Hannah Bates - High School Specials, Care & Community in Tanzania
Arrival in Tanzania
Initially I was very worried about all the possibilities that could go wrong; having 3 flights without my parents and what should I expect arriving in Tanzania. However all the flights went smoothly and we arrived in Tanzania safely. I flew with two other volunteers also doing the High School Specials in Tanzania. The reason I chose Tanzania was because I love Africa and have travelled to South Africa before with my family and thoroughly enjoyed it and Tanzania was a place I hadn’t heard much about and wanted to visit.
My Host Family
When I arrived at Kilimanjaro airport the Projects Abroad team was ready to take us to our different host families. When I arrived at the Mungure household I was welcomed warmly into the house and we all sat down for a lovely lunch. I was in this house with 3 other girls on my project and we all loved the family. Jeremia our host dad was always asking us how our day was and telling us about his life and asking us about our home countries as well as always having some hot water so we could take a shower. His house was really traditional and very nice but we had to get used to taking bucket showers which were at first very tricky but soon we realized it was easier if we didn't use any conditioner on our hair. Also quite often the power would be off for long periods and we would eat by candle light and lanterns - at one point the power was down for two whole days!
Care and Community Project
The project was amazingly planned out so that in each week we worked in a different orphanage. The first week we worked at Tumaini Orphanage and the second at Good Hope School and orphanage. The orphanages were very contrasting as the first was a wealthier orphanage where all the kids have sponsors whereas the second orphanage was much poorer and more basic. However, at both places the children loved to play with you and often attached themselves to you - they loved to be picked up and spun around and were even just happy to hold your hand.
At this orphanage the kids were at first very shy but very welcoming and after the first morning we were all great friends and we had started to remember most people’s names. The kids were amazing and loved to play games and all worked well together and looked after each other. They also loved to take pictures on your camera and actually some of the older kids did take nice pictures. In the mornings we did a project which was building a playground and painting a mural on the playground wall. Once we were finished it was lovely to see all the kids having lots of fun crawling through the tunnel 10 times in a row and just staring at awe at the watering hole scene painted on the wall. It was really sad to have to say goodbye to them but on our last afternoon we brought ice-cream and chocolate sauce and enjoyed the treat with the kids - they all loved the ice cream and we taught them to chant the rhyme: “scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream”!
At the second orphanage and school we worked in the mornings clearing an area of weeded grounds so the children would have somewhere to play and we also helped to paint the exterior of the dormitories. It was nice to know we were contributing in making their home a nicer place for them to live and also we had lots of fun doing it especially with our leaders Jenna and Regan who were very funny and referred to us as their children. Here the kids loved to sing to us and perform dances which were really special and the kids here spoke little English but we could still communicate and even get to try out some of our Swahili which we'd been taught shortly after arriving in Tanzania.
On the weekend we had an amazing time on safari and as well as seeing lots of giraffes and elephants and zebras we got to see a cheetah really close up. We also got to visit the Bushmen who live a really nomadic life that is so far apart from the civilization in the towns. They sleep on the ground with no roof above their heads and wore just animal furs. They even had a tribal punishment that would teach the children to behave! We got to participate in their tribal dancing and even go hunting with them which was such an experience because we just followed, running after them, through the bush and saw them shoot down birds and even kill a komodo dragon and cut it open! Then we got to have a go at using their bow and arrows which were almost as tall as me!
Throughout the two weeks we had a great mix of activities including visiting a snake park and a Massai school as well as trips to restaurants.
I had an amazing time in Tanzania and in 2 weeks we were able to do lots of work at the orphanages as well as have many cultural trips such as to a Chaga tribe village and a waterfall walk in the jungle and had lots time to bond with our host families. I loved the night we spent with all the local children on the soccer field where we got to play with all the local kids that waved to us on the bus everyday as we passed them. The food was very good especially the local specialties and we had one really nice evening where we ate under the stars around a camp fire.
I would like to thank Projects Abroad for the best two weeks of my life. I will definitely return to Tanzania and continue to do more volunteer work.