Thursday, October 18, 2007

Into Africa... Part 1

Blowing bubbles with children in Ikwiriri Village.

I've spent the last week mulling over the details of our recent trip to Tanzania. It was an amazingly quick trip- it always frustrates me to know that we spend weeks prepping for these trips and they just fly by...

Our team photo just before we left for the airport(left to right- M, Frazzmom, J, JB, and I)

Our team of 5 joined up with three others from California at San Francisco International airport before departing for Tanzania on a red-eye flight to New York on Friday, September 28, 2007. We met up with the remainder of our team (from North Carolina) at JFK with moments to spare (they had a very tight connection) and we all departed for Dubai.

Photo taken of Dubai City as we landed. The tall building is the Burj Dubai, currently under construction- when complete, it will be the tallest man-made structure in the world.

After a 3 hour layover in Dubai (last chance for Starbucks!) we departed on the last leg of our journey, arriving in Dar Es Salaam on Sunday afternoon. After some general chaos, we were escorted through customs by the local chief of police who had arranged to meet us (we have been hassled in the past by local customs officials who demanded bribes in order to release our bags).

Outside the airport, we met up with Ron from CHaRA, the organization we were working with. After towering all our bags onto one small truck, we got on our rented bus and went to our hotel. After a little time to rest, we had a team meeting where we got a chance to meet everyone and were briefed on local customs, what to expect etc. We had dinner at an Indian restaurant owned by a friend of Ron's (After doing two trips with Ron- I am convinced that he has at least one friend who owns a restaurant in every village or town across Tanzania!).

We returned to our hotel to repack our bags (J and I only needed to take one bag to Zanzibar between us, we left the other bag at the hotel in Dar). In spite of the jet lag and general exhaustion, I only managed to get 4 hours of sleep before we were up again at 5am. We left the hotel at 6am to catch a flight to Zanzibar in order to arrive in time for breakfast.

Coming tomorrow... Malaria clinics in Zanzibar!


LILY said...

did your kids do okay while you were gone? actually, did your mom do okay?

hockeygirl said...

I'm glad you are back and that you had a safe trip. I am very much looking forward to reading more about your adventure. Your stories tug at my heart and remind me of when I used to work at a clinic in Honduras during the summers in high school. It's great what you do.