After two full days of travel we caught a night’s rest then we were up and at it early the next morning. Our hotel had a box breakfast for us to take with us, so we hit the road. Breakfast was interesting. I at the banana, hard-boiled egg, and croissant, but decided to skip the package that looked like a hot dog. I figured the protein from the egg would be enough.
As we drove through Arusha the thing that stood out to me was that there were people walking everywhere. Such a contrast from suburban America. We get in our cars, back out of our garages and drive wherever we need to go, even if it’s just down the road. Here if you needed to get there, you walked. I also was struck by how colorful the women’s clothing was. Bright colors everywhere! America is a drab place in comparison (clothing-wise).
We left Arusha and drove toward Singida. This would take several hours. We were stopping at a Compassion center in Katesh on the way. As we drove we passed many Maasai dwellings. My parents live near Amish territory in Illinois. Amish compared to the rest of the residents of Central Illinois is what the Maasai seemed like compared to the other Tanzanian people. More primitive. Their homes were mud huts. They could be seen herding their cows and goats; sometimes right along the highway.
After a while our buses pulled to the side of the road and our leader said that we were going to take a quick bathroom break. All of us laughed…..and then realized he wasn’t kidding. I decided I could wait.
We arrived in Katesh at the Compassion project. There were the children dressed in their best. They were clapping and singing as we pulled up. What a greeting! We were all smiles as we were welcomed.
The children sang “This is the Day” as we walked toward the church. Then they led us to the building. We were treated to the first of what would be many beautiful choir performances. After the beautiful singing and spirited dancing, we sat down to lunch. This would be the first of many meals that would look a lot like this one.
The food tasted good, but we would see a LOT of rice in the next week.
We spent the rest of our time playing with the kids and touring the center. Our cameras were a big hit and the kids loved taking turns posing and then snapping photo themselves. Even the staff got into the spirit.
Soon it was time to go. We were each given a DVD of the choir as a gift. We said our goodbyes and we resumed our drive to Singida. We arrived at the Aqua Vitae Resort in Singida later in the afternoon. My room resembled more of a small dorm room. However this is Africa afterall. If anyone was expecting the Hilton then they really had checked their sense of reality at the door. This trip really wasn’t about our personal comfort anyway, and in reality these accommodations were so far above what the majority of the people lived in. I was a little disappointed that there was not internet access, only because this was the means of communication that I had with my family back home. Fortunately a generous woman in our group lent me her phone every evening to send a quick text message to my husband that I was alive and well.
The next day would bring another visit to a child center and another full day of unforgettable experiences.