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…
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.
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.)
(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.)
One of these days I am going to be in an internet cafe long enough to respnod to mails as well as to just send them out – but it’s not today.
I am in Kikatiti now (well, the internet cafe is in Usa but I am staying in Kikatiti) at the Happy Watoto Home. It’s a great place – the kids are wonderful and the surrondings are really beautiful. The are five other volunteers there; Cory, an American from the Bay Area who has been there three weeks already, and four Irish girls who only just arrived this afternoon (and who have only been in Tanzania a few days, so they are very disoriented).
I’m getting used to being here a bit – but even more than plumbing or hot water, I miss having the bottom of my feet clean. Traffic is insane in Dar es Salaam and there is only one paved road that goes through Kawe – the rest of it is dirt (mud, really). The pollution is pretty bad but at least most of what is in the air is natural. Personal space and not being able to smell people are completely foreign ideas. People walk in the streets and cars drive on the sidewalk and the only difference between the two seems to be that if a car comes at you on the sidewalk, you smack it, and if it comes at you in the street, it honks at you (without slowing down).