Monday, September 6, 2010

Good night hugs

On the second day of our journey in Africa, we saw both sides of Tanzania. The first part of the day we drove through the slums of Arusha. Some of the kids on the sides of the streets didn't have shoes and their clothes were completely tattered. Their houses were made out of dirt and logs. There was trash in the street. People were pushing cart, where normally animals would be. Kids were playing soccer with balls made out of trashbags and tape. Simply said, it was pretty devastating.
We made it to the orphanage and we met some amazingly adorable children. We handed out candy, and strangely they all sat down and quietly ate their candy. The gave us a tour of the orphanage and then we went to their school. We played with them on their playground and had an awesome time. We then gave them balloons and they had a blast. We got some great shots of the children while we where there and also had a very sobering experience. You can view some of the photos from Good Hope here.
And then we saw the opposite side of town. We went to this ultra luxurious resort called the "Coffee Lodge". Think 5 star resort and put it in Africa and add a field of coffee plants within view. Our meals were delicious and we all spent an average of $12 when it would have cost us closer to $30 in the states. The only people at this lodge were foreigners.
We finished off the day going to the Masai market. Imagine a close quarters flea market with very pushy salesmen at every booth saying, "You come into my store. Looking is free. I give you... special price." At least we got to negotiate pricing! All in all it was a very busy and eye-opening day.
Tomorrow, we finally have some time to spend with the children that live in the orphanage on Pete's property here at the UAACC. We had so much fun laughing and playing with the children! We danced with them to " who let the dogs out" whoo whoo whoo!,
Truly an amazingly fulfilling day...simplicity is so enjoyable. Now for the finale.............drum role please.........
Good night hugs,,,,The best part of the day!,,,,,,We also will be leaving here to go to the Bouganvilla Safari Lodge, Stay tuned!
To view pictures go to BLOG

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Real Deal

Day 2 is almost over, and things are feeling a little different than yesterday. Today, we visited "The Good Hope" orphanage in Arusha. Hassan was there to meet us at the gate and take us on a tour of the property. It is clear to see a difference between the accommodations at Havilah, and the property at "The Good Hope". Although they are almost ready to open a new phase of the orphanage, there seems to be a great deal of poverty in the surrounding area, which has a real impact on the children there.

A highlight of our day was reuniting with the children that remembered us from our visit in April! The children greeted us with the same big smiles that have stayed with me for the past 5 months. As Hassan showed us some of the new classrooms that are being built, Sonya handed out balloons to the children, which absolutely made their day!

After leaving "The Good Hope", we made our way to the Cultural Center in downtown Arusha. There, the group was able to see different artwork, jewelry, and Massai weapons and sculptures that showed them a little more about the culture and history of the people of Tanzania. We had a wonderful dinner at the Coffee Lodge, where everyone shared the diverse food that they had there.

After doing a little "bargain shopping" at the Massai Market", we went back to the UAACC for dinner. Pete was gracious enough to share his documentary "A Panther in Africa" with everyone. There was a lengthy discussion about Pete's history and how he came to do this wonderful work here in Tanzania.

We have an extremely talented photographer with us, Jessica Lorraine, who has taken some AMAZING photographs while we have been here. Please check out some of the photos at her BLOG

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Here we go!

We only have seven days...So, we hit the ground running! We walked to the property to show the group where we will be building our children's home. Next, we had the privilege of taking our group to Havilah orphanage and then onto the Cradle of Love. The group was overwhelmed with emotion. We see the great need and have realized that our dream can become a reality and that this group can help make it happen.
It has been a long and productive day. After brainstorming and reflecting on our day we shared our personal experiences and how this day has impacted us! Such an amazing day!