Good News from Moshi (email)

Moshi Travel Blog

 › entry 12 of 23 › view all entries
I'm flooding your inboxes with emails, but this is one I had to send to my
mom anyway (to ease her motherly worries), so I figured I might as well
address the whole gang while I'm at it... if you're annoyed with all the
updates, just let me know and I'll be more selective :)

So this morning we slept in a bit... woke up at 8, which really means 6:30
because our hotel room has the LOVELY view of the hotel restaurant (no
really, you look out the window into the cement walls of the restaurant),
and they were up "preparing breakfast" aka pounding loudly on something. So
we turned on the TV and drifted in and out of sleep while we watched Spanish
soap operas dubbed over into English. The telenovelas are just as ridiculous
here in Tanzania as they are on Univision and Telemundo.

After breakfast, I borrowed a cell phone from a girl who works at the hotel
to call Heriel, my in-country contact for i-to-i (that is the company I am
volunteering with). It wasn't cheap... I had to buy a calling card for 2,000
shillings, and it was nearly all used up after my minute and a half phone
call. I managed to get ahold of Heriel, but between the poor cell connection
and his strong accent, I could barely understand a word. I managed to get
across the message that my name is Anna Cajiga (which I later found out he
interpreted as "Emna Pahiga"), I am staying at the Buffalo Hotel, and I was
hoping to meet with him to work out the logistics for meeting the rest of
the volunteer group on Saturday. I wasn't positive, but I was fairly certain
that he said he would come to my hotel to meet me in 30 minutes. So I hung
up and waited.

I heard correctly! After 30 anxious minutes, he showed up and was absolutely
fantastic. We were really just hoping to have a few questions answered about
where the volunter house and the orphanage I am teaching at are located so
we could later walk and find them. But he picked us up in his car, drove us
out to the volunteer houses, gave us a tour of both, took us to an ATM and
showed us where I can make phone calls home if needed (turns out, most
likely not going to happen ever. the most expensive calling card you can buy
is 7500 shillings, and it is only good for about 2 minutes when you use it
to call internationally. we read in lonely planet that some internet cafes
have online calling for about half the price, so if I can track that down at
least I can call if the homesickness starts to set in...). He made
arrangements for me to move into the volunteer house a day early (for a
small fee :)...), so he will send someone to pick me up on Friday. I asked
what time, he said "oh sometime in the afternoon." I tried to get a specific
time... but things in Africa don't work like they do in the US. There really
is no need for a watch here.

Anyway, I'm even more excited now, and completely relieved. I was so nervous
about making contact with the i-to-i people. I really had not felt that
nervous in a long time... like sick to my stomach worried. But Heriel has
put me completely at ease, and I can't wait to start teaching. There will be
at least 30 other volunteers in the house with me, I've met three of them
already (one of which is a girl who goes to University of Rochester in my
hometown... small world!!). The house is very nice, out of the way on dirt
roads, and pretty basic, but very big and clean. I met the house mother, who
is very elderly, very hard working, and very excited about everything. And I
got money from the ATM without any problems at all, so I will in fact be
able to eat for the next month :) And all I have heard so far about where I
will be teaching is that it is "very far". Long walk for me every morning!!
But the landscapes are so beautiful here (we saw the top of Kilimanjaro in
the distance this morning!!) and the people are so friendly (all of the
little kids were shouting and waving at us while we drove by on the way to
the volunteer house), it should be a nice and enjoyable walk.

So, don't worry mom, everything is great :)

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photo by: joseph98