Home safe and sound

Karibu to Canada!

After approximately 40 hours of travel (5 cities, 4 planes, and a heck of a lot of movies) the four of us were proudly greeted by our families in Winnipeg. They brought us some amazing snacks that we had requested before we began our journey (safari) home. Despite the length of time it took us to get from Bunda to Winnipeg, we had a pretty smooth trip back. We shopped a little bit in the Kilimanjaro airport, ate some cheese in Amsterdam, and rushed for some Starbucks in Toronto. 

This truly was an experience that none of us will forget. I had an amazing time, meet some wonderful people and gained some awesome new friends (who I already miss). 

Thank you to everyone who shared in our experience. 

Nikki

 

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Bye!

Serengeti Safari

Mambo!

We just got back from our Safari, and a stay over in Serena Wildlife Lodge! We were picked up by our driver in an extended Toyota Land Cruiser with a pop up roof! We packed in, opened our windows and got our cameras ready. It’s so cool, as we started driving we realized that the gate to the Serengeti is only about 15 minutes from Bunda, basically Bunda’s backyard. There was some very funky trees and plants, and we could see herds of wildebeests in the distance. The roads inside the park were surprisingly pretty smooth, especially compared to Bunda’s roads! We were able to stand up during the drive to get a better view of the animals which was super cool!

We saw herds and herds of wildebeest [myumbu]  and zebras  [punda milia]. Our guide told us that they coexist and protect eachother in the serengeti. The zebras are beautiful, and I think the wildebeests look wise (probably because of their beards). Next we saw some giraffes [twigas] which are very pretty and they have extremely cute faces. They look kind of knock kneed, and a bit socially awkward! We went to this river where there was a huge suspension bridge over it. Zak, Tony and I followed some baboons over the bridge and it was a spectacular view. Afterwards, we spotted some hippos taking a mid day bath in the river. They were big and kind of scary but cute at the same time!

After driving through a lot of grass and trees, we spotted a lone female lion [simba] resting under an acacia tree. We got within 10 feet of her and managed to get some incredible pictures. Eventually she got sick of it, got up, and started walking away. We travelled for a while and came upon a group of elephants [tembo] around a ditch full of water. There was moms, dads, and babies. Again, we got within 10-15 feet of them. It was incredible. They need a ton of water in a day and emptied that ditch in no time.

Later on, it started getting cloudy and then poured so we headed to the Seronera Wildlife Lodge. We had a delicious supper and a Serengeti Lager, while we enjoyed a breathtaking view of the Serengeti. The lodge was very cool, built into the side of a hill maintaining the boulders as part of the structure. Zak got violently ill that night, needless to say he skipped the 6 am game viewing! We took off again in the morning and managed to run into a family of young lions that were just lying in the nearby field and road. We got a lot of pics and videos of them walking and resting. Later on that day, we lucked out and found two cheetahs resting in the grass. Soon after we found 2 hyenas and then started making our way back towards Bunda.

We came home to have chipsy Mayai and turned in early to have lots of energy for our last night in Bunda.

Lalasalama.

Big D

 

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Final days at Kunzugu and Rubana

The last few days of the program have flown by. It’s hard to believe it’s our last day in the schools today. Yesterday’s final class at Kunzugu went very well. As their final project, the kids worked in small groups to develop presentations about one of the topics that we’ve covered over the past month. We started these last week, giving the groups time to make posters, come up with creative ways to teach the material, and practice their presentations. Yesterday they presented these in front of the 4 of us and another group of students from their school. They all did an amazing job, and we were so proud of them. Even the kids who had been more reserved and less talkative in class really knew their facts. They all seemed really excited to share what they’d learned with other students, which was so great for us to see. We left Kunzugu yesterday feeling like we’d really accomplished what the program set out to do, and that we had really made an impact with these students. We finished off the class yesterday by handing out yearbooks and certificates to all the kids, which they seemed very excited about. Today is our final day and Rubana, and we’re hoping that the response is equally as positive.
Tomorrow morning we leave for the safari, which we are all really looking forward to. We’ve been brushing up on our swahili words for various animals, including simba, which we recently learned means lion. We were all very excited to discover just how educational The Lion King was.
We’ll make sure to post some pictures of our safari experience later this week.
-Ginny

A Meaningful Lesson

Hello!

This week we began to talk about HIV and AIDS in detail for the first time. HIV rates in the Bunda District have risen from 3.6 % in 2012 to 5.8 % in 2014, so it was imperative that we stress the importance of HIV knowledge and awareness. Both schools were very interested in the subject of HIV and asked lots of questions, ranging from how it is transferred to how it can be maintained. While there is progress in containing the initial spread of HIV, scientists are far from discovering a cure. It is hard to tell the class that there is no cure, seeing as it is a very real part of their every day lives. However, HIV awareness is a step forward in preventing the spread of the disease and we hope we have made an effective impact on these children through this unit.

Outside the classroom, life has been relatively slow. We have discovered a small path that turns out to be a short cut to the center of town. Roaming the markets and looking for goods have become a daily occurrence that keeps us busy. Delaney and I saw a Maasai Warrior the other day and stopped to have a chat with him. He was extremely friendly and was enthusiastic to take a photo with us!

For the first two or three weeks at the hotel, it was only the four of us staying there. Recently there has been an influx of guests at the hotel, and that has been a nice change. The past few nights I have stayed up late talking with Manyama (the hotel manager) and a few Mwanza locals about African and World politics. We discussed the status of the Syrian Civil War, Tanzanian Trade Relations with Europe, and most notably the future of Tanzania’s economy.

A couple nights ago Nikki came up with the ingenious AfriBurrito. In this food creation, we use chapati (a crispy fried naan-like bread), avocado, chili sauce, cooked greens and beef to make possibly the best food we have had on this trip so far. I could easily have that for the next 8 nights that we will be here.

Until next time,

Zak

On Friday at Kunzugu we tackled unplanned pregnancy and abortion. Abortion is illegal in Tanzania, but unfortunately it is still performed with poisons and medications, wire tools, and/or physical force to the womb. The students asked alot of questions which we were ready to answer. They understood why it was so dangerous to get an illegal abortion. They also are beginning to understand the seriousness of sex, and why it is something you should think about! Our classes have seemed to give them a venue to talk about things and ask questions that they don’t seem to be able to do anywhere else. I am glad that we have provided a safe space that they can do so. After class, Benson showed us the school garden where they grow tons of fruits and vegetables that they sell, and use. Nikki and I were pumped to find big Okras in the garden! I also found a huge pineapple shop in the market. The guy selling them asked me “Excuse me Madam, I know this is weird, but please may I touch your hair?” “Sure!” I’m used to it by now! 🙂

Today, it is a beautiful sunny Monday morning here in Bunda. We had a nice relaxing weekend at the Victoria Star Lodge. After breakfast, we picked up our kichenges from the tailor. We walked to the market together on Saturday morning. Us gals bought a ton of beautiful African fabrics to bring home. Zak and I bought a chuka which is a large African scarf worn by the Masai People. It’s basically a large plaid blanket, and they wear it over their shoulders and torso. In Bunda, the Masai act as watchmen at the market to make sure no funny business goes down. We played some games in the courtyard and I got my 60 SPF sunscreen tan on! For lunch we enjoyed chipsy mai which is an excellent African creation. It is crispy fries in a pan cooked with eggs and vegetables. It is the best with chili sauce on it! We had an early night in watching New Girl and reading as we had to wake up early for church on Sunday morning.

Scola picked us up on Sunday morning and together we walked to the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania. We were warmly welcomed and sat near the back as the church was quite full. We were dressed in our new skirts, and were made to stand up and introduce ourselves to the entire congregation. The music was upbeat and beautiful, and they had dancers at the front as well. The sermon was a little long, mainly because it was entirely in Swahili, and we didn’t really know what was going on. Church in Bunda goes from 7 am to 2 pm and so after 2 hours we gracefully made our escape. We walked back to our hotel and did our laundry for the week. It usually dries within the hour in the hot sun! We updated our journals, played some cards and tried to stay cool. That’s all from us. Until next time,

Stay cool.

Big D

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An Eye-opening Experience

The curiosity in the kid’s eyes and their expressions were absolutely priceless when we began our lesson on reproduction. I forget what it was like to learn about the topic and how fascinating it was…I forget how many questions I had and how clear everything eventually became. The lesson involved puberty and the changes that occur in both boys and girls, the anatomy of male and female reproductive systems, FGM, and male circumcision. We decided to separate the boys from the girls to teach them about both genders to provide an environment where the students felt more comfortable asking questions. We also had Zak instruct the boys on his own and us girls instruct the female students. When it was time to teach the boys about the female reproductive system, Del went in to help out. The students at Kunzugu presented us with very insightful questions and participated really well throughout the lesson. We finished off the unit on Monday with a Jeopardy style quiz game to see how well they retained the information from Friday’s lesson. They proved to remember the information very well and the winning team got Manitoba pins, which the kids were very much excited about. The unit went well at Rubana as well; however, the students are a little bit younger and are less mature so there were a lot of giggles throughout the class. They did not have many questions at all but what 13-year-old feels comfortable talking about that kind of stuff in front of their classmates? I sure didn’t. All we can hope for is that the information translated and they learned something new.

The power was out yesterday, which is somewhat of a regular occurrence in Tanzania. It seems as though it is due to line maintenance. There is usually an announcement the day before informing the public that the power will be out from approximately 9am-6pm. Hurray for propane! Although we did need to write out our lesson plans by hand and had to endure a day without Internet. We filled our time by going for a nice afternoon walk for tomatoes. There are little vegetable stands everywhere in Bunda, many of which that sell tomatoes, onions, and sardines. Being the “smart”, pale Canadians that we are, we wanted to get our tan on and figured that a 20 minute walk at the hottest part of the day, near the equator would be harmless without sunscreen on…yep, it’s safe to say we’re idiots. We all got burned except for Ginny. It literally still looks like I’m wearing my bag over my shoulder.

Yesterday’s lesson at Kunzugu included the different ways of being safe when engaging in sexual activities. CPAR even provided us with a penis model. Zak bravely demonstrated to the class by use of the model how to properly use a condom and Del even stepped up to demonstrate how to turn a condom into a dental dam! The students were astounded by such demonstrations and once again blew our minds with excellent questions. We finished the day with some class photos and handed out condoms to each of the students.

Ginny and I helped Lucy prepare dinner last night and are now experts at making masala sauce and ugali. She’s going to show us different ways to prepare sweet potatoes and how to carry a baby on our backs with just a piece of fabric. She’s literally Superwoman. I’ve never seen someone multitask but yet conduct herself in such a joyful and calm manner, all the time. We’ve grown quite fond of her and her husband Manyama and of course their 7-month-old son Faustine.ImageImage

Asante to our magnificent hosts

Nikki