After being home for about a year, a friend told me about her upcoming trip to Tanzania and invited me to come along. I had decided that day that I would do it but figured I should take some time to do some responsible research, so that's what I did. Six months later, I was on a flight from San Francisco heading to Amsterdam where we would meet, and fly together to Tanzania.
We arrived last night and while waiting for our luggage, the power in the whole airport went out twice. This is where you know you aren't in the US anymore! Outside, the heat of the day had worn off and there was a nice breeze, the tall trees were swaying and it just felt good to be here.
I am in Tanzania to do some volunteer work for an NGO (Non-Government Organization) called Light in Africa. They house and feed orphaned and disabled kids, about 200 of them at the moment.
The first day after breakfast one of the couples here wanted to go to church. So we took some kids with us and walked over there. This was a church different from any I've seen, the inside was decorated with red and white fabric with carefully placed blinking white Christmas lights accentuating the design. After a bit, people came outside and all of the sudden our group went from being in the very back to being in the very front.
People brought up bags of fruits, veggies, live chickens, a rooster, a duck and a live goat on a rope. I was worried they would sacrifice them and I would cry in front of the kids. I was relieved to find out they were auctioning off the goods. Which I know means they would be slaughtered later on, but as long as it's not in front of me, I'm grateful.
Over the next few days I got to meet many of the most adorable kids I've ever seen, visit some of the places where they live and meet some of the people that make this project possible. I've gotten more little kid hugs then I think I ever had over the last 30 years of my life combined. More details to come in the next post. Feeling lucky to have the opportunity (internal and external) to be a part of something like this!
==B Anna Mirksy, a former Mountain View Voice advertising representative, writes an occasional blog about her travels.==