travel

That time I almost died from typhoid fever in Tanzania…

“Do you believe in God?” She was earnest. She wielded a clipboard.

A grin skipped up beside. “Ca va?” He sounded young. A green mask covered half his face but I remember him grinning. From my back, on a bed, in a hallway, I replied automatically. “Comme ci, comme ca.

The doors opened. “It is time, Miss Tankard.”

Lights, white tile, stainless steel. I remember the windows. It hurt, so they found another vein. An older voice told me to picture a happy place – to imagine my family – and they counted, backwards.

The grin on the left waggled a vial. “Maziwa...”

I swam upwards to translate. “Milk?” Split second having managed it, before she came in from the right, put her face to my ear, and whispered through her mask.

“Believe, Miss Tankard, believe. He is real.”

And then I was out.

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Sunflowers and stuffed animals.

I went back to Kikatiti. We found the kikaiti Happy Watoto Home.

I took my brother – three years younger than me, exactly the age I’d been when I went there three years ago – to find the orphanage. We just dropped in; none of the contact info that I had was still working. I’d seen the orphanage, or at least the gate and the building from the bus when I’d come up from Dar – between Chem Chem school and the sunflower fields – and at least it was still standing. It’s impossible to walk back in time, to think that things will hold still, the way that you remember them. I’d hope that it would be at least as well as I’d left it, had braced myself to find it gone or forgotten, delapidated and ruined. Instead, we found it better.

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And… I’m off again (almost)

I’m leaving tomorrow morning, very very early, for Mahale. I’ll be there for five days. I’m going with a tour group and paying a fortune to stay at the luxury camp and spend half my time doing random silly things (like snorkeling, fishing, and bird-watching, instead of chimp-tracking the whole time), rather than just going on my own to Kigoma, renting supplies, hiring a guide and a cook, and going in on my own because dealing with medical issues in Arusha ate up tons of time. I’m very glad I’m able to go, that I am finally going, and I know that it’ll be an incredible experience with the tour group…

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I’m still alive and am fine!

Apparently, last Thursday I fell off of the top of the moving Land Rover and hit my head. I had a concussion, I was unconscious for a few minutes, and I do not remember any of that day until the evening. I’ve seen several doctors – luckily, I was traveling with a doctor, as well – and I’ve been getting better, but it still hurts a lot.

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Habari tena – from Arusha

Habari tena – from Arusha

I wasn’t really ready to leave Kikatiti – it had just begun to feel like home – but I’m excited about going to Mahale. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been here three weeks, either.

I’m in Arusha now. I’ve got a private room in the Meru House Inn (I splurged and spent a whole extra dollar for the luxury; at $7 I thought it would be ok with my budget) which is a great place. Arusha is a lot smaller than Dar but it’s quite international (it’s the stopover for all safaris and climbs) and even seems to have a large traveling-volunteer population. (All of the internet cafes and bakeries have discounts for volunteers, too.)

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Mambo!

(I’m not going to run out of greetings to start emails with.)

I’ve been given a Tanzanian name – or at least pronunciation. “Noelle” is pronounced “Noh-ehl-lah” and the kids (and teachers) all know it quite well. (Elaine, Claire, Sheila, Deidre – the Irish girls – and Cory have all had their names altered as well.)

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