Posts tagged ‘travelling Africa’

January 30, 2012

My Labor of Love: Building Schools in Africa (Part 2)

Hi there,

Check out Part 2 of my post on the MSL Conversations Blog about AIA’s trip to Tanzania this past summer. If you haven’t yet, check out my first post about our time rebuilding classrooms in Olasiti village.

– Alyssa

After a week in Olasiti village, our group traveled to Ulolela village in southeastern Tanzania. The trip took two days – a full day (15-hour) bus ride (on the African version of a Greyhound), followed by an equal-length car ride the next day. But it was worth it when we were met with a celebration of traditional African singing and dancing, which followed us for the last mile of our trip.

In Ulolela, we stayed with host families for five days and oversaw the final construction on our Community Learning Center. We held a village meeting to celebrate the opening of our Center, the only building in the village with electricity—I even flipped on the lights for the first time after they installed the solar panels! Classes in the CLC will begin soon, and will have curricula on self-empowerment, business fundamentals, and HIV/AIDS awareness, which we had translated into Swahili.

Ulolela village was the most remote location I’d ever been to – the closest city (i.e. had some electricity and plumbing) was an hour away. But the simplicity was beautiful. The village was in a valley surrounded by hills with patches of farming land. We went on hikes to neighboring villages and the highest peaks, and saw waterfalls, Lake Malawi, and a walking stick (!!). We played soccer with young villagers, who beat us without breaking a sweat, on the most picturesque field on Earth.

After saying goodbye to my host mother, who gave me a decorative, handmade axe that I somehow got back into the states, we had another two-day journey to Dar Es Salaam. Unfortunately, the closest I came to an actual safari was passing through a wildlife reservation, but I still saw monkeys, a far-off giraffe, and a zebra crossing the road.

But, in Swahili, “safari” actually means “journey.” So, from founding the organization with my fiancé, to managing our three projects, to our trip this summer, it’s been quite the safari. And thankfully, it’s just the beginning.

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July 10, 2011

What to Buy for a Trip to Africa – My Shopping List

As my trip to Africa gets closer, I’ve been busy shopping to get plenty of supplies. As part of our trip for the organization, we are traveling across Tanzania to our projects in Olasiti village (in the north) and Ulolela village and to Dar Es Salaam. So, some of these items are for our travel within the country, and aren’t necessarily important for all trips. Here’s my list so far:

– Africa appropriate clothing. I tried to get clothes that are conservative, but light and comfortable. I bought a bunch of light-weight shirts and Bermuda shorts from Target. Since our trip is during the summer in the US, it will be winter in Tanzania, so I’m going to bring a couple hoodies for night-time.

– A hiking backpack, for easily traveling around the country.

Permethrin bug spray for clothing (to be applied before you leave) and 100% deet bug spray for body

Safari hat (complete with dorky strap to keep it on our head)

– Sunglasses and strap (to keep them from flying off in the wind!)

– Flashlight

– First aid kit

– Wet wipes or baby wipes (with no or low alcohol to keep them from drying out)

– Ponchos (in case of rain)

– Suntan lotion

– Melatonin (to help with the jet lag)

– Unscented shampoo, conditioner and body wash

– Camera

– Extra batteries

– European outlet adapter

So, am I forgetting anything? Let me know!

– Alyssa

June 18, 2011

Countdown to Africa… So Much to Do!

Hi readers!

I’m so excited to share that I am going to Africa for the first time this summer! Brendan and I are leading a group to our two project sites in the villages of Olasiti and Ulolela in Tanzania. (It’s going to be a lot of travel- check out the map on our homepage.)

I would normally be more nervous about traveling so far for the first time, but luckily for me, Brendan has been to Tanzania twice before, in 2007 and 2009. So, he’s my guinea pig for all my questions (What do I pack? What will the weather be like? Can I do laundry? What will the food be like? etc. etc.)

So, as my departure date is almost a month away, here’s what I’ve taken care of so far:

  • Immunizations (very important not to wait for the last minute on this one, because some are pills you need to take before you go and should be in your system at least 2 weeks before you leave.)
  • Travel visa (everything’s in order to get it during our travel. You can get it before leaving, but separating from my passport goes against everything my dad’s instilled in me.)
  • Travel arrangements (from flights to lodging)
  • Telling my parents (they are as excited as they can be, but I’m pretty sure my mom will lose a lot of sleep while I’m gone. Worrying is genetic.)
  • Getting approval from work

Still on the list:

  • Getting new Africa clothes (Even if it’s just casual clothes that will likely be ruined during painting and building, shopping for a new wardrobe is always exciting. Especially because, unlike another pencil skirt, I really NEED these :))
  • Going to REI (travel backpack, loads of bug spray and sunscreen, and other outdoorsy supplies that I do not have.)
  • Spray aforementioned clothes with aforementioned bug spray.
  • Get wine shipping bags for any liquids that will go in checked bags to avoid spilling. (Great tip from a member of our Board)
  • Pack.
  • Decide whether to get international phone.
  • Buy books and stack iPod with lots of music for long trips (The flight has 3 stops each way, and we’ll be traveling on buses for a few days during the trip.)

Do any of you travel veterans have suggestions?? Am I forgetting anything? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks always for your support,

Alyssa