My second time in Moshi, Tanzania has been a different, but equally fulfilling trip compared to my first visit here.
For one, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for the annual Kilimanjaro Kids Climb! That certainly was a different experience all together, and one that I am glad to have completed! A great group of people came over to participate, all with the same passion and intention to help send the kids to school and provide them with an education – something so important in life! Our dynamic with the group was key in getting us to the top; we had Jess, a little splash of happiness and positivity, Kurt with fierce determination and chivalrous ways, Adam and his quirky one liners giving everyone a smile, Val, well there’s never a dull moment with Mama V, and Kyle keeping everyone entertained while perplexing the guides with left of center questions (for example: can we wear our sleeping bags up to the summit?). But after the grueling hike on summit night, we all (I won’t say happily) made it!
Secondly, my first time here was in 2009, so the kids were a lot younger, some having only been introduced to the orphanage not long before. Their english was quite limited, a few quite shy, and the presence of volunteers was very new to them. The best thing about being able to visit them again is seeing how much they have all grown within themselves. Everyone has come out of their shells, and have very definitive personalities and roles within the orphanage! It is also great to be able to see more clearly each of their strengths and where their passions lie. Mwenda is very musically talented, he can drop a beat like no other (perfect for our celebration ceremonies!) and takes his studies very seriously. A couple of the kids, Benny, Juma and Peter have been practicing their dance moves, they can tear up a dance floor now, although it does take a bit of encouragement to get them going. Having come at a different time of year to last, I also got to spend more time and really get to know the older kids; Revo, Deo and Edward in particular. My first few days were spent visiting Neema and Omega’s villages as part of the project Jessica and Ruka were working on (village health surveys). This is always one of my favourite things to do, as they are beyond welcoming and happy to have you in their homes.
I also joined the trip to drop Neema and Omega off at school when the time came, which was great to be able to see the boarding school set-up and their school grounds.
Weekends gave us the most time with the kids, so the majority of our activities were done then! Kurt, a genius when it comes to American Football, taught the kids (and me too!) how to throw a ball american football style. While half of the kids were doing that, the other half were split into a soccer round robin. The sports day ran really well, and we were all covered in dust by the end!
The following day we took 10 of the kids to the YMCA for swimming, to help them get used to being in and around the water, and to have some fun! We all paired up with one of the kids, practiced kicking, breathing etc and ended the day with a running (in the water, obviously) race.
Thirdly, this trip was just me, myself and I. But it was a great way for me to connect more with the wonderful people I met!
I breifly revisited and stayed with my original host family, which made my trip beyond amazing! They are like my second family, so caring and generous! It really felt like I had never left. The rest of my stay was at the MAD guest house, which always has such a homely feeling to it, especially with the presence of our happy and cheeky cook, Pina!
To be honest, I’m already planning my next trip back!