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Hello, everyone! I originally envisioned this post with intending to briefly sum up my trip, but I don’t even know where to begin: How does one sum up such a life-changing experience in one short blog post? Regardless, I’m going to try my best to hit on the most important moments. If you’re interested in a detailed blow-by-blow of what I was doing, I have cross-posts of my emails to my mother (ha!) posted on my livejournal. I’m also working on a post about my top travel tips for international travel based on this experience – especially when traveling to developing nations. If you have anything you’d like me to mention, or advice you’d like to share, leave a comment!
Since I spent an entire month (!) in Tanzania, with well over five hundred photos (!!), I decided to split this into two four posts, spanning the two halves of my trip. Clicking on the pictures will lead you to my Flickr, where I have most of my photos posted. As of this writing, they aren’t all up yet, but they will be as I get these posts completed. Stay tuned!
It took approximately twenty-four hours of traveling to get to Karagwe, Tanzania, and that doesn’t even include stopovers! There were two plane rides that were about eight hours each from Washington, DC to London, and then from London, England to Entebbe, Uganda. From Entebbe, my group and I rode another eight hours to get to Karagwe. Whew!
In transit, we got to cross the equator. Check it out: me and my friend Lita are standing in the Northern and Southern hemisphere, respectively. Not pictured: the thin layer of grossness from wearing those same clothes for two-three days straight while in transit. Speaking of which, I’ll definitely mention how to maintain a respectable level of hygiene while traveling long-haul.
This is where I stayed for the month! It was beautiful, comfortable and I enjoyed myself – although there were times where I definitely missed the comforts of home. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a hot shower as much as the first one I got in Uganda heading back home. Phew!
We spent the first week getting acclimated to life in the village and interacting with the various people who lived there. These two boys lived in a village about twenty kilometers down the road and we managed to see them every time we passed through. Don’t let the sweet smile on their faces fool you, these two were a handful – especially that little troublemaker on the right!
We spent the rest of the week recovering from our travels, getting acclimated – and we surely had to get acclimated with that seven hour time difference – introducing ourselves to the community, learning about the culture first-hand and having a crash course in Swahili. Despite my best efforts, I only seemed to gain a masterful handle of greetings. I’m determined to learn more, though! Plus, during this first week, we got to do one of my favorite parts – lots of shopping! Although we weren’t in a touristy area, I had a great time getting clothing made and finding handcrafted treasures to take home to my family. Notice that stylin’ bag, I’m wearing? Got it in Tanzania. I still wear it every day.
That’s it for week one! Stay tuned for parts two through four in the coming weeks!
Are there any travel tips you want to share? Other thoughts? Let me know in the comments!