The flight from Houston to Amsterdam was around 8 hours. I didn’t sleep at all. So it felt like forever. Not to mention I sat in the middle seat in the middle column in the last row so our seats didn’t recline. I sat between Rachel and Cade who both fell asleep quickly so I was left to watch movies. I ended up watching Leap Year which was pretty cute and predictable. When Cade woke up, we decided to sync our TVs and watch the same shows at the same time.
I’m pretty confused about the time difference. Our second flight was 8.5 hours and I had a middle seat AGAIN. I’m just glad my seat reclined that time.
After getting our bags, we went to where a bunch of guys loaded or bags on top of our bus/car. They taught us some Swahili:
Asante- thank you
Asante sana- thank you very much
We arrived at our home probably around 11 PM and had dinner. It was amazing! It was a buffet of pasta, chicken, breads, fruit, vegetables, sauce, juices, and a bunch of other stuff that just made it a great meal. And our guides, Peter and Erin told us that every meal was going to be like that.
Sleeping: I roomed with Sarah, Lindsey, Kylee, and Claire in the room called Mnazi, which means coconut. We have mosquito nets hanging around our beds for protection. As I tried to sleep, hearing bugs paranoid me and I got really itchy all over my arms and legs. I ended up falling asleep around 1:30 and I woke up at 2:20 thinking it was morning because the last 50 minutes of sleep felt like hours more. I struggled falling back asleep because it was incredibly hot inside and my sleeping bag was making me sweat. I would have gotten out of it but I was still paranoid about the bugs biting me. Literally every hour I woke up in the same hot situation. By the time 6 AM rolled around, I really was not going to fall asleep again. At 6:30 I heard footsteps so I decided to get up and shower. The water was so incredibly cold but it felt good afterwards when I was “clean.”
Breakfast was really good; we had pancakes and eggs along with fruit and juices. At 9:30 we walked to church and it took about and hour to get there because we kept stopping to wave to the children and families that looked at us like we were aliens (because we kind of are to them.) As we were walking, a herd of children came running screaming “white people” in Swahili. These children in Africa are simply beautiful. They have great skin and always have smiles on their faces. All of the people here are really welcoming and everyone says “Jambo” to us, we usually say it first to make the awkward moment of them staring at us a little more relaxed.
Church: Church was really interesting even though I understood literally nothing. Everyone sang, spoke long speeches, and danced to certain songs. We as a group got up and sang the first verse of “Amazing Grace” twice. It was a great experience to see how these people do their church services.
We had a Swahili lesson after church. I learned:
Shikamoo- a term used while saying hello to someone older respectfully
Habari ya asubuhi- how are you?
Nzuri- I’m fine
Nimesimama- I’m standing up
Nimeka- I’m sitting
Ka- sit down
Naomba kalam- request/ask
Chukua- take it
We went on a 1.5 hour exploration in groups of 3-4 but we all ended up at the soccer field about half a mile down the road. The guys were playing Frisbee with some kids and the girls were playing soccer with a bunch of other kids. Two little girls, one who I didn’t know her name and the other named Vera, would not let go of me. It was really cute. Sadly, they tried talking to me and I had no idea what they were saying. They and their friends tried on my sunglasses and got a kick out of it. After spending the time with them, we tried leaving, but they literally wouldn’t let go of me. So we all just started walking saying we’d be back tomorrow to play more.
We started working on the water trenches today. It was probably 75-80 degrees in the morning so it wasn’t too bad until afternoon rolled around and the temperature rose to a number to make us all sweat like cows.
Cade put a cricket in my bed while I was in it. Not cool. I’m still not sure if it got out.
I’ve had a headache for 2 days; pretty much since we arrived.
After working long hours during the day, we explored for about an hour with our cameras and I focused my pictures on the children.
We finally finished our second day of work, ending our portion of the project and everyone is complaining about being sore, including me. While working, we saw 2 monkey-like animals in a tree. Sadly, it was probably the highlight of the whole project. Somehow in the last day or so, I developed a red bumpy rash on my hands, arms, and neck. I’m glad it’s not too itchy except for my neck.
Every time the children see a mob of white people walking up the road, a stampede comes to attack us with hugs and they all start walking with us, no matter where we’re going. And they never let go of my hands. It’s cute of course, but it gets annoying when you’re trying to go to work with the group and you get stuck behind because all of the kids stop you and cannot walk as fast. And I can’t tell them I have to go because they don’t speak English. Oh well. They make great pictures because they love getting their pictures taken and looking at the camera. I don’t know how to say smile in Swahili, but I know laugh is “sheka” so I just say that when I want them to smile and they actually all start laughing.
I’ve learned a lot of more Swahili words, but too many to type. But my favorite is “lala,” which means sleep. And that’s what I’m going to go do. The end for today.