Going to Tanzania to visit my sponsor child was my primary reason for going to East Africa. Who knew that I would be so mesmerised and completely changed after the visit. Nairobi and Northern Tanzania, Arusha, were like no-where I had ever been before. There is so much room for growth and development- but the people also seem happy and thankful for what they have.
The people I met, the experiences I had, and the encounters with animals have left me yearning for more! I will visit Africa again in 2010 and seek interested people who want to carry a message and a mission!
Let yourself experience something completely new and open your eyes to the world of possibilities- and share those possibilities with people of the world.
Kenya, Tanzania – 10th – 14th December
Well, lets just say this was THE MOST interesting experience of my life. Going to Africa COMPLETELY alone, with no contacts apart from the tour group I booked it with. I experienced extreme culture shock after my HORRIBLE 5 hour flight on Kenya Airways, and after spending 2 hours or more on the Tarmac, arriving at my hotel to find literally a 2x3m room, I was not impressed.
After the initial panic attack and multiple attempts to contact any damily member I could, I grabbed some dinner. My lovely tour arranger Chris (www.eastafricashuttles.com), who was so welcoming, helped me to get in contact with mum. I was nervous at first but he really made me feel comfortable and assured me that no matter where I was in Africa, they would take care of me. For this reason, I think sometimes it is better to travel alone. Scary at first, but then you get more interaction with locals and you are often able to receive more help.
The next day I caught a very interesting 6 hour bus ride to Arusha Tanzania – It was interesting to say the least, the roads aren’t exactly the best and I wouldn’t call the bus ‘spacious’. But I got to see a lot more of the land this way and many small communities. Look, if anything, it’s an experience!! That’s what I will keep telling myself in any case…
The hotel in Arusha was much better and my lovely new friend Hakim helped me settle in, another great staff member of east Africa shuttles. But I had major panic attacks that night because I couldn’t contact World Vision and I was meant to be seeing my Sponsor child Lazaro the next day – I was devastated and I collapsed into bed that night over it, exhausted and desperately sad.
Turns out my panic was FOR NO REASON- All was fantastic!!!! Isack came to get me from my hotel, I got driven to the site in the Shambaraii district, I cried when I met the people in the office, it was the most emotional experience of my life. (im actually crying now as I write)
When I met Lazaro we both fell to the ground in a bundle of emotion, he was so overwhelmed,. For him, this was a completely one off and first time experience, he had no idea how to act. The whole village came out to meet me and I got to hold this sweet, kind, innocent little boy that I had been sponsoring for 4 years. We were in the middle of the desert and I was in a real MASAI TRIBE.
I cannot express how it feels to have a parent look you in the eye, like Lazaros parents did, and say thank you and know that you have done so much for this persons quality of life.
WORLD VISION!! PLEASE EVERYONE; SPONSOR A CHILD TODAY. Its only $40 a month and its the best thing you will ever do!! www.worldvision.com
We played soccer with the new ball I gifted to him and the family then cooked me a very special traditional meal. I gave him more gifts and we cried again, and then he gave me gifts for my family. A bracelet and a necklace. We took a tour of the village and I played with the other children. 2 children walked with me at all times on either side holding my hand. The translators and office workers walked with us and explained the community. INCREDIBLE. How many people get to experience this type of culture first hand. It is truly moving.
It was so hard to leave him but I know I will be back to see him. HONESTLY THE BEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE and I want to do everything in my power to help. I sat in the car on the way back completely numb- shocked to the core and extremely contemplative. an experience like this makes one feel so small. So helpless. It really puts you in your place and makes you see that there is so much out there that is just so much bigger than us. Bigger than we can ever fathom.
Another day in Arusha, just looking at Markets and a night out with Hakim. Then the 6 hour bus again and the fun with visas and immigration to get back into Kenya.
Next I would have a night and day in Nairobi. I went to Carnivore Restaurant . The most meat you will ever see in your life and the tastiest- including ostrich, turkey, beef and then some weird stuff like crocodile and giblets…. hmmmm.
My last day in Africa was so busy!!! I went to the David Sheldrick Elephant orhpanage (where I adopted an elephant), A giraffe sanctuary (where I kissed a giraffe) a crocodile farm ( where I held crocs, watched them feed, patted an angry camel, ran away from ostriches) and then back to the Elephant orphanage to play with my little Kimána and then off to my drivers house.
My drivers house was in a little village outside of Nairobi, where I was most definitely the only white person. I got to hold his new born baby and he said this was very special for his lovely wife Ann. I also met his nieces and nephews who liked playing with my hair and looking at my photos. A very unique experience to go to a real African home and simply through chatting with my driver and asking if he would take me there before he had to drive me to the airport. He was so happy and proud to take me there. He was worried that he would not be able to see his relatives and I had ended up having him out longer then it was meant to be. But being so obliging and giving me 110% service he stayed with me, so I said that I would go to his house with him so that he could see his relatives, If he didn’t mind. To see someone smile the way he did was such a great gift! The only sad part… my camera died.
Then another 14 hour flight…………………… to LONDON!
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=48882&id=511114236&l=7b55c05ed8– Visiting my sponsor child
Please Sponsor an Elephant. You then have the opportunity to go visit them in Africa and hold one as I did: