Unfortunately, my time here has been very short … but, I must say that it has been one of the sweetest times of my life! The people here–from Theresa and the MAD staff, to the volunteers, to the community and, of course, to the kids–are amongst the most incredible people I have ever encountered!
My week at the guest house was the start of a three-week long stay for me in Tanzania. (I will be moving onto safari in Arusha, and the Serengeti and Tarangire; and, I will be staying in Zanzibar for the final week of my trip.) I am so grateful that my Tanzanian journey began here! I feel that I probably gained the best and most “authentic” understanding of the people and community here in Tanzania by beginning my stay in Moshi.
Thanks to Theresa, Emanuel, Pina, Frank and my fellow volunteer Jonnie, I have learned many kiswahili words to help me feel as if I am at least a small part of the community here, which I know will carry me a bit for my entire stay in Africa, I have learned so much about the culture (everyone is probably getting tired of my millions of questions) 😉 … and, I have come to love the kindness of the people, the depth of their hearts and souls, and the simplicity of their lifestyles. It warms my heart every single time I greet a beautiful woman or gentleman with a “Habari Yako?!” and a huge smile greets me back with a “Nzuri!” or “Salama;” or, especially when I give a big “Ham jambo!!” to the kids and they all light up and flash big smiles to go along with their emphatic waves. 🙂
I am very sad to be leaving this beautiful place. I know I have the safari to look forward to next; but, the comfort of Moshi is something I am already beginning to miss.
My favorite memories will be of jumping off the cliffs at the waterfall in the Chugga village with Jonnie (and Alex–hee hee); swimming with Jonnie and Emanuel–Emanuel was such a sport to humor us and get in the water 😉 ; getting girl-time in with Jonnie 🙂 ; listening to Emanuel tell us how strong he is–like Tarzan … or maybe even like his namesake, Jesus 😉 ; of course, playing with the kids at the hot springs–feeling so content and so in love with the kids and their huge smiles and belly laughs as they splashed around and had so much fun with one another; dancing and being silly with Christina; watching Benny breakdance and smile so wholeheartedly; getting the best and biggest hugs, and most brilliant smiles, from Gifty; observing how wise and at peace Mwenda, Upendo and Innocent always seemed to be; watching Peter go nuts-o 😉 ; working on math with Exuper, while he turned to me and smiled, questioningly, everytime he tried a new way of working out a problem, but wasn’t really sure if he knew what the heck he was doing 😉 ; happening upon the bright beautiful eyes of Elliona and Juma looking up at me; absolutely just cracking up everytime I looked at Christopher, and having him give me back a half-all-knowing and half-completely-unknowing massive smile in response; watching Joseph engage with the other kids with such enthusiasm; receiving such at-ease and maturing smiles from Jonasi and Shabani; and, of course, learning so much about the language and culture of the people, and about the intricacies of Moshi and beyond, from Theresa!
We are heading over to the orphanage–for my very last time (though I so hope to come back)–in a couple of hours. I am so excited to celebrate the kids and the time I had here–with the children, Theresa, Jonnie, Emanuel (and maybe Frank?). We plan to learn traditional dancing, carry things on our heads and just party! I cannot wait … but I know it will be bitter-sweet, too.
Moshi–you will always reside in a special place in my soul, and you have forever overtaken a huge portion of my heart! For this, I will ALWAYS be grateful!
Kahweri, Moshi! Asante sana for EVERYTHING!
Upendo, Rebecca Lillig (San Diego, Calilfornia)