(Image from Google)
My journey begin via Dublin (only because the flight were cheaper). It has been one of the most expensive trips as of yet- bear in mind that I'm a student. haha
Anyway, from Manchester, I flew to Ireland, put a night there, then flew to Dubai, from there I flew to Dar Es Salaam, stayed a night there and then flew to Kilimanjaro airport from which I was picked up from the airport to the volunteer house. I volunteered using an organisation called IVHQ who tied up with a local volunteer organisation called Tanzania Volunteer Experience (TVE).
My 3 weeks there, I volunteered as a medical volunteer, but at the same time, that didn't stop me from visiting 3 different orphanages as well. The experience as a whole is completely different from what I expected. Now, this may shine a different light on a lot of things and I definitely don't mean to influence everyone to assume ill things about African countries, but this has been my experience and it may vary for everyone else.
Personally, being mistaken as an African myself, I was always given quite a good price for everything. But as a foreigner, which is termed as Mzungu (it is rather offensive in my opinion) you're technically ripped off for a lot of things as when you come to their country, they just assume that you have the money.
For example, the first day that I had reached Dar Es Salaam, it was nearing night time and all I wanted to do was just to get to some place safe and just have a decent rest. You see, I've heard so many scare stories of Africa, so I was rather frightened myself. I mean, it should really just be viewed as any new country that you go to but obviously I didn't know that then.
A cab driver drove me to a hostel which was in close vicinity and charged me $20 for the taxi ride but because I rather just paid the cab driver than lose the approximately $800+ that I had in cash, I chose to just paid him and spent another $20 on the hostel, which honestly, I don't really mind as many place said the same thing. I promised the cab driver another $20 as I honestly had no one and although the cab driver was very privy as of what I was studying and where I came from and if I was MARRIED, which was constantly asked, I just had to trust this person that I didn't know.
From having my room almost broken in in the wee hours of the morning to being ripped off to arriving to my intended destination a lot later than expected due to bad weather conditions, I was glad I made it safely.
At the volunteer house, I met many new, amazing people and many locals whom I had created such a wonderful bond with them and truly, I miss them. My experience volunteering at the hospital made me extremely scared as I had to replace cannulas and remove catheters which I was extremely scared of but this lady, Sanura, she took me under her wings and thought me a lot of things like how to administer IV (intravenous) and IM (intramuscular) medication and although I was terribly afraid to have done all those things but I'm glad I did as I got a very hands on experience and from receiving a baby via a C-section to watching a woman give birth vaginally, that was definitely something that I will never forget.
Apart from that, going on a Safari was also one of the best experiences I've had. Although, honestly, I think I'm the type of person who gets bored extremely fast, so after awhile, I did get bored. But I got to see all the top 5 animals in the wild, watch a gazelle get chased by a hyena, sleep in a camp site with elephants being merely 500m away from me, and climbing up a safari truck and stargazing, it has been one of the best experiences I've ever had in years, although France is still unbeatable as of yet.
I established a really close relationship with my house mama, Felister and our house cook, Mama Neema, but really, she was more than that and I love them so much. I had so much fun watching Felister and Zaki connstantly fight with each other playfully. I attended church, got stared at, got honked at. Rode dala-dala(mini vans that act as public transportation) filled with 23 other people and survived being in Africa.
All in all, although Africa has been extremely good to me, I sometimes felt that some poeple really just wanted money. If you went to some blogs, they would also tell you similar things like how they felt that it was a vile business where corruption was everywhere.
A lot of people genuinely don't have money and they find it difficult to take care of their children, but I've honestly gained so much from this experience. $600 is how much it costs to sponsor a child to go to school, in case you were wondering, and this is for a year and education is not free. So, you can imagine how so little people can attend school. It saddens me.
But Tanzania is looking for change, CCM has always been the ruling party ever since Tanzania gained independence, but now they're looking for change, the people are getting more aware and Chadema (people power -peace sign) is what everyone is voting for. Results will be known in late October and if Chadema carries out everything that they have promised, we will see Tanzania becoming an a lot better country.
Needless to say, I will be going back to Tanzania soon. I just need to travel the world in 3 years if possible.
Confession: It's extremely scary to travel to certain parts of the country or any country in any case as a woman and as a muslim that dons a headscarf. I know this might feel foolish. But as of now, I have been extremely vigilant and blocked out any rude comments but I am extremely afraid of facing physical harm but I love travelling. I really hope that it would be different. But with all the pressure being faced by Muslims, it's really hard. Honestly, it makes me sad.
On another note, I really hope the Syrian Refugees will find a place soon. I wish I could help. I'm also looking for a job as a charity fundraiser, so, hopefully, God wills, I will be able to obtain one by the time I graduate in July in 2016.
The Maasai Tribe
These pictures are from cameras of friends, my camera, well, I have similar pictures, but because I forgot to bring my DSLR, had to take it on my NOKIA.
Till my next post.