Friday, June 26, 2009

Hamjambo rafiki na familia!

Since our last blog, we have spent two days of hard work digging trenches for water pipes in our host village of Maji ya Chai. Despite our blisters, spirits are high!

So far, we've also had rich cultural experiences: beading, drumming and dancing, and a wonderful batik session. Yesterday, we visited the leprocy center in Maji ya Chai, photographing and interviewing its many residents. Groups also ventured into the village center to work on mini On-Assignment projects. We hold nightly group meetings and discussions, and it's apparent that all is going well

Today we all visited an orphanage run by a Dutch non-governmental organization (NGO). Walther, the manager, welcomed us warmly and students were able to play with children--soccer, dancing and singing-- and research and document for their chosen On-Assigment project: water.

Next, we went to a dusty, bustling, gigantic outdoor market where we had a traditional Tanzanian lunch of grilled beef and ugali, and continued the On-Assignment project by interviewing and photographing vegetable and fruit vendors as well as Maasai cow and goat sellers. We were joined by Tanzanian students from the United African Alliance Community Center who will be working with our group project and focusing on their own photography.

Below are some words from each NGSE student:

"Playing soccer with the local kids was one of my dreams come true." - Sam

"Getting to work with the locals of Maji ya Chai was a very cool experience." - Matt

"I loved visiting the orphanage and getting to spend a few hours playing and dancing with the kids." - Christine

"Getting to go into town and visit with locals was an amazing experience. Plus, there are always crowds of kids following to keep us company." - Lauren

"Just about everything is so new and amazing--the food, language, people, traditions...experiencing it is beyond anything I've ever imagined--all the while making good friends and memories." - Helen

"My favorite part so far was digging the trench." - Spencer

"It has been amazing--the people, culture, kids, and atmosphere have been even better than I had expected, and I have made some great friends." - Hans

"I love cold showers...wait, no I don't. Hmm...I've had a lot of fun so far. People are awesome. I can't wait for safari - it's going to be SAWEET!." - Debbie

"So far my favorite moment was when Christine, Matt, and I were laying by the fire before bed and something wet landed on our faces. At first we thought it was just rain, but later we realized it was bat poop." - Gracie

"This trip has been absolutely amazing and so much more than I ever expected. I am so fortunate to be here and I love experiencing all of the new opportunities. The people are all welcoming." - Simone

"I loved playing games at the orphanage." - Shannon

"This is amazing. We saw 16 shooting stars!" - Becca

"The orphanage was amazing. I want to go back." - Nicole


We'll do our best to write again soon, but know that we are off on safari (and without internet access) beginning on Monday. Excitement builds...

-Nick, Megan, & Zik