Saturday, June 7, 2008

The First Week

Hi, everyone! I'm sorry I've been so bad about getting posts up - it's a little difficult. The internet cafe is a little far away from our apartments and we've been pretty busy. We haven't started much of the LTP stuff this week - it's just been a lot of adjusting and getting oriented. We have a 1.5-hour Swahili lesson each day, which I am enjoying a lot. Being able to speak some Swahili is definitely essential to functioning independently here, although most people speak at least a little English. We have someone here in Arusha who has been our main contact and organizer - his name is Pele. We've made some friends through two of Pele's sons (they're 15 year old or so). One of our friends is named Hillary, except he is a guy - we all found that pretty funny. Having Tanzanian friends has been essential as far as our safety and getting oriented to the culture here.

This week, we visited the Arusha Declaration Museum, which is a very simple display of some text, pictures, and items that helped us learn about the basic history of Tanzania. Yesterday, we drove two hours and spent the day at Mt. Kilimanjaro. We drove to the place where people who are going to climb Mt. Kili start hiking, and then we hiked back down to the town where we had met our guide. The hike was about three hours long, and it was really neat. The area is mountainous, green, and lush but the people living there are extremely poor. We visited a couple of waterfalls during the hike, ate lunch, visited a coffee "plantation" (basically a shack and some coffee plants in the woods), and returned to Arusha around 7:30 PM.
We're all slowly adjusting to life in Arusha, but we're having a great time. I'm really looking forward to getting to know some kids when we start teaching - the kids here are really cute. Next week we start LTP workshops with the teachers with whom we'll be working. By the way, if any of you have any questions, feel free to post them on here as comments! I hope you're all doing well.

The group outside of the Arusha Declaration Museum, from left to right: Pele (our contact here in Arusha), Alia, me, Michelle, Baldeep, Lindsay, Minette, Ami, and Pele's son Shahfi. The mural we're standing under was painted by Pele!

Some kids across the street from our apartment -so cute!

Here's a picture I took during our hike around Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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