. We saw many different new types of birds and monkeys. We also saw a lot more of the animals we had already seen but seeing them in this new jungle/lake environment made it new again. Sadly, at about two or so we had to head to the airport, marking the end of a wonderful weekend and the closing end of the Malone African Family Adventure.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The entire weekend was perfect, but it started off with an incredible experience on the way there—I got to fly the plane. We were the only ones on the flight and I asked the pilot, Liz, what the flying conditions were (flying is not my cup of tea, but obviously doesn’t stop me from traveling one bit). She told me it was going to be bumpy because it was hot and windy, I told her that I’m a bit afraid. She immediately told me to get into the co-pilots seat. I assumed this was because it would be the least bumpy place on the plane but I was wrong. Ten minutes into the flight she told me to take hold of the steering gear and told me how to use it and where to steer the plane. I did exactly what she told me to do and in three seconds she was writing stuff down, taking a water break, chatting with my family, aka NOT flying the plane. I was a little shocked and bit nervous but took full advantage of the opportunity. Lets just say I was so intensely concentrating that I didn’t have time to think about being afraid. When we landed she told me that flying a plane would decrease the fear of flying. She was right.
***more to come on this weekend***
Last week we made a huge age jump from teaching elementary school to high school seniors. I was honestly nervous because I wasn’t sure how the students would respond to being taught by someone who was only a few years older than them. However, I was beyond happy with the outcome.
Teaching AIDS in Africa:
Possibly the reason why I was most nervous when we switched to teaching high school was because our first lesson was to teach the different ways the virus can be transmitted. After talking with the teacher we decided to make an AIDS tree to show transmission by using the students to create a human diagram. I think the picture turned out pretty good. Afterwards we listened to the teacher go into detail about the virus. We thought the teacher did a very good teaching the lesson, however, there were a couple comments we were a bit bothered by:
-Wearing ‘style’ will prevent you from getting the virus
-Not using contraceptive pills will prevent you from getting the virus
-Engaging in economic activity will prevent you from getting the virus
-Going to church will prevent you from getting the virus (hmmmm)
Hopefully these different bits of information were lost in translation, aka make much more sense in Kiswahili…. But overall I loved working with the teacher. Also, it is interesting to note that AIDS, transmission, prevention, etc. is in the curricula here starting in first grade. Imagine that in the USA.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Today is July 11th and I’ve been in Tanzania for almost a month now, and have less than a month left here. I can definitely say that this is a summer filled with unique experiences. I had my first moment of genuine frustration while teaching this past week. I was teaching the pros and cons of the tourism industry in Arusha and the children just weren’t getting it. The final step was for the kids to find a solution to common problems that occur from tourists, but their brains just weren’t turned on. The lesson eventually ended and not all of my students had finished projects. I left the classroom upset, but after calming down I learned that sometimes you can only hope for some kids to understand bits and pieces and not always the big picture (at least not in one 40 minute, quick crash course). I have had great successes, but its sad that you normally always focus on the moments of failure.
In other new my mom and sister come on Saturday. I’m really excited about showing them around Arusha.
I only have two more nights at my homestay. It has been a wonderful experience and I’m really sad to be leaving them.
I’m pretty indifferent about who wins between Spain and the Netherlands. Win-win?
After quickly dropping off the stuff at my house, I was quick driven to the where the first communion party was being held. I knew the moment that I could hear loud music thumping from speakers that I was in for a surprise. I thought I was attending a wedding. The huge room was covered in pink and white and a large number of tables and chairs were set up. At the entrance was an open bar, this was my first realization that my family had put a lot of money into this event. When we sat down at our table I met a 16-year-old girl named Lisa who was a close family friend of my new host family. She explained to us that first communion is treated closely in the same fashion as weddings. That explained a lot. The party consisted of dancing present giving lines, champagne popping, about a million toasts, and one of the largest buffets of food I’ve ever seen. The party went from 3-8:30 at night. At the end of it all I was quickly whisked away by Nate’s family because my family had to stay behind to do clean up. It wasn’t until about 10:30 that night that I finally met my exhausted host parents. They really couldn’t be nicer. I knew everyone wanted to crash in their beds, so we all passed out shortly after.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Had a great yoga session with Katie. Was one of the first times I've been able to clear my head in the past week and a half. Beyond helpful. I can't wait to get back into a regular yoga schedule at home.
I leave for my homestay in three hours. Getting ready.
2. When talking to an elderly person- don’t put your hands in your pockets
3. Don’t rest your legs on the chairs/tables which you are going to use
4. Don’t cross your legs in front of elders (especially girls)
5. Too short shorts in villages are not tolerable
6. Show respect to elders when greeting them
7. Showing love and affection in public is not accepted in our culture. Hugging is ok
8. Yelling to call someone’s attention is impolite, just clap your hands
9. Sniffing food is not good, very impolite
10. Try to avoid giving money to children, it is strongly discouraged
11. Bedroom is a private place
12. Knock before entering in a house and greet
13. Be careful of the homeless people
14. If you go to someone’s house and you’re offered a seat-please do not reject it. Even if you are in a hurry, sit for a few minutes, it is considered a blessing to the family
Tomorrow we start our home-stay. I will last for two weeks. I don’t think I’m going to have any internet, so expect a big update around July 10th.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
We begin our homestay on Sunday and it will last for two weeks. I can't imagine a better time for this experience, and I have no idea what to expect. Tomorrow I start my after school soccer clinic, something I am also very much looking forward to.
After the conclusion of our multiple hour adventure, we walked down to a nearby hotel for a delicious lunch, which consisted of fresh fruit and vegetables with rice and curry. During the entire hike we were surrounded by avocado trees, so I was more than thrilled to see them for lunch. By the end of the day I was filthy, and took a shower the moment we got back from out two-hour ride back to the apartments. ones.
On our hike our guide explained to us the different types of trees, plants, and fruits that line the mountain. Our path was extremely green and luscious. The best part was when we reached a waterfall at the completion of our hike. However, to get to the waterfall we had to walk down an extremely steep set of “stairs” that were made of slippery mud. The railings of the stairs
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Reading photographs is a primary activity in LTP. First, the group looks at a photograph and lists all the objects in people in the photograph, aka simply stating what the photograph shows. Secondly, everyone in the group chooses a person in the photograph to write a creative story in the first perspective. This is my favorite part because it is great to see the creative side of whoever is doing the activity (in this case teachers, and soon to be the students).
After the reading photographs exercises, we decided to make a social studies ABC book with the teachers for their students. The different groups were assigned different letters of the alphabet and then we brainstormed social studies words with the letters we were assigned. Once the words were chosen we went around the town and took photos of the words. After shooting we went back to the school, printed the photos and created our alphabet flipbook. One of the great things this year is that the ministry of education is getting involved and trying to make LTP MANDATORY in the schools. Another amazing thing is that we are creating a camera and printer resource room so that the teachers can check them out to use in their classrooms (the teachers don’t even have visual aids in the classrooms). Overall, the teachers seemed really excited about LTP and the ones that I talked to said they were defiantly going to use it.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
For the next two weeks we have Swahili lessons everyday, and just about every day we are also going to be having workshops with the teachers that we are going to be working with. Next week we also start our after school projects with the children, which I’m sure excited about. Kir, Nate and myself are going to work an after school soccer program, can’t wait. The third week we are here we start our homestays, which will last for two weeks (this is right after we finish are Swahili lessons). During the homestays we will all be working at the same school so we will all be reunited during the day before we go our own ways at night. After the homestays we are going to be working at schools for most of the time, and one of the final weeks we are going to do workshops at a teachers college (this is awesome because it the equivalent would be teaching the education department at Duke how to use LTP).
We also talked about safety. For example what happens if you are cornered and someone has a knife—just give him what he/she wants. Therefore I will only WALK with just enough cash I need and my Africa phone. Everything else will only be brought when we taxi to and from places.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
First Impressions: I knew my two months in Tanzania was going to be an experience unlike no other when I looked out the window right before we were going to land in Kilimanjaro airport and there were no lights to be seen. We (there are seven of us: Kir, Cameron, Nate, Ian, Aadya, and Wilma) exited the airplane to a cool crisp breeze (its winter in Arusha). We entered the airport (which was really just one building) for customs and baggage, and were greeted by a mob for the customs line. Luckily all of our baggage made it and we immediately met Katie (our faculty advisor), Emma (our assistant advisor), and Pele (our local liaison, whom I will probably be mentioning a lot). We hoped into a huge van and we were on our way.
The ride to our apartments was peaceful, barely any of the houses/buildings we passed had power so we had to make our figures and building shapes in the dark. As we got closer to town (meaning there was electricity), we could see everyone huddled in bars and houses watching the first day of the World Cup. Our of nowhere we took a sharp turn to the right and we were at our new home. We are all living in Kundayo apartments, an extremely well guarded apartment complex with lodge, restaurant, and fairly nice apartments. The three boys are in one apartment and the four girls are split into twos. I’m living with Kir who was in my LTP class, I’m really excited. The apartments are fully stocked and the showers are warm (although the water pressure is a trinkle, so glad I chopped off my hair before coming here). Our beds have built in mosquito nets, wooohooo, and of course we have to boil all water that we use for drinking or cooking, and mouths have to stay closely shut in the shower. When we arrived at the apartments the restaurant had prepared mushroom soup and spring rolls since many of us slept through the last airplane meal. After our tummies were full we got settled and I’m pretty sure we all passed out after 48 hours of travel.
Learning out way: Katie was extremely brilliant because she had planned the day with us having the ability to sleep in. When we finally all started to stir around 11ish we made our first trip to downtown. Normally we will taxi to the center, but for our first day and to get our grounding we walked. This was my first true Tanzanian experience. The streets (which are very dusty) are busy with people walking all about. Numerous bars and restaurants line the streets however they mostly resemble strong standing shacks. The streets are by no means the cleanest and make DC streets look clean enough to eat off of, but they also have their fair share of gardens. We walked around the downtown area before walking to a former homestay mom’s restaurant. I have already failed at being vegetarian because she made an amazing beef stew. While eating we were also given our African phones. My number is country code (255) 0685464180. However, we were still sorta jetlagged so we then had our first taxi experience and went back to the hotel. For the rest of the afternoon we unpacked and relaxed. For dinner we all decided to go to an Ethiopian restaurant, I was pumped. The food was amazing and I now have a new love for local Tanzanian beer. I also saw the most adorable little boy, I really wanted to steal him away. After dinner we all pretended to be engineers so we could fix the tv in the lodge to watch the England vs. USA soccer game. After dancing with the antennae we were finally able to get the game. Stewart made a great point. Three days ago I was looking at 3D tvs because they are showing the cup in the US in 3D. Now I’m just trying to get a signal to watch the game. As most of you know we tied which I almost consider a victory for the US. Post game we all passed out once again.
Safari: Today was incredible. We all woke up around 7:30 to a Muslim call to prayer and hoped into a minivan safari vehicle (yes, they exist). Our drive to Tarangire Park was about two hours. It was an extremely bumpy/dusty ride but the sightseeing was incredible. We passed many villages, and I don’t think I will ever be able to figure out how woman walk with carrying water on their heads. The park was surreal. We were face to face with elephants, zebras, ostriches, impalas, a lion in a bush, and giraffes. I also experienced a whole new meaning to the concept of “off roading.” After an amazing afternoon, we all hoped back into the vans to make the journey back. The moment we got back Ghana won its first game. We could see the celebration in the streets.
We are currently all pretty tired (and tired of cars), so tonight we are going to eat at our hotel’s restaurant for the first time and watch the World Cup.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Also, if you would like to know more, please feel free to contact me about it.
Anywho, I'm currently waiting to board my flight in Richmond, Virginia. I fly to New York, NY to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro. We land around 8:30 pm tomorrow, so it is going to be a full two days of travel. I love to fly international so I'm actually looking forward to it. Our first couple of days are getting situated, and hopefully filled with watching the beginning of the World Cup. I can't wait. I feel so lucky to be able to watch it in Tanzania.
Also, my internet will/might be pretty spotty, BUT I will have my blackberry with me. Therefore please feel free to email me at email@example.com (I will be able to respond to that very easily). Or you can bbm me, my pin is 31112486. I will not be using text messaging though because it is extremely expensive. My skype name is: erin.malone.smolla (not too hard to remember).
I get back to the United States August 7th (leave Tanzania the 6th, but its another long day of travel).
Will update as much as I can :)