I have been here for almost a week now, and am finally making my first post.
The trip here was uneventful (thankfully), and we all arrived safely in Kilimanjaro. Two students' baggage was left behind in Amsterdam, but they recovered it in the next couple days.
Steering wheel on the other side of the car, car on the other side of the road... gonna have to get used to this
So far, I am loving every minute.
I am partnered with Benita (another student in the program who happens to already be fluent in Swahili...which is fantastic), and our host family is wonderful. They are very welcoming and have five children (ages 17, 13, 7, 5, and 1.5). Benita and I share a room and bathroom in the home, and it is approximately a 15-20 minute drive from the language school.
On Saturday, our whole group took a tour of a Masai village in Arusha and went on a hike up "Little Kili", as our guide affectionately termed it. It was a very steep climb, and we took breaks every so often to catch our breath. Of course, what was a difficult climb to us proved to be nothing to the locals, and we were all impressed to see women walking up the way we had come while carrying buckets of water on their heads.
Yesterday, I went to church with Mama and Benita. At the beginning of the service, the preacher asked all the guests to stand up and introduce themselves. Benita and I rose and I followed her eloquent introduction with a simple, "Mimi ni Lucy. Kutoka San Francisco, California, Marekani" (I am Lucy. I am from San Francisco, Californai, America). I have heard from others that the church services they attended reached up to 6 hours, but ours was just about 1.5. It seemed very similar to Catholic services in the states. Of course, I couldn't understand anything that was being said, so every now and then Benita would turn to me and give a summary in English.
Right now I am on my lunch break at school. Every morning, we have Swahili classes from 8:30 to 12:30 (with a break for tea from 10 to 10:30) and then we resume at 1:30 for technical classes and lab projects.
I have more pictures that would complement this post, but I am currently letting my camera battery charge, so those will go up later!
More updates to come! Baadaye!