We have arrived!! After 24 long hours of travel… 36 long hours without sleep.. we made it!!
The trip over went uh… smoothly… We started out strong when our car did a 360 on ramp of the turnpike (sorry mom)… but we made it.. no structural damage.. just jenn made need therapy later in life.. and for the record, she was driving! Then we safely got to the airport, through customs and security… and on to the airplane. 2 and a half movies later, we arrived in Paris. The airport was huge but easy to navigate as we made it to our gate with an hour to spare, boarded the plane to Amsterdam. Then the stress began. Our flight was only supposed to be an hour, but it was delayed about 15 minutes. I know 15 minutes may not seem like a big deal, but when you only have an hour lay over before the next flight, it is a HUGE DEAL. We landed in Amsterdam five minutes after our plane to Kilimanjaro started to board. We sprinted through the airport with only 45 minutes till our plane was scheduled to take off. Then we had to wait in line to go through security and passport check for what seemed like forever to us (it was more like 10 minutes). And we finished up strong with a final sprint through the airport making the plane with 20 minutes to spare. It is easy to say that I probably ran more through the airport than I had in the past week.
Once we finally got our heart rates down to normal, we were able to enjoy our 9 hour flight. I tried to sleep, but the excitement was too much to contain. That and the fact that I really wanted to watch wolf on Wall Street and American Hustle. And I swear that the actor from American Hustle (the guy from the hangover) was on our plane in the first class section. Jenn doesn’t believe me but I am sticking with that story.
When we arrived to Kilimanjaro, we had to go through immigration and get fingerprinted. During that time Jenn and I were scanning the baggage area for our suitcases… spoiler alert — they made it!
We grabbed our items and headed out of the airport. We found two men with a sign that said Projects Abroad and went over to them. They welcomed us and gave me their phone to call home (Ginny that’s the weird number that called you while you were at work). Then they drove us to our host family. Boy were the roads bumpy.. I swear there is a speed bump every five minutes. Also, they drive on the left side of the road here… did NOT see that coming. And dear whoever thinks I am a bad driver.. please come to Tanzania. Dear lord. I feel like there are no rules for the road here. its like survival of the fittest… Note to self: never buy a car here.
We stayed on the made road, Arusha-Nairobi. Whats cool about this road, is its one of the few roads of the country and it stretches from one end to the other. After 45 minutes we turned off to a dirt road… yes it was even bumpier. Then we pulled up to a gate and out walked hour host mom. She welcomed us and took us and our bags into her home.
Now going into this trip, I really had no idea what to expect, especially with what our home stay would be like. Now let me tell you.. we lucked out. Our home is gorgeous. There is a dining room, kitchen, living room (with a television), bathroom (WITH A TOILET AND SHOWER), and three bedrooms. Jenn and I are living in bunk beds. Yes mom, they have malaria nets all set up. It actually looks like those princess curtains I used to have over my bed when I was little. So we unpacked and got some much needed sleep.
Today, Jenn and I stayed in our rooms unpacking some more before going outside. Our house maid made us Spanish Omlets and Yams. I loved it all.. Then our host mom, Manka, drove us into town. To be honest, I have no idea where I am in Arusha. We made many turns and got pulled over by a cop.. she paid him off. way to go Manka. And now here we are at this Internet Cafe. We have a taxi driver who is a friend of Manka’s who is going to take us somewhere to eat and then back home. Tomorrow, Manka and her daughter are going to take us to a market to buy some things. Then on Monday we have Orientation with Projects Abroad and start working at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital on Tuesday.
So far it has been an incredible, terrifying, and amazing experience.. and it has only been a few hours. Wifi is not really a thing here as far as we have seen, so it may be awhile until I get to post some pictures… but don’t worry I am taking lots!!