Week seven highlights; a three day safari through Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater. It was an experience straight out of a dream and I had the opportunity to see hundreds of animals right before they begin to migrate up to Kenya and insane scenery of world famous national parks! For the second time I got to camp in Africa and again it was a few very cold nights and early mornings but worth it to see the animals we did. Below are some of my favorite pictures I got with just my phone and an awesome driver who got us so close to so many animals.
Before the weekend excursion I spent time meeting new volunteers and showing them around Arusha and our neighborhood. There are now eight volunteers living with my host family which leads to loud dinners and lots of last minute outings. Only two days were spent in the hospital this week since Thursday was another medical outreach. We delivered medication and well checks to a school not far out of the city around two Massai villages for students two years old to six years old and the school is fully funded and built by Project Abroad which is an amazing thing to get to be apart of even in a limited role.
Spent a day at the foundation working on nonverbal communication with multiple children and attempting to begin strategizing with the staff to address the food insecurity displayed by several of the children. Below is a photo of one of the children coincidentally wearing a sweatshirt repping my home state of Nevada!
Tourism and Safari in Tanzania
Safari in Swahili means “travels”
A major part of Arushas revenue comes from tourism specifically Kilimanjaro and the wildlife excursion through the parks. This means much like the rest of the world the last few years with international travel limitations caused a lot of loss to the country and individual who rely on tourism to pay their bills and feed their families. Now with Covid restrictions lifting globally the safari industry is back at full capacity with hundreds of land cruisers with open tops heading out daily for one day to ten day safaris with everything from tent camping to four season lodges depending on the clientele. Tourism companies plan the excursions but the drivers/guides and chefs are the real backbone of the safari industry. The drivers have cultivated a community of there own enjoying nights together at campsites as the tourists eat dinner and sleep. They are constantly stopping and talking to each other about what animals they have seen in what area to ensure every car sees every animal they can. When are car got a flat four other trucks stopped to help us change the tire in an environment as harsh and massive as the Serengeti having friends to rely on isn’t just nice but essential.
Week 7 marks halfway through my hundred days in Africa and it is bitter sweet as I have learned so much about rural medicine, global disabilities, and Tanzania culture. My Swahili is still very basic but functional. This community continues to welcome me everyday and patiently teach me everything from medicine to cooking and everything in between. This place has challenged me to make connections and forged relationships through language and cultural barriers and taught me more about my self while reshaping the way a see things and adjusting the my schema of community, work, and life I had before arriving.
I can only hope my second half is as enlightening and amazing as the first!
Mary Kate Parmer