Africa

Michaela’s First African Experience! (Part 1)

Close to the house where we stayed in Arusha (the safari mecca of Tanzania)!

As you may already know, I am a very lucky girl and have an awesome job working for one of the UK’s leading Gap Year organisations, The Leap! I basically spend my days helping to organise volunteering projects overseas for Gap Year students (spending most days chatting to people about amazing tropical places, which is never boring)! The best perk of the job is that I also get to do plenty of travel myself, jet-setting around the globe and road testing our placements in third world countries! I embarked on my first work adventure this year and here’s the first update about what i have been up to! 🙂

Yayyyyyyyyyyy!! I made it….after one seven hour flight, a four hour wait at Nairobi Airport and another 50 minute flight I have finally arrived in the land of the great Kilimanjaro herself!! The first thing I feel is the heat sweeping across my face as soon as I step of the plane…..the best feeling in the world!! Leaving snowy England behind and knowing I am going to spend the next 10 days in paradise is an awesome feeling! Having not been to Africa before I’m seriously excited but not quite sure what to expect!

Mathias who runs our volunteering project in Tanzania picked me and my best friend Fran up from the airport and took us straight to the house in Arusha, where the volunteers have been living for the past three weeks. The views from the car are incredible, its so lush and green with banana trees and coconuts all over the place….almost like a jungle!

Close to the house where we stayed in Arusha (the safari mecca of Tanzania)!

We met up with the team of volunteers at the house in Arusha, what a lovely bunch, they have bonded like a little African family out here in the bush. I loved my first night so much, three power-cuts, a burst pipe and Fran’s luggage not arriving for three days felt like a truly authentic introduction to Africa and the cold shower was more than welcome as its about 35 beautiful degrees outside….luckily we had a yummy carton of Tanzanian wine to get us through and some great company…Thanks Mathias!

My first full day in Tanzania started with a visit to Buringa School to do some painting work in the classrooms. Adam the project co-ordinator and Jimmy the driver came with us and we wasted no time in getting stick in!

Then off to CCF to meet some of the street children at the orphanage there. All with an incredible story to tell, these kids gave us a really interesting afternoon and it was lovely to hear that a few people on the team decided to sponsor some of the kids so they could go to school! I think that the project here truly touched all of our volunteers in some way!

Day Three and were off to Lake Manyara-three hours from Arusha and none of the volunteers have been there yet so its exciting to have our very own sneak preview of the next phase of the project! After having a very bumpy meeting with Mathias in the back of a truck on the way there we finally sit down to an icy cold Tusker beer..mmmmmmm.

There are little naughty monkies running around all over the place, they are so playful and come right up to you! Its so peaceful here and I wish I could stay for longer. On the way back we stop at a nearby orphanage to play with the kids, none of which speak a word of English as they had never been lucky enough to have the opportunity of schooling. Many children across Africa rely on sponsorship in order to get an education.

But none of that seems to matter as we play games and dance around…I try to sing along with them in Swahili, which they are finding really funny!

There are about nine children living at the orphanage, which is very small. There are three rooms in total, one bedroom for the girls, one for the boys and a ‘storage room’, which doesn’t really have anything in it. Each bedroom has one bunk-bed in it, meaning that the children are sleeping 2/3 to a bed.

The orphanage is on the side of a highway, where the children spend their days just sitting outside and playing games sometimes. There aren’t really any toys I can see apart from a few tennis balls and one football, which they love! Some of the other children from the town were walking back from school in their uniforms stopping to look at the orphans we were with and I wondered what will become of these lovely children…….??

We spent our last night in Arusha at Via Via, a local traditional bar where all the volunteers like to hang out and dance the night away to live African bands and indulge in a Tusker or two. After one last dance with my new friend Mathias I must say goodbye to My new African family as I am heading off to the island paradise of Zanzibar……a 10 hour coach journey awaits!

Badai! (Later)!

Me and the children of Good Hope!

michaela
After studying travel and tourism at college and going on to work at a top Gap Year organisation Called The Leap, she is now living the dream, spending her days organising volunteering projects in third world countries for young adventurous Gappers and also spending plenty of time abroad road testing the projects. Her adventures began this year with a life changing trip to Africa, where she started a love affair with the continent. After being truly touched by her experience, she is now on a fundraising and a travel mission, and even planning a wedding in South Africa next year! But she won’t stop there….Latin America and Asia also await!

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