While I am writing this I realise this is my third week here already. Time flies! I am almost on a quarter of my trip… For some weird reason, days here pass like crazy and even though I have done a lot of things, I still have the feeling I just arrived.
I am here to help with the fundraising for the International School of Moshi (ISM), they want to become a UWC and that is where I have to help. I am working together with Gemma, and we created a task force of people who can help us. In the task force, there are many UWC alumni from or in East Africa, ISM alumni and other people interested. We are organising events her in Moshi, but also in Arusha and Dar Es Salaam. I hope I can actually help with something, because it would be great if ISM would be a UWC. However, I need to say that I am a bit hypocritical because I do not think I fully agree with the speed in which we got new UWC colleges the last couple of years. Of course, it is great that many people can have a UWC experience, but I prefer quality over quantity and as many national committees are already struggling with getting scholarships, how are we going to be able to pay for all these (extra) students? I still support a UWC here in Tanzania because I believe that we need another UWC on the African continent, same as in Latin-America. But before we are able to actually have this UWC, we need money, loooaaads of money.
Next to working with Gemma on fundraising, I also do a lot of other things. I joined a CAS activity where they go to the children’s oncology ward in the hospital here every Monday to play with the children there. We bring books, colours and paper and try to let them have a bit of fun, while they are laying there in the hospital. I think it is a beautiful CAS activity because you can see directly that what we do, has an impact and actually makes the children happier. I am a bit sad that we can only be there for less than an hour, that is really short.
I also make a lot of trips, last Sunday I went on another hash. I did one two weeks ago as well. A hash is a hike where you have to follow a path of flower (like, the white baking flower) and there are false paths as well and you have to figure out how to come back. This time we walked along irrigation channels, bamboo plants and flower fields. It was beautiful! When we came back we gathered at a house which had the most amazing view on the Kibo. To explain a bit, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and has three volcanic cones, one of them, the youngest and highest one, is the Kibo (5895 m above sea level).
On Saturday I joined a group of doctors from the doctor’s compound to Materuni, a village close to Kilimanjaro National Park. They showed us how to make coffee and then we drank it. When the beans are red, they pick them and let them go through a grinder to get the peel off. Then they have to be fermented for three days to pick out the bad ones. After that, they have to dry for 6 weeks. We got some dried beans and we had to grind them in a pot with a big stick and while you are doing that, they all sing and dance and it is a very happy process. Then they roast the beans, you grind again until it is powder and then you can add water and you have coffee. After we drank our coffee we went on a hike to the waterfalls. These waterfalls are the tallest waterfalls in Tanzania (I believe) and it was beautiful and made me feel so small. We went swimming and it was cold in the beginning, but after being used to Flekkefjord, nothing is really cold. I swam under and behind the waterfall, but the most beautiful was when you layed down in the water and looked up. Wauw. When we hiked back, the family where we made the coffee had made us a lunch and it was very good. The people were all from the Chaga tribe and they lived in a small town like an enourmous family. It was interesting to see and they were very welcoming.
Last Sunday I went canyoning. With quite a big group we made a hike through a canyon. A canyon is a river that goes between cliffs, because of erosion. For a couple of hours we walked through the water, swam, were floating in the streams and climbed on rocks. It was amazing, so incredibly beautiful. I do not have pictures yet, but if I have, I will upload them to my blog.
Another exciting thing I have done was a medical outreach, I went with some doctors to a small town, 5 kilometers away from the foot of the Kilimanjaro, where we visited two paraplegics. It was a good experience to see how they live here at home and how there family treats them. Also to see what happens with a patient as soon as he leaves the hospital. One of the guys had his own little shop where he sells sodas, biscuits and other things. We bought some sodas and drank them there, it was a good experience!
I will most likely have forgotten some of the things I have done, but I will tell them to you later then. For now, I am just waiting until it starts raining. It is so warm here and the humidity is high, which makes the heat very unpleasant. When it rains, the temperature will drop a couple of degrees, which would make things here a bit more bearable. (I discovered I do not think I am made for the heat, haha).
I hope to hear soon from you,
Loads of warmth from Tanzania,