Hi family and friends!
What an amazing day we have had here at MAD’s (Make A Difference) guesthouse in Moshi, Rau! We first set foot on Tanzanian soil yesterday at 2:30 AM. After a 45 minute car ride we were met at the guesthouse by Naomi, a MAD volunteer alumni from Sydney, Australia. We managed to catch a few hours of sleep before enjoying breakfast, orientation and Swahili lesson by Janeth (MAD’s local manager), a trip to the local market, and of course meeting and hanging out with 5 of the students that will be staying here during school break: Eliona, Peter, Jonas, Innocent and Joseph!
Pina, MAD’s lovely housekeeper and cook, has served up delicious local food from the moment we arrived! So far we have tried Ndizi (Plantain Stew), Pilau (Spiced rice and meat – this feast she served up for 22 people today!!) and Chipsi na Mayai (Tanazanian Omelette). Needless to say, our kids’ taste buds are being challenged and expanded, but so far they have liked everything! I think Patrick was happy to hear that many of the other boys shared his favorite foods of Pizza, hamburgers and kebabs – in that order. Food gone global!? Personally I think I will bring Chipsi na Mayai back to America! At least, I will be bringing MAD’s cookbook “Kilimanjaro Kitchen” back home with me ☺
Speaking of Kilimanjaro; it has remained covered in clouds so far and we have not been able to see this majestic mountain. But, we are not giving up! We are going on a visit to a local village tomorrow and we remain hopeful that the mountain will reveal itself !! It’s at the end of the rainy season here. A few showers and clouds are still remaining making it humid, but relatively comfortable temperature-wise. It is unbelievably green, lush and beautiful with periods of clear blue sky and a sun baking the ground into a reddish brown. The colors are very intense.
Anyhow, back to today! Our first day of meeting the 22 students that MAD is helping with an education! This organization is simply amazing – check it out at http://www.gomadnow.org! It is school break here as well (for the month of June) and most of them are off (it depends a little on what school you are in). Some of the kids spent hours on a bus to get in for tutoring, activities, fun and food – and hours to get back home at the end of the day! It is a different world for sure! George, MAD’s tutor also spent the day here and we had various group activities with the students – expertly run by Janeth! Together we discussed and presented group work on: “If Tanzania had no trees… (we had to work on finishing this sentence and making a paragraph out of it)” and “If people in Tanzania burn plastic then…..” (both issues that are threatening Tanzania!). John and I were both impressed with the kids’ knowledge of the subject matter and their ability to discuss and express themselves in English!
After such heavy topics it was great to run off to the field and play football (soccer) and baseball and just have some fun! John is brainwashing the kids into liking Liverpool and Patrick is setting up baseball training camp. It is lovely to see that the kids are finding each other through activities, games and sport! We are so happy to be here, to be able to experience life in Tanzania with Make A Difference and we are so amazed at the wonderful welcome we have received! Can’t wait for tomorrow!!