Time Capsule Letter
Hi all, remember us, your old friends from home base in Rau Village in Tanzania?
We certainly remember you all and the sweet, engaging energy you brought to this place during your time here. It was an adventure that kicked off with your host family lunch and village walk, followed by that first dusty day of sanding at Mnini and Matoli Primary School, the students’ chaotic welcome, and Starburst get-to-know-you mentor groups.
Of course the day I didn’t go for the internet and supermarket trip, you all got free ice cream at the internet café before heading to Moshi Primary sports field for a spontaneous sweaty soccer game with a few locals. That night you all dove right into a lively debate on Tanzanian economic policy followed by a spontaneous discussion about reproductive rights that got you all sharpening your listening and “agree to disagree” skills even further.
Freezing cold waterfall swimming and Ava’s birthday serenade at the Kilimanjaro hike helped get you up those steep hills so you could enjoy sorting rice and singing in a circle at Tuleeni orphanage the next day. The newlywed game and a pretty raging (by the sounds of it) home base dance party that night proved that you all still had energy to spare despite the pace of our itinerary, and thank goodness for that!
Dancing and twaga twaga-ing at the coffee farm the next day took all the energy you could bring, then gave a little back with those cups of steaming Arabica coffee at the end. I still remember you all making those little clusters at night while you listened to music and talked until we herded you to your rooms. Later, you cut a rug with the Kiliwizards and explored your inner artists at Sam’s batik workshop.
The day after figuring out our leadership styles, doing a little group therapy in the process and figuring out how to make them work for us, you all tried not to cut off any fingers or accidentally poison us all while making the community dinner for cooking class. Not everyone was up for a walk in the midst of that, but those who were apparently found some chocolate along the way (and managed to keep Agape from eating it all!).
Before we knew it, it was time for the long-awaited safari. After a pit stop to load up on snacks at the glorious Arusha supermarket and MORE DRIVING, we hit the dirt tracks of Tarangire for some zebra, elephant, and giraffe sightings, among many others. The yogis and Mafia alike had just a little sleep before our big day at the Ngorongoro Crater. Hats were lost and recovered, lions and hippos were seen, and juvenile wildebeests were eaten, which helped that long drive home past a little more swiftly.
Before anyone knew it, it was the last day at the school, the last night at home base, and the last chance to appreciate the dust, roosters, big-hearted folks, prowling cats, and each other in person before boarding your flights back to your respective homelands. From Uweza, Lena, Agape, Siima, James, Moyo, the Jacklines (both!), Nema, and myself, thank you for all of the ways that you enriched our time here in Rau Village. We hope you are all thriving where you are, staying connected to each other and your O.M.G.s, and remembering your time in Tanzania fondly.
Julie and the Moshi Team
Wednesday July 17, 2019
It’s a cool day here in the Kilimanjaro region, perfect for a comfortable welcoming atmosphere for all of our kiddos arriving here today! The first 5 arrived and we enjoyed some welcome juice, a tour of the home base in Moshi, and a nice walk to the local school in our village.
The rest of the group joined us around 5:30pm. The hour drive to Moshi is always a nice way to see some of the different landscape and beauty around, the students really enjoyed it! They too received their welcome juice and home base tour followed by a delicious meal of mashed potatoes, veggies, and ground beef. We all played a little get to know you game and then the students were off to bed to sleep off their long travels. Until tomorrow!
The loving Tanzanian staff!
Thursday July 18, 2019
Hello from Tanzania,
Today was our first full day here. Many of us started the day with jet lag and exhaustion from travel, but we quickly managed to prepare for the day with excitement.
Before we could meet our host families and explore the town, we had a morning of orientation and learned the ins and outs of the experience to come and basic phrases in Swahili.
Once lunch time came around, we had lunch with our host families, then left to visit their homes. With them, we explored the local town and crossed an old bridge over the river before coming back to the compound for dinner. After dinner we had a group discussion about Community Values and created a flag with symbols to represent the values we want to incorporate into our community life.
Friday July 19, 2019
Today we started our first day of service where we got to go to a school with 469 students and 15 teachers. We split into different groups to start developing lesson plans. We got to play with them and learned lots about the history of the school. We worked together as a team and sanded down the exterior and interior of 2 classrooms that we will continue to work on throughout the week.
Later, we heard from two speakers today. One talked to us about education in Tanzania and the second was Uweza who gave us a very heartwarming and inspirational speech about her life and her journey to becoming a leader. We ended the day with a nice dinner and fun group game.
Hi Mom and Dad- Brandon
Miss you friends/family-Ava
Saturday July 20, 2019
Hi all, today was our preparation day for the Kilimanjaro hike! This morning we woke up, had breakfast, and we went into town to shop for fabrics and food in the local markets of Tanzania. We started off by purchasing handmade fabrics which would later be used to construct different articles of clothing, and other items to be custom-made by a local tailor. After a quick bus ride, we found ourselves at a local Tanzanian market to purchase snacks for our long hike tomorrow morning.
We returned back to home base for lunch and had our measurements taken for our fabric of choice. We then walked to a park and started constructing our own field for football (soccer) due to the lack of equipment available. About 20 minutes into our pick up game, some local kids joined us and we began to play a competitive game which ended up being a highlight of the trip thus far.
We came home to a marvelous supper which was followed with some splendid lemon cake for Ava’s 18th birthday! Now time for an early night to rest up for tomorrow’s hike.
’twas an amazing day!!!!!! :)))))))))) 😀
Emerson & Yago
Sunday July 21, 2019
Greg and Sophie here J We had an amazing day full of fun, adventure, excitement, and lots of naps. We got up at 8:30 this morning and had a delicious breakfast of toast, eggs, and yummy local avocados and fruits. Then, we headed straight to the bus for an hour and a half long trip to the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. We were all eager and a little nervous for length and difficulty of the hike.
We picked up our two tour guides in the small town right before the mountain. They were very knowledgeable, friendly, and fun! We started the hike in a small village and walked through local farms to get to our first destination, the waterfall. The local people were very friendly and eager to welcome us into their amazing community. Next, we continued our voyage up the mountain to a small dip hole where we stopped to swim in the freezing water and have the delicious lunch that our amazing cooks packed for us. After lunch, we continued our hike and reached a beautiful valley of greenery with a waterfall. Don’t worry, we all took a lot of pictures J. We continued our long voyage to the gate of the mountain where we witnessed hikers starting their climb.
Our ride home didn’t seem as long as the trip there since most of us fell asleep. Later on in the evening we started our discussion about ethical photography and voluntourism. The talk was very interesting and opened our eyes to some controversy about volunteering. We had the space to really think about why we are here and how this trip will benefit the community and ourselves. We are excited to continue learning and growing throughout this trip.
Miss you all so much, hope everything is well at home! Say hi to Chloe and the cats, and Ruby, Bailey, and Olive too.
Greg and Sophie
Monday July 22, 2019
Hi families! Lisa and Isabella here, today was a really great day. Started off bright and early to prepare for our daily service, where we officially began teaching and painting today. Groups taught 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade; first lesson of the week went smoothly and the students are very eager to learn. Recess was fun and interesting, with many of us joining the students to play football (soccer) and play games.
Over the last couple of days, many students have introduced us to local songs and dances, and vice versa. A large chunk of our service time is dedicated to improving infrastructure around the school. Today was focused on painting walls, priming them for a real coat tomorrow. Following our service, we made our way back to home base to wash up and eat lunch. As always, lunch was delicious (thanks to our cooking staff!) and reenergised us for the rest of our day.
We were given the privilege to speak to four HIV positive members of the Moshi community, who were more than willing to answer our many questions. The panel was both informative and transformational, as it allowed most of us to learn about HIV/AIDS which many of us knew little about. We are beyond thankful for the courage of the local women, who were able to speak to us through our local staff. We then took a short walk to Tuleeni Orphanage, where we got to learn about its history and meet the children who stay there. Additionally, we were allowed to help the orphanage by sorting through rice for rocks and buying apparel and accessories made at the orphanage.
After showering and unwinding, we spent our time eating dinner and reflecting on the transformative day we had. An eventful game was played, allowing us to get to know each other better. To end our day, we had a relaxing time in the common area chatting and resting up for the eventful day ahead of us!
With much love and happiness,
Lisa and Isabella
Tuesday July 23, 2019
Dear families and friends,
Today we woke up early and had a nice quick breakfast. We then got into our teaching groups and planned our lessons for the day. We drove to the school and greeted the students. The lessons went very well! Although it was rainy out, we still had a blast playing outside with the kids. After recess we started painting the classrooms.
We painted the windows blue today and will continue painting the walls for the rest of the week. Next we went back to home base for a fried rice lunch. We then headed to the super market for some internet and snacks. After that we took a trip to a coffee plantation. We there danced, picked coffee beans, and saw animals. At the plantation we were presented with all the steps in making
Coffee. The Lambert’s and Young’s may be receiving some grounded coffee;) later we had dinner and had mentor groups that discussed cross cultural differences. Overall today was an amazing day, full of laughs, dances, and songs.
Hi Maisy and Lacey!
Josie and Maddie
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Hi families and friends!
Today was a very cultural educating day. We started off by eating breakfast and going over our lesson planning for the day in our grade-level groups. Next thing was going to the school and teaching the children, followed by sanding and putting the final touch on the blue windows! After our service, we came back to home base to eat some enchiladas and veggies. After some down time, we were visited by 4 guests, women who live here near the village who teach groups about female genital mutilation.
Although quite disturbing, it was a very informational talk teaching us how women around different countries in Africa go through very harsh procedures as a rite of passages into womanhood (ask your kid about it for more details… it’s very hard to think about). After the guests left, we were visited by Uweza, who once again taught each of us amazing life lessons on how to be a strong leader and how to give back to people in our lives. Following Uweza’s lesson, we went to the primary school and were met by the Kili Wizards who taught us their tribal dance!!! Following the fun dancing skills we learned, we came back to home base and for dinner ate chicken and fries and played an eventful game of charades!
Sending much love!!
Thursday July 25, 2019
Today we woke up and had a delicious breakfast of french toast, eggs, and fruit. We then got together in our teaching groups for a quick lesson planning session. We gathered up our belongings, and loaded on the bus for another day of fun teaching. Grade 3 learned more numbers, Grade 5 learned about past and present tenses, and grade 6 continued their letter writing lesson. For service, the group prepared to paint the classroom. After a fun few hours of painting (and a little bit of a dance break) we headed back to home base where we ate a filling lunch of pasta and beans.
We had about an hour of downtime, then headed over to a batic painting workshop. Everyone made a unique traditional painting using a variety of dyes, wax, and black ink. After the workshop, we headed back over to home base for dinner consisting of rice and beef. After, we had a little late-night mentor group talk about different types of leaders and their purpose in the world and characteristics and a late night group conversation was a perfect way to finish out our busy, yet fun, day. After that, we headed off to bed to get a good sleep for another day filled with fun tomorrow!
Hi Mom & Dad!
Friday July 26, 2019
Today was such an amazing experience! We headed west of Moshi to Tarangire National Park for day 1 of our Safari excursion. We stopped at Arusha on the way for snacks at a large supermarket, it was delicious. After driving for a few hours, we ate a quick lunch and began the Safari. Today, we saw a wide variety of animals from zebras, to baboons, to wild boars.
Surprisingly, zebras are a lot more abundant than I had ever imagined. We even got the chance to see a cheetah, which is rarely seen in the area. It felt very rewarding to go on the Safari after such a great week teaching and working at the school.
P.S. Hi Mom, Dad, and Family, hope all is well
Saturday July 27, 2019
Today we had an early morning breakfast at 5:30am. Then we had the the second day of safari. Today was definitely the best day of the 2. We saw many lions, hyenas, monkeys and elephants. To me, the best part was watching two female lions eat a wildebeest.
Their faces were covered in blood and the hole in the wildebeest was massive. I was in the “dude canoe” jeep and we had a great time driving home and out of the park while playing lots of music that Jackie loved. After the safari we had a long drive back to home base to eat dinner. So sad to be coming home in 2 short days.
Hi Ava, Mom, Dad and Annika
I kinda miss you guys I guess
Hugs and kisses Cole
Hi families! Leila here.
So today was sadly our last day. We luckily had an extra hour to sleep in and so we had a late breakfast before heading to the school. There, we were warmly greeted by the teachers and students as usual and got to enjoy our last day with the kids during recess. Parting from the students was bittersweet since we got very attached to them and so did they. After the long huggs and farewells we headed back to home base. We got to say goodbye to our lovely host families and chat with them one last time.
After several leadership activities, we wrapped up the day with a bonfire and a friendship circle where we all complimented each other. Our last dinner was exquisite thanks to all the amazing staff. We are very grateful for being able to grow and have lifelong friends in an incredible place. Peace out Tanzania !
See you in 3 years everyone to summit Mount Kilimanjaro…
We miss and love you families
Cant wait to see you mama and baba -Leila