Another three days of work at the hospital, mostly with babies developmentally behind on their milestones like crawling and walking, as well as a few recovering stroke victims and healed fractures. I visited the Maasai market with other volunteers to look at handmade items and buy a few gifts to take home to family and friends. On Thursday afternoon, all the volunteers completed medical outreach. We went back to the juvenile detention center for general well-checks with a local doctor and administered donated medication on the doctor’s prescription. At the Destiny Foundation, it was a lot more playing and passive stretching. This is my first time working with children with Cerebral Palsy, so most of my night consists of reading articles and finding stretches or strength exercises for each of the children. I also got photo permission from the foundation and can not wait to share with you all how cute these children are.
Over the weekend, I got to explore a little bit of Moshi, the town at the base of Kilimanjaro. We spent Saturday at the incredibly beautiful Kikuletwa Springs, a wonderful place to swim. Complete with monkeys, a rope swing, and little fish that try and nibble at your feet.
After hours of swimming, we settled into a bed and breakfast and had dinner under Kilimanjaro. On Sunday, we started the morning with a hike to Materuni Waterfall, a massive fall where the snow from the top of Kilimanjaro falls into the valley, and it is as cold as it is beautiful. After some lunch, we got the opportunity to make coffee with some members of the village residents, and we were taught the entire process from harvesting to dry roasting and eventually got to drink it. It was delicious and a nice way to warm up after the coldest waterfall swim of my life. They also discussed the Chaga tribe and the way of life living on Kilimanjaro. Then just an hour drive later, we were back in Arusha in time for dinner with my host family.
My home life here in Arusha…
I live with an incredibly kind family with lots of children and family members, friends and staff around all the time. The house is capable of sleeping over 8 volunteers along with all the family but this last week it was just two of us. Kim a volunteer from the Netherlands teaching English at a village school and I attempted hand washing our laundry with the help of our host sisters As a thank you, we found some ingredients for s’mores at the local western market.
After spending most the day in the hospital I come home and run around with the host sisters before we all settle down to do homework. I read articles and continue graduate school fieldwork and notes while the five year old practices her English. It is great fun but a little distracting to do our “Kazi” or work together before we watch some television normally a soccer game or cartoon depending what’s on and then dinner. Living with a family is not only fun and comforting but it allows me the ability to see some family dynamics and scenarios are really universal. For instance sisters fighting tooth and nail one minute and playing together later like nothing happened, or my host dad sitting at the table saying “Do your homework so we can go to sleep” to too tired young girls that had all afternoon but neglected it until the last minute, which is very reminiscent to my own elementary school work ethic. Also mamas’ worrying your not eating enough and giving massive portions of homemade food, and adult children stopping by unannounced just to say hi and have dinner or lunch are all familiar scenarios just in a new place. Living at a 8 and 10 hour time difference from my own family leaves the best time to calm right before bed and catch up with them or have a virtual meeting with professors and classmates until I go to bed and do it again the next day. I imagine week four be pretty similar, but I’m excited to keep you all updated.
Mary Kate Parmer