First of all, the volunteers in my region organized a girls' empowerment conference. This involved 5 days of sessions covering self-esteem, menstruation, HIV prevention, and so on. Every volunteer brought 4 girls, so overall, we had about 60 girls running around, acting like crazy yahoos! Now when you get a bunch of American girls together, they paint nails, braid hair, and talk about boys. Tanzanian girls might do some of that, I'm not really sure, but they do something that is unheard of. They wash clothes...a lot of clothes. In fact, they used every drop of our bathing water every day of the conference washing every stitch of clothing that they had worn that day. Pretty much though, the conference was a blast. The girls learned so much and for once, I felt like I was doing my job.
After the excitement of girls conference, school wound on down and I counted down the days till family came. And let me tell you, I had an entire troop of family visit: my mom, dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, 3 sisters, and 1 brother. It was a whole lot of entertaining, tour guiding, and translating, but it was such an outstanding month of family. For the first couple days, they got to see the excitement that is Newala. I even convinced 1 sister, a brother, and my dad to stay at my house, even using the pit latrine. Everyone got to see the market, my school, and meet all of my friends. After Mtwara, we went on to Zanzibar. We stayed in my favorite hotel called Zenji. It is a little bed and breakfast that has the greatest staff in the world. Zanzibar was incredible, as always. We went on a spice tour, prison island to visit the giant tortoises, snorkeled, visited monkeys at Jozani forest, swam with dolphins, and of course, shopped till we dropped. By the end of our time on Zanzibar, I was besties with a good number of the shop owners. After Zanzibar, we headed up north for a safari. It was incredible. All of the hotels were insanely nice and I stuffed myself silly every day on scrumptious foods...nom, nom, nom!! All in all, we hit up Lake Manyara, Ngorogoro Crater, and Serengeti parks. We saw everything: elephants, cape buffalo, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and everything else. We also had a pretty fun cultural experience also. We went to visit the Wadatoga tribe. During our visit, we got to a home and talk with the women and then visit the men who are expert blacksmiths. They demonstrated how they make brass jewelery and arrowheads and tried to teach my brother how to play a fiddle-like instrument. The next morning, we also got to join the Hadza tribe on a morning hunt. We showed up to their campfire, and first thing we see is a kid around fourteen, tokin' on a joint. Just what you want, the group that will be shooting bow and arrows around you getting nice and stoned. It turned out alright though, as in nobody got shot. They did manage to shoot some birds and a kangaroo shrew (rat-like thing).
Really, it meant so much my family coming to visit. I was so excited to show the crew where I have lived for the past two years. Karibu to anyone else that wants to fit in a last minute visit before my time here is up in October. Well that's all folks!
|Babies on the spice tour|
|Aldabra Giant Tortoise|
|Red Colobus Monkey on Zanzibar|
|Ripley Sea Turtle|
|Grinding corn flour|
|Playing music with the Wadatoga tribe|
|Practice shooting with the Hadza tribe|
|Entrance to Ngorogoro Crater|