Today was my first full day as a volunteer.

My day began with sending the children off to school.  Each day, the students meet at the front of the property in their uniforms before they go to school.  Their uniform is a white button-up shirt underneath a red wool sweater, a long blue kilt (girls) or khaki shorts (boys), white and black striped socks and closed toed shoes.  All students are required to shave their heads, girls included).  My morning job is to make sure they all have school supplies (daftari-notebook and a pen or pencil).  They are allowed to trade in broken or too-small pencils and are given a new one to replace it.  If they lose any supplies, they have to do extra chores.  The volunteers walk the children to school and our morning is spent teaching the little ones (more on my teaching assignment later!).

The afternoon is playtime!  After their nap, the kids are allowed to play until the big kids get home from school.  Today I spent my afternoon reading to Ema (ee-muh), a three year old boy. Ema loves animals.  There are a number of pets who live here: two kittens (Mayai and Chipsi) and two dogs, one very old black lab, Kira and a portuguese water dog, Winchester.  Ema spends much of his playtime chasing around the animals and loving on them, giving them kisses, hugs and petting them.  Naturally, Ema and I are already good buds.  So, we read 6 books of his choosing, and all were about animals.  The boy knows what he likes!

After playtime, I went for a walk with Maddy, the volunteer coordinator.  We took a walk through the coffee fields and there were some stunning views.  

When I returned home, I went to Ramundo House (all girls) for Chapatti dinner.  Every Thursday we get to eat with the children.  Chapatti is a less dough-ey, naan-like, oily bread served with beans and cabbage.  We sit with the girls and encourage table manners and speaking English.  I ate with Ramundo House because beginning on the 10th, I will be living there!  The girls were excited to have me as a guest and we had a good time eating and laughing together.  

Almost one week done…hard to believe!


Jambo from Tanzania


28 hours of travel: 14 hours in a plane + 8.5 hours in a car + 3 continents + 4 airplane meals + 0 sleep= I am in Tanzania!

I am here with three of my students to volunteer at the Rift Valley Children’s Village in the outskirts of Karatu, Tanzania.

We arrived at the Mt. Kilimanjaro Airport last night and went straight to our lodge (an adorable place near the JRO Airport).  I managed to steal one last hot shower and promptly fell asleep underneath my mosquito net.  This morning the girls knocked on my door 30 minutes before our official meeting time to let me know they had already explored the property…I was tired!  Jet lag is no joke, even as a morning person!  We had a great breakfast and met our driver, Joseph, an older man who took us 6 hours to the village where we will be staying for the next 2 and a half weeks.

When we arrived to RVCV, we were greeted by Mama India and Heather who gave us a quick tour of the grounds and showed us the houses that we would be staying in.  The property is situated atop a mountain on a coffee plantation.  The views are gorgeous!  I am in Eagle’s Nest (the young men’s house) and I live in a small room with 2 bunk beds for other volunteers.  Currently, I am the only volunteer and there is one thirteen year old boy, Barraca, who also lives here.  The rest are away at boarding school.

When we arrived to RVCV at 2:00, the older kids were away at the local government school (a 2 minute walk from RVCV), so it was just the younger children on the property.  At 3:30 the rest of the children came home and the houses were abuzz with kids of all ages.  They are all so friendly and excited to know about us (where we came from, how old we are, etc.)….we are certainly not the first volunteers to come here; there are people from the US who are in and out of the village, so I guess I expected them to be less curious and see us more as passers by rather than part of the community.

Here is a video that is a good representation of what India is doing here:

Tomorrow we will have orientation and then begin our duties as volunteers.  I am looking forward to sharing my journey with you!