Hello from Kigali, Rwanda! We arrived on March 20th and only get to spend a few days here before traveling overland to southern Uganda. We are in week six of our journey through East Africa which marks the half way point of our three month experience. We just spent the first half of the trip in Tanzania and have had some remarkable, life changing experiences.
We started off at the Dar es Salaam airport and continue south west to Morogoro where we spent a few days exploring under the African sun and taking in all the information which would help us during the next three months. From there we traveled even further south to the Mufindi Region in the southern highlands to volunteer with the Mufindi Orphans. We experienced a lot in one week and got to dive into some of their ongoing projects as well as hike in the mountains. Next we traveled back east near Iringa town and spent a week at a Swahili school while camping in the lucious forest land. After a week of class I can speak Swahili better and after a few more years of study I’ll be a pro. After Swahili school the group went the furthest south in Tanzania to Njombe and enjoyed three full days with Ohana Amani, an amazing NGO that is just beginning to embark on numerous community based projects. If you want to meet two inspiring young women spend an hour with them and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
From the deep south of Njombe we took a 12 hour hot, sweaty, sticky bus ride back to Dar es Salaam where we spent for a night before hopping on another 12 hour bus from Dar to Arusha in the north. We soaked up the much needed showers and amenities in Arusha and continued on to live in a Maasai village outside Arusha. We camped in a village and painted a nearby school. We experienced all aspects of tribe life and even had the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend a traditional male circumcision ceremony that only happens every 7 years. From there we did our most touristy thing yet and had a 3 day safari and game drive through Lake Manyari, Serengeti National Park, and the Ngorongoro Crater. All the animals you could imagine we’re captured on photo and video and 2 female lions decided to join our party and walk right next to our Land Cruiser. 3 days of being a tourist was more than enough and village life beaconed again. Before flying to Rwanda we spent 4 days with Mzee Pete O’Neil and Charlotte Hill O’Neil on their spacious compound known as the United African Alliance Community Center between Arusha and Moshi. Pete and Charlotte were self exiled from the US in the 60′s because they formed the Kansas City chapter of the Black Panther party. We had some much needed rest and relaxation while also dabbling in some arts and crafts.
We are right now in and around Kigali, Rwanda and are visiting various memorials and sights about the genocide in 1994. It’s a very eye opening experience and Rwanda is nothing like the picture you may have created in your head.
On paper it may not seems like a lot but let me assure you that the past six weeks have been packed. We have embraced the life of nomads and haven’t stayed in one place longer than one week. There have been epic bus adventures, long work days, blistering sun, and mild sickness but every minute is worth it. You might say that the trip is half over but I see the trip as just beginning. This journey to me isn’t just 3 months, but years upon years. It’s an adventure without a destination or an end in sight. This adventure is life so embrace every minute you can.
I would also like to thank all my family, friends, teachers and supporters out there. Without your continued support I would not be on this trip now nor would I feel empowered to create the life I love. This may not be “the” path I imagined for myself but this is my path. It’s not for everyone but it’s the perfect one for me.
Life life on purpose.
Much love from the busy streets of Kigali,