What is Tanzania like? If you ask the BISB students and teachers currently working and exploring in the African country, Tanzania is: amazing, welcoming, beautiful, and hot!
A group from BISB left for Tanzania last Thursday, traveling for many hours before staying in a small inn near Mt. Kilimanjaro. After a morning filled with gorgeous mountain views, the group traveled to the base where they will be staying during their first week in Tanzania, and met the more than 100 other Nord Anglia Education students with whom they will be completing service projects this week.
Below are some first impressions from the students and staff abroad the next two weeks. Check back to the blog often for more updates from the group and be sure to follow @BISBTanzania on Twitter and British International School of Boston on Facebook for more updates and photos during their trip!
From Paula G. (Saturday, February 14)
I had never imagined that this trip would begin in such an amazing way, people are incredibly nice, the views are gorgeous, we have perfect temperature... I am so thankful for getting this opportunity.
From Sofia M. (Saturday, February 14)
WOW!! Honestly, Tanzania has already gone way above my initial expectations. We arrived at the airport at around 9 pm Tanzania time, where we were taken by a bus-sort-of-thing to the hotel. Even though it was late at night, and still plenty hot, we were able to see what we were passing. What surprised me the most was how many bars and clubs there were. They were all in these bamboo-type huts. By the way, the people here drive on the left, not the right! At the hotel, we were greeted warmly by the personnel with fresh mango juice! Inside of the rooms, we slept with mosquito nets. The next morning we woke up and ate a delicious breakfast of fresh mangos, pineapples and bananas that tasted surprisingly not at all like the ones at home. We then got some pictures of Mount Kilimanjaro. The hotel, Stella Maris, owns a school, with about 110 children!
So far I have had an amazing time, and I cannot wait to meet the other students from Nord Anglia Education!
From Mrs. Williams (Saturday, February 14)
Staying the night (at Stella Maris) has brought another new element to our expedition. A warm friendly welcome, full of effervescent hosts, really comfy beds and a great breakfast. The hotel is host to a number of climbing groups who are either gearing up for, or recovering from, a trek up Kilimanjaro. The mountain looks so accessible, just across the Moshi Road apparently but the summit is at over 19300' and the ridge runs over 100km. The scale is immense.
From Mrs. Borking (Sunday, February 15)
I am not sure how I feel about our trip today. I feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to visit this community and to have so much access to experience the way some of the people in Tanzania live. We visited people's homes, giving an insight into the basic conditions, compared to my every day luxuries, which people here are seemingly more content with. The people we met were friendly and welcoming and seemed to want nothing in return except for the payment that we made for the trip. We took numerous photos, sampled herbal medicines prepared by the village traditional healer, looked around people's homes and were welcomed by everyone we met.
On the drive back to the camp I was thinking about our day as I waved good bye to everyone and I found myself feeling a little uncomfortable as our trail of nine Jeeps left the village. I felt that the people were on display for tourists with fancy cameras, feeling obliged to be happy and wave as we are, after all, financially contributing to village life. I then wondered if it was in fact us that were on display. I have a zillion other feelings all mixed together but I'm not sure how to write them all down, so I will leave it for now.
It's clear that this trip is already prompting a lot of conflicting thoughts and emotions for our students and teachers. As they begin their week of service work today, we look forward to hearing more about their experiences and the lessons they learn!