Hello everyone! Orientation week was extremely busy–introductions, tour of beautiful Arusha, home based care and sustainable gardening visits, training information on HIV/AIDS prevention, etc. As of now, there are 6 other volunteers that are involved with GSC. I am living in a village that is a 10 min walk to the center of the city. Mama Elly is my home stay mother and she has a daughter named Einot, who attends boarding school, and a house girl (essentially a maid) named Vanessa. Vanessa is 20 years old and can only speak Swahili. Although communication is difficult, we have managed to form a friendship based on our love for the same music, and with the help of a Swahili-English dictionary
This week I have started teaching HIV/AIDS prevention for a village 30 minutes outside of Arusha. Attendance today was low but tomorrow we are going to recruit more people to join our seminar by speaking to village leaders in the morning.
Greetings in Tanzania are extremely important and this has helped me practice and learn Swahili. There are specific greetings for elders, children, friends, and strangers. Everyone says hello to everyone with such excitement and happiness. It is impossible to walk down the road and not say “Mambo” or “Hatujambo” or “Shikamoo” to someone you see.
Arusha is a beautiful and vibrant city. Over the weekend, I started to explore the area. In touristy areas like the Clock Tower locals try to sell “mzungu”, or foreigners, trinkets and paintings. I quickly learned the expression “hapana asante” or “no thank you”, but I still ended up introducing myself to many locals. I also have started to form friendships with the kids who hang out around town.
Although every day is market day, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the busiest times. Hundreds of shops sell fresh produce, handmade jewelry, fabrics, and crafts. When I went to the food market on Saturday, a guy named Erick befriended me and introduced me to several of the owners.
On Sunday, I hiked to Mt. Meru’s waterfalls with other volunteers and a guide. Mt . Meru, which is the second highest peak in Tanzania, is located on the outskirts of town. Sometime, I want to hike to the summit which will take about 3 or 4 days.