Students write about their orientation
Here is a blog update collectively written by the students:
One week into our Tanzanian adventure & we can all say that we’ve experienced only a small amount of what Tanzania has to offer, yet it has far exceeded way past our expectations. After a greuling day of traveling our adventure began! In our first day we explored the city of Arusha. There were so many people, so many colorful bracelets and trinkets being sold. We got to know each other people in our group and became fast friends. Jenny and Skyeler helped a lot by setting up group activities that let us really get to know one another. They have been great! Next, we went on a safari where we saw large herds of zebras and wildebeasts on the dry grassy plains of Tarangire National Park, groups of elephants and monkeys in the Manyara, and a pride of lions in the Ngorogoro Crater.
Visiting the incredible sites would not have been possible without our animated and knowledgable drivers, such as Phil. The ride was a journey in itself. He fed us with information, and although he is not part of the Massai culture, he is educated on their unique traditions and lifestyle. What an experience it would be for you to witness the Massai people! Their colorful garbs and long stretches of land they cover herding cattle are iconic of Tanzania along with the countries beautiful landscapes. Mt Meru towers above, piercing the clouds. We’ve taken hundreds of pictures because we are so impressed.
Each of us have talked to a handful of locals with cultures so different from our own, their tid bits of information are precious. Mohamed and Hussien, our local group leaders are native to Tanzania have been awesome! They have been responsible for not only for food and shelter, but also our new experiences!
And now each students highlights (in no particular order):
Henrietta: Meeting the locals has been incredible. We took a tour at Mtowamba and got insight of a traditional village. We interacted with the kids and heard stories of nature. Their culture is unique and interesting, great to learn about.
Joanie: The safari was awe inspiring. The vast landscape and diverse wildlife instills and awareness of the delicacy of the Earth’s purest state. Being less than 10 ft away from lions and zebras were moments I’ll never forget.
Nava: Its a tie between seeing three lions at the side of the road during the safari and the feeling of accomplishment after a successful day of navigating and shopping in Arusha.
Jordan: African babies. That’s all.
Liam: The first two days of the safari we were deprived of seeing any lions, and I was starting to get disappointed. But sure enough on the last day as we were leaving three lions were right on the side of the road sleeping, and as we were parked right next to them, one of them woke up and my heart stopped.
Sean: My highlight was seeing the lions up close. Seeing lots of animals and taking photos. I also enjoyed the singing of the birds.
Sophen: The safari was eye-opening and the experience was like none I’ve ever had. The lion was definitely the best part. Overall, the trip has started off absolutely amazing!
Oscar: I loved the safari, especially the three sleeping lions. The ambiance in the group is awesome so far!
Josh: I loved experiencing new and interesting Tanzanian culture. I enjoyed touring the town, Mtowamba, whose name translates to “Mosquito River,” and watching a cultural dance. I also touched a zebra.
Maddie: My highlight has been experiencing the wildlife and nature. I felt like I was in the Lion King. Seeing the lions up close anbd awake was remarkable. I’m excited for the next part of our adventure.
Savannah: African baby boys, safari, and lions.
Clara: I loved getting to know all of our group members and going on a safari with them. The coolest thing was being in the middle of a Wildebeast herd, watching them bask in the sun.
Andrew: My favorite part of the safari week was camping in the beautiful Simba Park. Mingling with the zebras and sleeping under the stars was amazing.
Louisa: A week into this trip and I can already say that it’s been one of the most incredible experiences of my life! There was one point in the safari when I was about 10 ft away from an elephant and I honestly felt like I was on Animal Planet. The people here, both the ones on the trip with me and te locals, are so nice and funny, and I can’t wait to get to know them better over the course of the trip.
Taylor: On the drive to the safari we passed an array of Massai villages with grass huts, children herding cattle, post-circumcision teens dancing in traditional garb, and women with fabulously colorful dresses. It was then that I realized I had not just fallen asleep on a plane for 12 hours, but this adventure would lead to the meeting of two starkly different cultures.
Daniela: What I liked the most from this week was getting to interact with all the members of the group even if it as in the jeep, tent, or eating. Also, having ther opportunity to see all the animals in their wild life was incredible and an experience I will never forget.
Laura: These past few days have been amazing as I really bonded with many people in the group as well as experienced some of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen such as the safari animals. I particularly enjoyed evening council sessions because they have really allowed the group to reflect and strengthen as we come together and look forward to the homestays.
Rebecca: I loved meeting and spending time with our amazing trip leaders, Skyeler and Jenny! They are both so funny and smart. This trip has been awesome so far and would not be the same without them!!!
As you can see, we have a terrific group, an unbelievably beautiful culture and country, and an once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience here in Tanzania! A big shout out to our amazing students for being so insightful, mature, and fun this week! Clearly, each has played a vital role in contributing to this positive and impactful experience! Stay tuned, folks, as we take this trip up a notch and make our way this afternoon to Ulturoto, where we begin our homestay and service project experience!!
Skyeler, Jenny & the Whole Tanzanian Crew