And that’s about the extent of my Swahili so far. Actually I’ve learnt probably about 4-5 phrases the most important being hapana asante which means “no thank you” because walking around and sticking out as a “mazungu” (foreigner) attracts a lot of local salesman. They come up to you and literally will walk with you for kilometers mostly being really nice and then they throw in a “oh and you should buy this shirt or bracelet I’ll give you a great price.” I’m proud to say I have no succumbed to the pressure of buying anything I actually enjoy talking to them and then making jokes about how if I buy off all of them I’ll have to start selling bracelets myself.
Day one has been amazing. Last night we walked in on the meds and nurses celebrating a productive week in Nkoaranga when we arrived at 930pm and decided to join them and went to a local bar called “Massai Camp” which was also a great experience. Took a “piki piki” (motorcycle) on the way back which was exhilarating being on the back of a motorcycle driving at ridiculous speeds at night in a country where the only rule on the road is that there are no rules.
Today we woke up and booked MOUNT MERU! So we’ll be climbing Mt. Meru which I believe is about ~4600 metres so roughly 15,000 feet so approximately 1200-1500 metres lower than Kilimanjaro but still a decent size and what is supposed to be a more technically challenging climb compared to Kili. We met John today who is friends with the orphan boys and is basically our chaperone most nights. Without him there’s a ton we wouldn’t be able to do (or maybe just not feel as safe while doing it).
We walked around got cellphones and walked through some markets basically just taking it all in. It’s amazing here people are so friendly and just genuinely interested in where you are from and what you are doing. I’m proud to say they love Canadians whenever I say I’m from Canada it’s always proceeded by a celebration and a reason why our country is so great. The meds are going to two different places tomorrow Upenda Leprosy clinic and Nkarunga which is another clinic to do some volunteer work and we’ll be connecting with the Doctors to make a schedule for us and maybe if we can figure out where in Tanzania Barack Obama will be, try to see him.
The hostel is great. People are great. There are two puppies at the hostel that were just born and I am convinced I am going to take one home it’s just a matter of which one.
I love the atmosphere here and the easy going nature of the people. “Pole pole” is a common termed which means slowly. Things run slow but incredibly efficient, a prime example are the “dala dala’s” which I will explain in a future post. We also met 3 amazing CCF boys (boys from the orphanage) Emma, Mussa, and Enock. John we met our first night and he’s been with us a bunch.
The group so far is really cohesive and we all get along really well. We have a good mixture of adventurous/cautious, Organized/whimsical, Assertive/easy going.
If the rest of the days prove to be anything like the first day for the dents (June 30th) I have no doubt this trip is going to be an experience of a lifetime.
Hacuna Matta (no worries)