Saturday, September 11, 2010
Journey to Africa
Hello from Tanzania!
I have been here in Tanzania for six days now. This is an amazing, amazing place and I don’t really know where to start. I guess I’ll start with an account of our trek to Africa, which was quite an experience! We started last Saturday night, flying from Newark, where the majority of the group met to travel together, to Heathrow where we met up with more students (There are 28 of us in all). We had a twelve hour lay over so a bunch of us went into London to spend some time in fresh air and stretch our legs. We took the Underground from the airport to Picadilly Circus and from there walked to some major tourist attractions. We found Trafalgar Square and took some pictures with the lion statues (very appropriate for our group) and had a nice view of Big Ben. We walked to Westminster Abby and got some lunch from a café. We happened to be in the city while it was hosting a giant bike event, so there were about 75,000 Londoners riding on bikes through the streets very slowly. We found out that this is an event that is put on by the mayor once a year. We walked through St. James Park to Buckingham Palace and then headed back to the airport to catch our flight to Nairobi. Both of our long flights started at night and then ended in the morning, so we attempted to sleep on the plane and stay awake during the day to avoid feeling crazy jet lag. We arrived in Nairobi early in the morning on Monday and then hung out for ten hours in the Nairobi airport. We had a short flight to the Kilimanjaro airport, which ended with a very exciting landing. We got through customs easily (a Tanzanian stamp in our passports!) but then we learned that our bags were left in Kenya. That was all right, as most of them arrived in the middle of the next day. We spent that night in an Arusha hotel and then rode to our center the following morning (Tuesday). The drive was quite exciting – we sat in the land rovers and stared out of the windows as we passed villages, rolling landscapes, and kids herding goats and cattle. It is extremely dry here right now, the short rains will come in a few months. We saw a few giraffes, some groups of zebra, wildebeest, and baboons! The SFS Tanzania site is new as of this summer. It is located outside of Karatu, a town in the district of Arusha. It’s close to Lake Manyara National Park, and we stopped on the way to look out over the park. Lake Manyara is a salt-water lake along the Rift Valley and the presence of water means the park is a beautiful, green area in the middle of the surrounding arid land, and is full of wildlife. More on the park later!
Posted by Catherine at 11:04 PM