Thursday, September 27, 2007

One day and counting...

So I've mentioned that J and I are going to Africa several times now. And have I mentioned that we're leaving tomorrow?!! I guess I should start packing today, huh? The good news is that my mom is flying in this afternoon, so that will help me get some stuff done...

Since I know you're just dying to ask (or maybe not!), I thought I might give you the answers to the questions people have been asking me about traveling to Africa...

How long will it take you to get there?
It's a 30 hour trip including layovers in New York and Dubai.

Where is Dubai?
It's on the Persian Gulf and is one of the wealthiest countries in the world (if you watch the Amazing Race- it's the one with the cool skyscraper that looks like a sailboat and a man-made island that looks like a palm tree from the air).

How many hours ahead is Tanzania?
It's ten hours ahead of San Francisco.

Where do you stay when you are there?
In past trips we have stayed in very basic, but clean, budget lodges. Guest houses (more like a very basic hostel, this is where a Tanzanian would stay if traveling), and on a Bible school campus. This trip we are in nice hotels when we are in more populated areas, and in a guest house when we travel to the village.

Are you going on Safari?
At the end of the trip we have a couple days in Mikumi National Park for a game drive (driving around looking for game to photograph).

What will you eat? Do you have to eat weird foods? Do you have to eat bugs?
The food is great! We eat lots of beans and rice, stew over rice, collard greens, fruit, chicken, and beef. Occasionally we are served goat as well. The worst thing that I have been served is beef liver (it was prepared well, I'm just not a fan).

How was the goat?
It's not my favorite, but I like it in a stew over rice. It's a fairly stringy and tough.

Do you have to eat it?
Yes- part of being on a mission trip is eating what you are served and being gracious, even if you don't like it!

What are the bathrooms like?
In the hotels they have western style toilets. When out during the day there are squat potties or long drops (just a hole in the ground).

Did you have to get a lot of shots before going?
Only for the first trip. Many of the vaccinations are good for several years or even lifetime immunity. The basic list includes- Hepatitis A, Yellow fever, Polio booster, MMR booster, DPT booster, Flu shot, Typhoid (oral or injectable) and a Tetanus booster if needed. In addition you need to take a malaria preventative while traveling.

Do you have to learn to speak Swahili?
No- almost everyone in Tanzania speaks at least some English. We have translators who travel with us as well. It's nice to know enough Swahili, however, to greet people and respond to basic questions like Habari? (what's the news?) with an appropriate response Nzuri (I'm well).

What are you doing there?
On this trip we will be doing Malaria screening, treatment, and education (including distributing mosquito nets). We will also be doing crusades, ministering in local church services, and doing kid's day camps during the malaria clinics.

When are you coming home?
We return on October 11th. And on that note- it's time for me to get packing!


Llama Momma said...

enjoy the long plane ride! We'll be praying for you...

Christy said...

The worst thing I've had to eat while on a mission trip was chicken feet!

God bless!