Thursday, August 20, 2009
So I have discovered that internet in Tanzania is VERY slow. But, I made it safely here on Sunday night to Arusha, which is in the northern part of Tanzania. I will be here for the first month, living with the two other SALTers to learn Swahili. We're staying a ways north of Arusha right by Mt. Meru (which I want to climb! It's about 14,000 ft I think). Unfortunately, we're staying in a house by ourselves that is kind of in a secluded Christian complex, so hopefully we will have some opportunity to explore a bit.
We started our Kiswahili classes on Wednesday, and I already feel like we have learned a lot! Our teacher is very young and enthusiastic and is at our house every day (week day) for 6 hours. It's pretty intense, but I am expecting to learn lots.
I don't have any new pictures yet, but I wanted to let everyone know that I made it here safely!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
My flights all went smoothly. Luckily I am talented at sleeping anywhere, so I slept for most of the duration of my flights. I only had a small layover in Chicago, where the three of us from Seattle met up with several other SALTers. But A few MCC representatives were waiting for us when we arrived in Harrisburg (it was a long way to Harrisburg…) and helped load about 15 of us and all our luggage into vans to take us to MCC headquarters in Akron.
The MCC complex here is so nice! We are technically just at the “Welcoming Headquarters” where volunteers go through for training before shipping out to their assignments. There are 4 different houses/dorms that are all themed of different continents. I am in the Africa House Jand rooming with the other girl who is also going to Tanzania. She’ll be in a different city than me, but I just found out that me and her and the other guy going to Tanzania will all be in Arusha (northern Tanzania, near Kili!) for the first month for language training.
It’s been interesting talking to other volunteers here because there are also IVEP (International Volunteer Exchange Program) young adults here from all over the world. There are several from eastern Africa that I’ve been talking to, and they have been preemptively teaching me little bits of Kiswahili. Jambo.
Today we didn’t have many things scheduled so there was lots of free time to do things like organize a game of ultimate Frisbee and walk around to explore Akron. I even saw an Amish couple ride by in a horse and buggy! And I walked to an Indian food store and bought a samosa.The Indian man who runs the shop is actually from Kenya and he made us a special cup of complimentary chai masala and called us his children.
The rest of the week sounds like it will be pretty busy and a lot more scheduled. Well, nime choka (I’m tired). I took a few pictures around the campus here, they’re posted below.