Kwa heri

It’s 10:06 on Saturday morning and the house is unusually quiet as 11 of the 15 volunteers are out on various expeditions. I am just chilling out and relaxing at the house. One last trip to Bahari beach later is defo in order, followed by packing for the safari and an early night. Gerrard is picking us up at 04:30 tomorrow morning for our 7:30 flight to Kilimanjaro, where we embark on our safari and Zanzibar trip for a final week before flying home.

Yesterday morning was our final session at the school. Friday is sports day so we organised a few games for the kids, albeit in a somewhat haphazard manner as the kids soon became restless and it turned into normal play time. I was busy engaged in giving out clothes to those kids that didn’t receive any last time. Although I had only anticipated providing new outfits for 40 kids, we ended up with twice as many children queuing up for new clothes because there were many kids that missed school last week when we handed the first batch out. The result was that we gave what we could wherever we could, and I think eventually everyone went home with something.

Friday is sports day

Friday is sports day

Grace and Steve took Israeli and Isaaca back to the doctor for their HIV tests during the morning session. Both tested negative which was uplifting news. Steve also asked the doctor if she would mind attending our health and sanitation meeting with the village on Friday next week and she obliged. Although I won’t be around to participate in next week’s events, I am pleased with our plans for all three projects (health and sanitation meeting, open house school session and orphanage visits) that will be taking place during the school holiday. I will admit to being slightly more pro-active in the last few days as the end of our time on the programme has approached, attempting to leave something of worth that will continue to make a positive impact after our departure. It’s good to know that all of the school kids will receive a free toothbrush and toothpaste at the health and sanitation meeting on Friday, and that a local doctor will be attending to help educate the parents about basic health and hygiene in the village, which is a real problem.

Walking the kids home from school for the last time I was thinking about their future and what might become of the kids after I resume normal life back in England. I picked up Mdusa and Mdiza (the two kids I have become closest to) for the last time and said my goodbyes (kwa heri in Swahili) as I watched them return to their huts. I know that I will probably be a distant memory to them in a few weeks time as they continue to get on with their lives in the enduring African spirit of things. But I am pleased to have been a part of their lives for this short period, and like to think I have made that little bit of difference through the time I have spent with them.

Mdusa & Mdiza

My pals, Mdusa & Mdiza

After the morning session I took an afternoon trip into Posta with Roxy, Laural and Aussies Sarah and Jen. We stopped for lunch at a western-style fast food place and I had a four-seasons pizza which, I’m not ashamed to say, was immensely satisfying! Looking around the restraunt I saw a record number of muzungoos (white people). It made me thankful that we have been living in a rural suburb of the city, as a residence in the heart of the city surely would not render an accurate depiction of day-to-day life in Tanzania.

After Posta we jumped on a dalla dalla to Kariakoo which, as was to be expected, was crammed to the max. Myself and Jen were amongst the last to get on and we had to elbow our way through the crowd to fight for enough floor space to stand. Although it was only a 5 minute journey, it felt like 20 trying balance my weight on one foot and attempting to remain upright as the full extent of the weight of the people behind was inflicted on me each time we turned a corner. I loved it really; you could never truly experience Tanzania without a few awkward dalla dalla excursions.

We didn’t actually do much in Kariakoo save a bit of window shopping, but I did get a much better feel for the place as we wondered through the market and along the dusty side alleys. We spent just as long locating the Mwenge dalla dalla for the journey home as we did shopping; having retraced our steps through the maze of activity to the Posta-Kariakoo dalla dalla drop off point only to find that the Mwenge dalla dalla depart from a different spot. After much exploration through some sketchy looking side streets we managed to find the elusive Mwenge dalla dalla. The locals were more than happy to provide directions, but frustratingly their limited English meant that the best that they could do was to point vaguely in one direction and utter a few incomprehensible words. Although it took the best of the afternoon to get a bite to eat in Posta and experience Kariakoo, it was worthwhile just for that feeling of success that you get having successfully circumnavigated around the city via the public transport system and arriving home in one piece with all possessions accounted for.

Reflecting on my final session at the school

Reflecting on my final session at the school

Reflecting back on the last three weeks it feels like I have been living here as long as a year or more. As enjoyable as the time has been, I feel exhausted. Although three weeks is a relatively short period I do feel like I have given everything I have and made the most of my time here. Reluctant as I am to leave the school and the friends I have made out here, its probably about time to go. At least I don’t have to start contemplating going home; we have an exciting week ahead of us and England still seems a universe away. Sunday through Wednesday we will be exploring the delights of Northern Tanzania and it’s beautiful wildlife; Thursday through Saturday relaxing on the adorning Zanzibari beaches. I can’t wait. It will round my Tanzanian experience off nicely and by the end I will feel like I have gotten to know the country intimately. The more I think about it, the more I realise that these really are some of the best days of my life.

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