If you told either of us that we’d be so overcome by emotion within the first week of our trip, we would have been skeptical. If you told us it would happen twice, we would have outright laughed at you. Well…we’re not laughing now!
Emotionally overwhelming story #1:
On route to Iringa, we drove through Mikumi National Park. As the highway runs right through the park , we saw baboons (nyani) hanging out on the side of the highway before we even reached the main gates. It was unreal! Once we arrived, we hired a guide, Tomas, to take us through the park’s sights. Even with the knowledge that we were likely to run into African wildlife, it hadn’t really sunk in for us that it was a reality – we were in Africa and we WERE going to see the animals we’d only seen in zoos before. Sure enough, less than five minutes in, giraffes and elephants were in the distance! During our drive through the park, we were able to see giraffes (twiga), elephants (tembo), water buffalo (nyati), warthogs (pumba), impala (swalapala), antelope (palahala), zebras (pundamilia), wildebeests (nyumbu), hippos (kiboko), and three female lionesses (simba) snoozing in the sun! The day was so inspiring that we’re planning another safari (which really means journey) at the end of our trip.
Emotionally overwhelming story #2:
Today, we visited both primary schools in the villages where we will be working, Lubanda and Ilima. The relationship with Lubanda primary school is relatively new and it was nice to visit with them and get an idea of how we’ll be able to help during our stay here. Ilima primary school, on the other hand, has been involved in the project for many years. We were very excited to find out how we could help and to see the impact that the past support has made on the student’s education. Dr. Roger Thomson, one of the heads of the Tanzanian Poultry Project, has been tremendously involved with the school and it was rumoured they built a school house in his name! We parked the car and walked through the village, meeting with old friends that recalled the visit last year. As we travelled down the hill, lined by banana and cocoa trees, we saw a few children scurry quickly ahead of us. As the trees finally parted and we could see the school in the distance, the children began to clap and sing and run towards us. As we neared the school, we became surrounded by the mass of children and completely swallowed by their song. They had written a welcome song for us and sung along loudly and full of energy! Imagine 200 students cheering simply because of your arrival! It was truly moving (and incredibly emotionally overwhelming).