A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: kristen_george

Zambia

Sadly, We Finally left Sun Rise of Life

We have officially left the center and have made our way to Zambia. We flew from Arusha to Dar es Salam and were planning to spend the night in the airport because our flight to Livingstone was leaving really early in the morning. However, when we arrived in Dar we were not allowed into the airport until our flight was boarding and there were only a hand full of chairs for people to sit on to wait for their flights and they were all occupied. We decided to bight the bullet and take a taxi to a nearby hotel and spend the night there which was the right decision or else I think we would have all been crabby and would have probably wanted to kill one another.

We arrived in Living Stone, Zambia this afternoon and checked into our hostel, Jollyboy Backpackers. After we checked in we booked a sunset dinner cruise on the Zambezi River and then we headed into the city. Living Stone was created purely as a tourist town and has a very Western look to it and the town itself is not very big. Our dinner cruise was really nice and we even got to see some hippos and crocodiles swimming near our boat. Tomorrow we are going to wake up early and head to Victoria Falls to explore and see how close we can get to the falls. We had planned to jump into Devil’s Pool at the top of falls but the water level is too high still and is not open. That was a huge disappointment because I was really looking forward to hanging my head over the falls but now I will just have to look forward to great white shark diving in South Africa.

I will hopefully post some pictures of Victoria Fall’s tomorrow night if the internet is working in my favor! If not I am only in Africa for 10 more days and then I will be able to post all of the pictures that I want!

Posted by kristen_george 11:21 Archived in Zambia Comments (0)

Zanzibar

This last Wednesday was our last day at Sunrise of Life so we had the very sad task of saying goodbye to all of the kids and to the center staff. On Tuesday night after dinner Mumma had all of the kids come in the main house and sit down so that we could all say goodbye one last time. Three of the kids, Zuwana, Kennedy, and Prosper were asked to say a couple of words about the volunteers time at the center and to say thank you on behalf of all of the kids. The three of them said that it was so much fun to have us around and that they will all miss us... And every single one of them at the end of their speeches said please never forget us which just made my heart melt and that was when the water works started. After they were done saying their thanks, Mumma made each of the volunteers who were leaving say a little something about our time at the center and at that point Katie and I were crying (Stephen probably was too but would never admit it) and we had to hold it back long enough to tell them how special they are to us and how much fun we have had with them the last few weeks and that we would never ever forget them... I also told them, that they are my Tanzania family and that I now have three moms, about 25 brothers, and 5 sisters. After that we said lala salama (goodnight) and told them that we would wake up early to say goodbye to them all as they were leaving for school, they all laughed at as because they thought we were crazy for wanting to wake up that early. But, of course we did and we sat in the back of the pickup truck in the middle of the driveway so they couldn't escape without getting a giant hug from the three of us. Even with all of our efforts Kennedy did somehow escape through the back way but he did warn us the night before that he would probably cry if he saw us so we were half expecting that.

On Wednesday afternoon we arrived in Zanzibar to amazing sunshine and warmth. That first night we stayed in a guest house in the middle of Stonetown and once we checked in we went out to explore the maze like city. Shortly after running into the ocean a man named George approached us and started telling us about the night market and the amazing food that him and his friends were preparing to sell later that night for dinner. So, we followed him to a near by park where there were tables lined with any kind of fish you could imagine, pizzas, cane sugar juice, kebobs and much, much more..... He convinced us right then and there that that is what we were going to be eating for dinner but because it was Ramadan we had to wait until sunset otherwise they would be fined if they started serving food any earlier than that. While we were waiting for dinner George was telling us all about his boats and all of the tours he and his friends offer around the city. So of course rather than booking through the hotels we book straight through George and arrange all of our transport top all of our other hotels on the north end of the island, a spice tour, and Stonetown tour by George himself on Sunday when we come back from the beach.

On Thursday we take a taxi about a half an hour East to the coast to stay one night a resort right on the beach. The night was amazing the place was beautiful and there were maybe five other groups of people staying there otherwise empty. Once we checked in I claimed my hammock on the beach and did not leave there until dinner time. The next afternoon we took another taxi North to the very tip of the Island to the resort Kendwa Rocks where the supposedly have amazing white beaches.... however, this meant that there were hundreds of white people and very touristy resorts...which we found out the hard way was too much of a culture shock for us coming from the center and seeing white people every once and a while in town and having to take bucket showers normally. Because of all of the people we thought it would be a good idea to book an activity to do to get away from all of the tourists so Katie decided we should go deep sea fishing. It was a great idea but, I am pretty sure most things that could have gone wrong....did go wrong... We woke up a 6:00 am to find it was cloudy and cold... which while we out fishing turned to cold rain.... our nice deep sea fishing boat was really a local fishing boat with one engine.... luckily it did not fail other wise we would be floating who knows where in the ocean right now....Also due to the approaching rain the waves where rather larger and it turns out that Katie and I don't do so well in semi rough seas so we were doing everything we could from "chumming the water".... and of course after about 2 hours we had caught zero fish (we might have been more lucky if we did "chum" the water) . At this point we all came to an agreement that it was time to go back even though we really had 4 more hours left to fish. Then to top it all off the only fish that did bight on our way back to shore broke the line right off.... but just in case it wasn't a fish out driver wanted to go back and check the fishing nets we passed by to see if the lure might have broke off on one..... So it the pouring rain and rough sea we go back to see if we can find the lure. I am pretty sure I don't have to go deep sea fishing ever again in Zanzibar.

Also, last night we decided to make a change in our itinerary and we decided to not go to Namibia next week because things got to be more complex with the planning aspect then we originally thought so..... we are going to go back to the center for one more week before we go to Zambia and South Africa. We a kind of pathetic but we just miss the kids and the mummas and there is just so much that can always be done there that we decided to change our plans.... Plus some of the kids are on break from school so it will be fun to get to meet them too!

I will keep everyone posted if any of our other plans change.

Hope all is well in Minnesota!

Kristen

Posted by kristen_george 06:41 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Last Week at Sunrise of Life

This week has been a very busy week for us at the center. The week started out for us with three new kids coming to the center, two girls and a boy. Their aunt brought them to our center because she could no longer take of them, their two younger siblings, and her own two children in their one room mud house any more. The three of them fit in great with the other kids and we have been amazed to find out that they know some basic English and the few days that they have been around the volunteers they are learning even more English.

This week is also crunch time to get all of our building projects done before we leave on Tuesday! Of course our project manager, Stephen, hurt his back and could barely even move for a couple of days so, being the nice sister that I am I stepped up to be his assistant project manager. It ended up not being quite as easy as I thought it would be to put in the rest of the fence for the chicken coop, I ended up walking back and forth between the coop and the main house about 50 times to ask Stephen if I was doing everything the way that he envisioned and to make sure that everything was up to his standards. There were even a couple of times that he thought we had messed up something enough to have him hobble outside to check our work and make corrections before we could move on to the next step. In the end though everything turned great and we are almost ready to put the chickens into the coop.

Also this week, Stephen, Katie and I a went to Moshi, a town that is about an hour away from us by bus, to visit a few of the Sunrise kids at their boarding school. Two of the boys were home a couple of weeks ago on break so we were just going to say hi to them and then were going to check up on two other kids that had to stay at school because they were studying for their form 2 test . When we arrived at the boarding school we found out that visiting hours are only on the last Sunday of every month and the person at the entrance said we had to leave and come back the next day. However, Katie and Nama managed to talk her way through that issue saying that we had come so far and could not come back the next day so they allowed us to stay. So then, we had to wait even longer for the staff to call the headmaster to see if it was alright that kids could sit and visit with us for a couple of minutes…well two hours later we finally got to see them but only for about fifteen minutes.

While we were in Moshi visiting the boarding school, we also took one of the kids who will be going into form one next year to look at Uru Seminary School which he would like to go to. Uru Seminary is one of the top 10 secondary schools in Tanzania and all of their students are thinking about becoming priests. Kennedy is the top student at Maji Ya Chi Primary School and has started a religion study at the center for all of the kids who want to participate so we feel like this school is a good match for him. However, on our tour we found out that the application process for next year has already been completed and interviews for the candidates were being conducted so we thought there was no hope of getting him in there for next year. As the tour went on Katie kept asking if there was any possibility of getting him in or if there was a waiting list that he could be placed on and I think by the end of the tour Katie might have ended up getting Kennedy a newly created waiting list.
The other night I thought that it would be a really good idea to rotate ends of my bed because I have started to feel the bar from the frame right under my back and wanted to try sleeping the other way to see if it would be any better. Well, it turns out that I sleep with my arms too close to my mosquito net at night (but didn’t know it because the other end of my bed has a wall) and I woke up the next morning with literally a hundred mosquito bites covering my forearms and hands and no matter how much anti-itch cream I put on them they just won’t stop itching. I think I will be sleeping the other way from now on even if that means there is a bar under my back.

Tonight the volunteers who used SOKO Safari company to book their safari and their Kili climb are going to the owner’s house for a BBQ. The owner and her husband are interested in finding out more about or organization and meeting a few of our kids so the four girls are going to get to come along with us tonight too which will be a really fun treat for them. We are also hoping that we can somehow partner with them to be a resource for Sunrise of Life kids who want to study tourism and can maybe someday work with their company.
Next week on Tuesday Stephen, Katie and I will be leaving the center and the amazing Sunrise kids and will be starting the second half of our African Adventure in Zanzibar! Can’t wait for the beach but I am starting to get sad knowing that I am going to have to say goodbye to everything here.

Posted by kristen_george 00:33 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Safari

Hello everyone!

Time is flying by here in Tanzania! Stephen, Katie, and I only have a little over a week here at Sun Rise of Life before we head off on the second leg of our adventure. This weekend we were supposed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro but we decided that we wanted to spend more time with the kids and make sure that all of the projects we have started are finished before we go.

Last week seven of the volunteers here at Sunrise went on a four day safari to three different national parks including Lake Manyara, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro. While we were on safari we were lucky enough to see "The Big Five" which include buffalo, lion, leopard, elephant, and rhino. We were also lucky enough to see many other animals including a cheetah and her two cubs, which our guide said he hadn't seen in over a year. Most of the animals that we saw on safari were literally right outside or windows and they could have jumped in our vehicle at any point if they wanted to. We were also warned at night to be careful if you had to go to the bathroom because you never knew what animal might be wandering through the camp sight and the night that we camped out on the rim of a old volcano in Ngorongoro National park you could hear a lion growling outside of our tent maybe 500 feet away.

This last Thursday night Stephen, Katie, and I went with some older Sunrise of Life boys to do a night outreach for kids who are currently still living on the streets of Arusha. Many of these kids are on the streets because of bad family situations and either ran away from the situation or their parents could no longer take care of them for many different reasons. Also, many of the kids are addicted to glue which they sniff in order to keep the hunger pains away. Because of their addictions these kids are not suitable to be placed at a center like Sunrise of Life and there is no where for them to get clean so they are basically stuck out on the streets. Many of the boys have had little to no education and because they are so much older then the kids at their education level they have no hope to be put back in school because they can be a danger to younger kids at their education level. For the outreach there were 13 of us went out 25 loaves of bread and 45 juice boxes to hand out to the kids and Katie brought basic medical supplies so that she could treat open wounds. It was an amazing and eye opening experience for me knowing that some of the kids at Sunrise of life had been living out on those exact streets just a few years ago.

In just a little over a week Stephen, Katie and I will be leaving for Zanzibar and then off to our adventure in the southern part of Africa. I hopefully will be able to post one more time before we leave SOL telling about all of the projects we were able to accomplish. Then once we are traveling it will hopefully be easier for me to access the internet.

Hope all is well back home!

Kristen

Posted by kristen_george 04:35 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Mambo From Tanzania

Maji Ya Chai

Mambo everyone!

Katie, Stephen, and I made it safely to Tanzania and have settled in nicely at Sunrise of Life. Stephen is busy back at the orphanage working on building a trench with some of the older boys today so that a new water line and pump can be installed to fill the water reservoirs around the orphanage. We have also been busy arranging the other projects which include building several movable chicken coops, residing the big boys dormitory, tiling the kitchen walls, and several other things. It is a little hard to get things moving here because everyone is on their own time schedule and if they say they will be somewhere at a certain time one day, they may just show up a couple of days later but everything is slowly getting ready for when the rest of the volunteers arrive.

From our house at Sunrise of Life on a clear day you can see both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru but so far last night was the first night that I was able to see either one of them. The temperature here is surprisingly cool and most days we have to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts, especially when the sun goes down.

All of the kids at the orphanage are amazing! Most of the older boys speak very good English and the more they get use to us the more they want to speak it to us. The little kids also speak English very well and love learning new words from us and the are giving Stephen and I Swahili lessons too. All of the kids love to play soccer and it seems like there is always a game going on somewhere. I have joined in a couple of times with them and am amazed at the skill level they all have.

Time is running out on the computer so more to come soon!

Hope all is well back in the USA.

Kristen

Posted by kristen_george 01:02 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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