Monday, August 16, 2010

Home Again

I have to first apologize to all of my blog followers because I left you hanging. It is true that I arrived home safely last Sunday (Aug 8th) with lots of luggage.

I must back track a bit though because I briefly described the Safari, but I still had a week left of Tanzania. It was a bitter sweet week and therefore kind of difficult to write about not to mention I was hit with my second illness. It wasn't as serious as before, but my symptoms weren't looking good for a couple days, so again I was being closely monitored by my lovely CCS staff.

When we got back from an amazing weekend on safari, we were met with a warm welcome by Edna and the rest of our CCS friends, but there was also a new group waiting to meet us. As much as it was exciting to meet the new group of bleary eyed travelers embarking on their new adventure, we were veterans now, and we missed our friends who had left.  Everyone in the new group seemed very nice and had a surprising amount of energy.

It was my last week of placement, so I wanted to have some fun to leave a lasting impression. We played all kinds of fun games like pictionary and bingo! We also set up a facebook page for Twisuka. On my last day I wasn't feeling very well, but I wanted to say goodbye so I dragged myself down Dar Highway for the last time. They were so sweet. We chatted and took pictures for a bit, then they presented me with a beautiful wood carving of a twiga, my favorite. Although I wasn't doing what I thought I would be doing at this placement, I really grew to love the people I worked with.

My leg after henna
As for the rest of the last week, I spent my time finishing a book, relaxing on the couch, and trying to take in every moment of my experience before I had to board the van to the airport. It was an impossible task. Nonetheless, I tried and in that attempt I had some clothes made out of khangas purchased at the Monday market. I also got henna done on my leg. While I didn't have any sort of design in mind when she started, it turned into a beautiful winding road that reminds me of my journey in Tanzania. Even though I wasn't feeling very well, I sat under the tree and watched this woman free hand this design in under ten minutes. Amazing! The week was pretty much like that. Before I knew it I was getting in the CCS van on the way to the airport. I said goodbye to everyone, watched some crazy people on the way like the guy carrying the fish tank full of fish on his head, and I was on my way to Dubai, JFK, and Orlando.

As much as I would love to share every moment I experienced on this journey, there is no way to put into words what I saw, smelled, tasted, felt, and experienced. I know on some level I have been deeply affected, and I don't think I will really know the depth of that change right away. I have been back now for over a week, and I still have not been able to process everything that I have been through. I am back to work, but I don't feel like I am fully engaged or involved in my work because part of me is still in Bagamoyo or somewhere else entirely. Maybe its jetlag; maybe it's a parasite; but maybe it is the start of something bigger, some kind of change in myself that I won't truly realize until I am able to allow my journey to complete itself. Thank you to everyone who followed me on this exciting ride.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Best Weekend Ever!!

So continuing with my birthday month, I was off on Safari. This was the trip I was most looking forward to, and rightfully so. It was four days of real vacation. The first couple started out a little bit rough with a Bates Motel impersonation hotel called Twiga. The water was brown and a little man made us stay in the dining room to eat "fruits."

This lovely stay was followed the next morning by a 6.3 kilometer hike up a mountain. Yes it was a mountain; I am not exaggerating. I can't wait to post pictures of the waterfalls and steep inclines for all of you people laughing right now. I was huffing and puffing for sure, but I made it to the end! Hooray for me. It was a stunningly beautiful hike through a rainforest though.

Later that day, we stopped at a restaurant somewhere in the middle of nowhere Africa with our driver Sam while getting really excited for our arrival at the tented camp Vuma. Now when I say tented camp I do not mean camping because as those of you who know me well, I don't do camping. This was a luxury tent on a platform with running HOT water and a deck over looking the mountains. It was a truly amazing African experience. Just like the ones you see in the movies. A lovely couple named Cat and Charlie own the place and it was a place you just didn't want to leave. They also had real butter, real coffee, and a full bar, so you really couldn't go wrong. There were even little furry bush babies that would hop onto the balcony of the main dining area and let you feed them.

I could really go on forever about this place and about the safari, but it is better told with pictures. I am also currently making an epic movie called "The Great Migration," which really gives a great feel for what we saw. There were three game drives in total, and we had the most amazing driver. He was able to spot lions out of no where from miles away. I will write more about him and the trip when I have a little more time.

For now, just know that it was an unbelievable experience that I think everyone should do in their life. We were feet away from the most amazing animals in an absolutely beautiful part of the world. Breathtaking!

Time is about up, so I will say lala salaama (sleep well).