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I cried but I no longer cry

13 Sep

A really nice story from a traveller in Ethiopia:

http://socialbackpack.weebly.com/1/post/2011/08/i-cried-but-i-no-longer-cry.html

People ask me how to prepare for Africa

22 Apr

When I say Africa Stay, I dont mean your 2-week Safari. I dont mean an Expatriate, who is coming to work on a Western Salary. This article is meant for young people, who prepare for a 2-12 month stay in Africa (preferably Uganda ūüėČ ), for volunteering or internship purpose. People who want to get involved with local people and experience Africa outside 5-star hotels and tour cars.

What to pack in my suitcase….

Sure, the main question is: What should I bring from home and what can I buy when I am there? Most capital cities have huge supermarkets with all that can be bought in Europe. Should I bring…

…Shampoo, Contact Lense Liquid, Sunscreen? – You get those but they are quite expensive. (For ladies: Just bring the Tampons, they can be hard to find)

…Washing powder, Soap, Body Lotion, Toilet Paper? – Is this a serious question?? This is Africa, not the moon.

…Mosquito net, water purifying tablets? – Definitely you should use them, but you can buy those items cheaper here than in most Western countries

… my towel, sleeping bag, bedsheets? – That one really depends on your personality. The degree of homesickness and fear of insects varies between individuals. If it will make you feel more safe, clean or comfortable, bring it. But just know that Africa is much cleaner, than you might expect!

… my laptop, my expensive phone and camera? – Depends on where you are going. There are very safe countries. Just know one thing: YOU ARE WHITE! You will stick out and attract attention (of good and bad people). If you wave around your phone and camera all the time, you might “lose” them. A laptop will most definitely be helpful for your work and also leisure time (watch movies, write a jounal, write your blog and email offline and then take the files to an internet cafe on a flash disc). If you dont want to use your iPhone, you can always by a cheap, internet enabled phone for around

… travellers cheques? – I have really not seen travellers cheques anywhere here. Just bring Euro OR Dollar (depending where you come from) and your credit card / Maestro card. ATMs are everywhere in larger cities!

A last word about the size of your suitcase: Bring just as much luggage as you can handle yourself. 40 kg might just be a bit to much. There are very many clothes markets in Africa, cheap and nice second hand dresses, jeans and tops. Aquire shoes that fit the local roads and fashion cheaply just in a few hours.

You will have the best experience in Africa, when you come with the mindset of getting to know the local lifestyle.

What preventive health measures should I take?

This is my personal experience and does not replace your own judgement or consultation of a doctor.

Of course you will be advised by your doctor to carry 5 kg of medication and take malaria prophylaxis through out your stay. The truth is that in capital cities all medication is available – probably cheaper than at home. What you should do is take the necessary vaccinations, check your guidebook to see what is advised. Yellow fever, Tetanus/Diphteria, Measles, Polio, Hepatitis A and B should be included in the list of vaccinations you take (if you never have).

Personally I have not taken Malaria Prophylaxis in the last 2 years and have NOT contracted Malaria. I sleep under a mosquito net and wear long trousers in the evenings. In case I get a temperature, I immediately go for a malaria test (2-5 Euros).

Also check your health insurerer’s policies whether they will cover you for a long-term stay abroad.

What can I read to prepare better?

You could prepare historic knowledge, learn some basic language skills. Look up music on YouTube and watch clips of top local comedians. I also think hearing experiences of other travellers will help you to integrate better. Look out for blogs of other internationals, but dont overprepare or overanalyse. Every persons view is different. I promise you that you will still make your own mistakes, get a serious culture shock and step on peoples feet (culturally I mean). It is good to read about intercultural competence and some of the theory behind cultures (Hofstede)

On historic and social knowledge: There are many books written by Africans, which I would probably prefer to those written by foreigners. Also national newspapers can be read online or news clips watched on youtube. Get a feel of what moves people in the country you are going to!

Enjoy yourself. Enjoy Africa. Your time is limited anyways!

Trip to Masaka

29 Jan

One of my team members invited us for a weekend to his mum’s farm near Masaka.

We had an awesome time and a great introduction to the Baganda Culture. Thank you Matthew!!!

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Another crazy trip! Christmas in Germany

22 Dec

Christmas in Germany starts usually latest in October, when the first sweets are being sold in the shops. Also latest in November it is sooo cold, that obviously you start looking for candles, woolen hats and hot tea.

Now for me this time round it was a bit different. I have hot tea every morning for breakfast (not only but also to prepare for the cold shower), candles at least two nights per week since July (no, the power cuts have not decreased). And it took until early December for me to eat the first Christmas sweets at a friend’s place (who had Swiss friends visiting him).

In the house we planned a christmas party for the 18th December. The interns prepared Food and songs from Australia, Brazil, China, Taiwan, France, Denmark and the Netherlands. Guacamole, Heineken and barbecue for Christmas ÔĀä
Of course we had to ‚ÄúWichtel‚ÄĚ. We exchanged gifts and it was a pretty awesome afternoon and would have been a really great evening, but Jimmy and I had to run of early to catch out bus to Nairobi.

It was my first bus ride during the day to Nairobi, so I finally saw the River Nile near Jinja. The bus broke down (did you really expect something else?), so we had 5 extra hours until Nairobi not only to sleep but also to talk about 2010 and the work and make plans for the holidays.

During the day I passed Upendo Rescue Center, the school looked great! They had cemented the ground around the entrance, which was usually so muddy. I was also happy to hear about the food contributions from local companies. The now new class-8 students told me about their plans of going to secondary school and maybe even university! A big dream for them, regarding the school fees that secondary schools charge.

I spent the evening at the university with AIESECers from Kenya and we shared about what had happened in the last weeks and months. The mood was relaxed and holidays in the air!

Then 20 minutes before I left to the airport we heard the ugly news: In the City Center 4 unknown had thrown grenades at a Kampala Coach bus that was leaving Nairobi towards Kampala. 1 dead, over 20 sincerely injured.
Al-Shabab does really not support Museveni’s opinion and Uganda’s involvement in Somalia and takes the upcoming elections to spread horror and unsecurity through more terrorism.

I arrived at the airport at midnight, checked in at 4am and the plane took off at 8am. Completely sleep-deprived I am now able to sleep 2 hours intervals on any floor of this world (check out my stories from Tanzania ūüėČ

In Istanbul the screen at the transit desk read “Frankfurt – cancelled”. But Turkish Airlines had a really nice Plan B and booked all 3 Frankfurt flights of that day into one plane. We were only 1 bus full geting on a plane for over 300 passengers. There was one black guy, he had a strange accent, somehow I put him o be a Nigerian. When I searched¬† my place, I realized, that my seat was right next to him. I smiled (within) and sat down without much talking.

When the Steward came to ask for his boarding pass (and noone else on he flight had to show his again) I was really annoyed and mentioned to my neighbour that for white people there still seem to be different rules. He laughed and we started talking. Imagine, how I starred at him when he mentioned he left Entebbe in the morning. A freaking Ugandan, had studied at Makerere, was on his first flight ever to Europe and sat next to ME. It was just a funny coincidence and we chatted for the next two hours. At least we got two plates of chicken, when he asked the Stewardess for it. For black people there are other rules ūüėČ

So here I am in Frankfurt at the airport. My parents are somewhere to pick me up. Christmas I am coming!

Home again. But now what does home mean?

14 Aug

Because of complications with my visa application for India I had to come back from Kampala to Nairobi. The Indian High Commission sent me “home”. Officially stated, Kenya is my residence, Uganda not. Now what does that mean.

What do I write on my facebook status when getting on the bus? “am coming home!” clearly everybody would think I mean our house in Banda. In swa it is simple, “nakuja nyumbani”, my friends in nairobi would be excited. But does that make sense, if all my belongings are in my cute little room in kampala with Eva and Prima?
Home is where you feel home, a wise person told me. Where your friends are. So does that make facebook my home? Often enough it brings the world to your small little mobile phone screen and you laugh in realtime with friends, that are physically far away. And the first word after login also says “Home”. So clearly, all that is needed now, is the “apply visa” button!

Nice day everyone, wherever your home is.

Roadtrip…

25 Apr

Fiona and I were travelling by Bus from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam for a very simple 3 day meeting. Ideally a 15 hour trip in a single bus.¬†Lets see, what Facebook says about this trip…

Manuela M√ľller Roadtrip has started. watch this space!

Alh saa 8:03 asubuhi kupitia Mtandao wa Rununu  · Toa maoni · Imenipendeza
Fleur Lys Sego amependezwa nayo.
Manuela M√ľller woke up at 5.20 in MC. bought dar xp tickets 4 me n fi at 5.55
Alh saa 8:08 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller Bus left at 6.25 without us
Alh saa 8:09 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller Hunting the bus via taxi
Alh saa 8:13 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller stupid tz bus conductor refuses to stop. we pass nyayo stadium. we pass the airport.
Alh saa 8:25 asubuhi ·
Fleur Lys Sego Hehe bus hunting sounds fun ūüôā
Alh saa 8:27 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller The luo mama who is with us is in constant communication with her friend in the bus. The whole bus crew are *ss*oles, refuse to stop or slow down
Alh saa 8:39 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller In kitengela the taxi drivers license expires and our money… Whats next?
Alh saa 8:41 asubuhi ·
Charles Nkonge Gitonga hehehe fuuun!!!!
Alh saa 9:02 asubuhi ·
Bakari Mhando Am waiting for season 2,its very nice comedy series.
Alh saa 9:23 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller Just before namanga, now in a bus. These guys are like 30 minutes ahead.:) guy, hope they r held up at the border! Not enough money for the visa. MCP training is on point…
Alh saa 9:40 asubuhi ·
Cathy Mwangi Walala then what??
Alh saa 9:41 asubuhi ·
Charles Nkonge Gitonga tel the luo mama tu tel the woman in the bus to delay…inbox me ua no. i mpesa smthng…..
Alh saa 9:42 asubuhi ·
Caroline Ngugi Oh…my am so sorry for u two gals….hope u catch up with the bus xoxo:-)
Alh saa 10:28 asubuhi ·
Kelvyne Slevinovic John hahahahaha!!!!!!…..i’m wondering why fiona is quiet!!!…ahahahahaha…..u guys need to open a blog!…warrrrrrrrr!!!!!!…….am biting my nails!!!!…hahahhaha
Alh saa 10:30 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller Officially left kenya. As officially as the bus left without us. Now we need your help. Arusha to dar how??
Alh saa 10:37 asubuhi ·
Kelvyne Slevinovic John Bakari is your man!!!!……
Alh saa 10:40 asubuhi ·
Caroline Ngugi Manu…there are two options…call SOS Bakari will answer u….and help….AI can send a chopper as plan B….just ask Cindy:-)
Alh saa 10:41 asubuhi ·
Rose Thuo this story is more captivating than 24 and Lost and kidnapped put together!wish you two girls the best.
Alh saa 10:53 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller Awesome. Now we are between the countries, the other bus is leaving us soon. My visa card haifanyi kazi. And the visa still wants to be paid. Mpesa anything you have to my zain line. We need 2k
Alh saa 11:04 asubuhi ·
Amos Mtaita SEND ME YOUR PHONE NUMBER NOW!!!
Alh saa 11:08 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller By the way, if it wasnt for there freaky police man, i wudnt have attempted to get the exit stamp.
Alh saa 11:08 asubuhi ·
Amos Mtaita HOW DO I REACH YOU!!!
Alh saa 11:08 asubuhi ·
Caroline Ngugi @Amos…call Manu on her Zain
@Manu tell Fi to switch to her Safaricom…ASAP:-)
Alh saa 11:10 asubuhi ·
Amos Mtaita i dont have her number…
Alh saa 11:12 asubuhi ·
Amos Mtaita carol…send it to me…
Alh saa 11:13 asubuhi ·
Manuela M√ľller While waiting for mpesa (thanks ppl and hurry up) looking at tour busses and lorries that look trustworthy and inviting…
Alh saa 11:32 asubuhi ·
Razvan Dragu It is time to chill…buy a bottle of Konyagy and enjoy the road. Your road trip is funny like a movie ” Manu and Fi – tripping to Dar”
Alh saa 11:46 asubuhi ·
Caroline Ngugi All the best guys…let us know what happens:-)
@Mtaita the ball is on ur court…takea of them:-)
Alh saa 11:58 asubuhi ·
Martha Diana This is funny and fun at the same time! Have maaad fuuuun!
Alh saa 12:44 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela M√ľller Visa bought now. Thanks to you our dear readers! mpesa, juu. Zap… Downest:( Green truck with license plate t945bcu takes us to arusha now. Lets see what happens next:-)
Alh saa 12:57 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela M√ľller Thanks for the konyagi tip. After a sip of that guys sachet was told to maliza… Anyways, fi and manu on the bed behind the truck driver. Bumpy! And slow… Worst: no camera:-(
Alh saa 1:17 mchana/ jioni ·
Razvan Dragu this is any truck driver’s best fantasy…milk and choclate on the bed behind him…bumpyyyy
Alh saa 1:27 mchana/ jioni ·
Caroline Ngugi Manu…hold on strong…u will arrive safely….MCP transition just begun…Fi’s phone has a camera u can take a pic to share later:-)
Alh saa 1:32 mchana/ jioni ·
Bakari Mhando Welcome to Tz thats what i do always when i’m late n broke,usijali u’l get here in 1 pc,if u cnt get transpt 4m arusha go up to moshi then to Himo u’l get smthng to tak u here,u r on my s camera relax galz n enjoy d xp.:-)
Alh saa 2:15 mchana/ jioni ·
Joel Rao walalalala this is awesome!! am like 6 hrs behind
Alh saa 6:09 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela M√ľller ok. how it continued… the truck trip took long, but was fun. loooots of police stops but we arrived in Arusha. Then we took a bus to Moshi. A really cool friend of Beko hosted us. Moshi is awesome! clean water, awesome food, nice mud in the morning.
Iju saa 4:28 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela M√ľller not to forget the preacher that told me and Fiona to shut up while he is praying. Nice story he had… Once they told him to get out of the bus in Nakuru, it had an accident and the passengers died…
Iju saa 5:04 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela M√ľller then another 8 hours in another bus from moshi to dar. TUMEFIKA!!!! in the MC house with Cindy and Amos and Tate now. COOL ;)))
Iju saa 5:04 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela M√ľller End of story! Thanks for your attention
Iju saa 5:05 mchana/ jioni ·
Bakari Mhando Y r u nt mentioning casts of d movie?if its d end of story?u can sleep on my bed.
Iju saa 5:43 mchana/ jioni ·
Aderemi Dadepo guess part 2 would be when u going back ūüėź
d suspense was fun and a repeat won’t be a bad idea ūüėČ
Iju saa 10:23 mchana/ jioni ·
Manuela M√ľller inshallah no season 2!!!
kama saa moja iliyopita ·

My trip to AfroXLDS¬†2010 in Togo!!

5 Apr

AfroXLDS 2010 (Africa eXchange and Leadership Development Seminar) was a 6 day conference in Palime, the Facilitator team also had 3 days of premeeting and 2 days of postmeeting in Lome. We had around 100 delegates from countries like Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal. Then we had one lady from Kenya and some Brazil, Canadian, German and Japanese visitors.

We started off with a Community day in Lome were we learned from an NGO that deals with spreading the gospel of solar cookers in Togo. After an evening with lots of get-to-knows we had our final preparations for the conference. The Opening Ceremony was graced by a government official, after which we held a podium discussion regarding the Millenium Development Goals. In the afternoon we went to the University of Lome and held our colorful global village and impressed hundreds of university students with our diversity. The next 5 days were spent well in a nice hotel in Palime (yeeees, I am used to not having water and electricity by  now, but in over 30 degrees this reaches new dimensions of being annoyed). Part of the delegation discussed the strategic direction of our countries in Africa, the other half indulged in personal discovery, leadership discussions and practical experience of team work. Together we evaluated the Projects that are run and learned how to be as fast, savvy, smart, strong and sexy as possible in our work (see AIESEC Gen 2010). As always, fun and networking  are integral part of any AIESEC event!

I returned from my Togo trip with around 2,000 pictures and videos. This is just a small selection, but gives a good idea of what we did in the 10 days.

West Africa?? Hot, French vs. English, definitely worth another visit!

Thanks to everybody who contributed financially to making this trip happen!

Westafrica!

22 Mar

The Africa Exchange and Leadership Development Seminar (AfroXLDS) 2010 is held in Togo.
I was chosen as one of the facilitators and for weeks I have been looking forward to the Trip and the experience.
Finally coming to Westafrica, seeing the home of my Togolese friends from IC, using my french again, inspiring and training the next generations of Leaders.

3 days of preparation and 7 days of Agenda were planned for this amazing conference.

After a major communication breakdown with our sponsoring airline, I realized on Friday morning that there is not only not a flight reserved for me, but also the direct flight to Lomé (which leaves only 3 days a week) is full. I would reach Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) but then?

Left with the two options of flying to Lagos (Nigeria) or Accra (Ghana) instead I started investigations on how to reach Lome from there. In the afternoon the news were that neither of the countries issue visa on arrival. Trusting in the flight agent that the Addis-Lome flight would open up and I could change my ticket once in Ethiopia I booked a ticket to Accra.
I informed the AIESECers in Ghana and Togo about the flight and started praying.

24 hours after leaving the University of Nairobi I am seated in a university hostel in Lom√© with a plate of Pasta and the other Organizers and Facis from Ghana, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Mexico, Poland, France, Uganda and India.

Lessons from a crazy trip:

1. The long rains allways come at night… when you are searching for a cab with loads of luggage.
2. Ethiopian Airlines does not issue tickets at the airport on Sundays
3. Ghana DOES issue visa on arrival
4. Zain can roam in Ghana, MTN not.
5. Mzungu is called differently in Ghana.
6. You can travel in a car from Accra to Lagos (for less than 30 Euros)
7. A Togolese who does not know English and a Ghanean who does not speak French can still communicate in Ewe.
8. P Square sounds even cooler, when you driving on the right side of the road.
9. The neighbour in the car will ask latest after 2 hours how you see the difference between black and white boyfriends.
10. The Togolese immigration office is on the beach, consists of a desk under an ironsheet roof and operates without electricty.
11. Bodaboda drivers in Lomé dont have speed governours and helmets.
12. East is not West!

New years trip to Mombasa

4 Jan

I arrived in Mombasa on the 26th after am extremely quick and cheap ride (6h12 for 700ksh with Randa Coach). The family of an AIESEC friend had offered us their flat for the week. After removing basic dirt and cockroaches we started a very random plot and went to Diani Beach.

No matter how often I have seen white sand and the blue water, this beach is still paradise. We swam for hours, ate coconuts and talked a lot. In the evening the Kenyans, the Ghanean and Japanese decided to go back but Romeo from Guatemala and I could not imagine exchanging that hot flat for this place. We stayed two more days until we returned to Mombasa on Monday, totally sandy, in need for fresh clothes and a shower but with new stories, totally relaxed and happy.

We joined the rest of the group for an evening around the house, in Tudor. Fried fish, barbecued chicken and fresh fruits are sold on the street so we tried a bit of everything.
We got to know different parts of the city, meeting other friends from Nairobi. Finally I also saw north coast, tourism seems more developed. We spent a whole afternoon at the foot of the Fort Jesus. I admired the beautiful scenary but could not understand what drew the kids into that dirty water.

Over the next days more and more ppl left until I was left with Lulu my office pal from Nigeria. We spent new years eve with Frank at his place (again mombasa has a totally different face on this side). He took up to church at midnight, over 1000 came to the jesus celebration centre. This was a new concept to me, but the (in lots of african countries pretty spread) idea is to put Jesus first in your life. If this rule is transferred on how the night continued, traffic jam is my number two and beer comes third.

The Nigerian wave has fully arrived in Kenya and so half of the songs that were played were from swaggaland. Lulu and I enjoyed to the fullest, arriving home laughing and joking. After a decent sleep-well-guinness and happy new year chapatis we slept. Note: in a country on the equator its not hard to party until dawn.

The highlight was that I crossed the bay under fort jesus twice. Very much to the surprise of the kids, who could hardly understand how a proper mzungu can swim in that dirt. And if you dont believe it, ask Lulu, who watched, or Sahim, whom I met halfway.

My mombasa 2009/10: divers (local ppl, touristy places, muslim old¬†town, christian newyear, sporty, relaxing), tasty (arabic coffee,¬†pilau with goat…) and cheap (especially after the ATM swallowed my¬†card).

Just very awesome holidays, will miss it!

Like a friend said: You can either take the water to Nairobi or relocate to Mombasa.

Mmm… Let me think!

Tanzania in 8 days

4 Dec

AIESEC in TZ invited me to chair (=moderate and coordinate) a conference in Zanzibar for 150 of their members. So after weighing my options, I decided to take a bus (2,500 KSh) on Wednesday morning with some of my members and interns instead of flying (350 Euros). No water in the hostels at Uni of Nairobi in the night before, so I arrive a bit smelly and late (taxi had tyre problems) at the bus. Even a bit later is one of my interns, her taxi didnt come at all. So we make the whole crew wait for a mzungu (ironic) and leave Nairobi around 6.30. After passsing the border (50 USD for the visa, walking to TZ via foot, group picture at the sign, I love being white) we have 800 km left. Seveveral breakdowns (always a good chance to buy snacks and ice cream and be welcomed by locals) and discussions with our busmates later we arrive in Dar at midnight.

Dar es Salaam

The heat is incredible, the word sweat cannot exactly cover what we feel when getting of the bus.

A group of AIESECers is picking us up, they take us to the AIESEC house. No time to hesitate, we go to a party where we drink (Kilimanjaro is better than Tusker!!) and dance until 4. Knowing that we have to leave to the ferry at 9 I dont bother sleeping but just dose a bit before we prepare breakfast for the 30 guys who slepts at the house with us. Oh. And shower (bucket shower of course). Discovering around 25 mosquito bites on each (!) foot in the morning I realize this is not Nairobi.

The Conference

A newies and oldies conference at Zanzibar, that sounds amazing. We take the ferry (immigration office when arriving in zanzibar) and arrive in another world. Primarily muslim villages, beaches, harbors, fish everywhere.

Of course we run late becacuse the hotel had not prepared the site, so I start cutting the agenda. I am so used to this by now. I laugh when looking back at my first conference in Portugal when I thought at he agenda is not running smoothly.

Meanwhile I work with the 17 headed trainers team, mainly AIESEC leaders from UG, TZ and Kenya. We organize ourselves to an extend that the conference can start. The mood is extraordinary, the feeling of being in a holiday place makes everyone smile. Dances and shouts from the different LCs, we start the sessions late and finish even later. It is after midnight when the party stats and we shuttle the people home around 2am.

A quick faci meeting at 7.30 in the morning and we kickoff the main day of the conference. The more experienced members discuss their personal leadership journey and encourage each other. I realize once again that this is why I love AIESEC and dedicate my time to it.

Minor changes in the agenda, we have to incorporate some outdoor activities, this weather is just to awesome. Some rounds of truth or dare later we continue the sessions. At 10 the electricity disappears and now I realize the motivation of the new members. They write their proposals and discuss around the Empowering Africa Program without light and air condition using their phones as torches. We finish the content at around 11.30pm. The party on the second night is way nicer, we leave around 4, joking the whole night. In fact noone had a beer to much, its an amazing dicipline and family feeling.

Throughout the conference I really connect to one of the MC members in TZ, his main motto “Life was meant to be so easy, its only humans who are trying to make it complicated” makes us laugh at different times.

I sleep from 6, just to make sure people have left the hotel at 8 to go back to the conference room.

After delivering last content we close the conference with personal discovery and inspirational speeches. People are tired, the newies are not used to our way of working and partying yet. So last mobilizations for roll-calls (dances) and then we go for the group picture (picture).

Post Conference Fun

The delegates leave around 2 for a beach and old town trip.

The MC of TZ asks me to join them for something else:

Another large east african conference is supposed to take place in February, we go and visit the probable venue. A danish biologist opened a school centre and created a unique and sustainable paradise. I am lost standing on the beach, watching the waves and feel like in a movie scene. But before we dare to dream, we need to discuss: How can we as students contribute to the local community in order for them to allow 300 youths to come to their village for 5 days?

He invites us for fruits and beer, we stay until past seven before we hesitantly (sana!) go back to the ferry.

So we finally get on the ferry and try finding a space. All seats are occupied so with a friend I decide to just camp with my Kanga on deck, the locals do the same. Is way cooler than inside the ship and as we expect people to get nauseous, its better to be in fresh air. I realize that I had slept 9 hours in the last 4 nights and just sleep on the uncomfortable flor until we arrive at 6. At least nobody steps on me and the people who have to vommit use their paperbags. Life was meant to be so easy.

Back in Dar

In the evening we have a three hour post meeting to discuss our logistical challenges, suggest changes to agenda and sessions for next time. I have the feeling that there is a great talent pipeline in AIESEC Tanzania and the years to come will see great growth.

That night I finally sleep for 10 hours (interrupted only be the heat and a short trip to the bus to drop of the first Kenyans who leave…). I get the chance to read emails (free wireless LAN at the Uni of Dar es Salaam) for 3 hours. I reply the most important of my 204 new messages. Work seems to go well in Nairobi. People say they miss me and I should come home quickly, otherwise they come and get me. I send invites to two events for the upcoming weekend and then return to my Dar reality… Fruits, talking to people, mosques calling for prayers everywhere, nice meat, Fries in eggs (Chips Mayai) lots of dust on the road. Somehow I think the traffic infrastructure is better than in Nairobi, but there is no music in the matatus (which they call DallaDalla and who cost 250 T-Shings whereever you go).

Someones who plans a trip ot Kenya, ask me via email whether reports are true that african toilets are squat seats, full of urin and water on the floor and dont have doors. I laugh out loud and read it to my friends. They are actually offended and disappointed by such a report about their continent. But I realized long ago that “Africa” (Pls refer again to the article) is large and diverse when you are there, but looks tiny on the map and in the eye of large parts of the west.

Another day goes by like this, small shopping here and there, visiting dorm rooms and talking to members. We strategize how Kenya and TZ and woFood and always lots of cold water. Anyways this city is to hot and now I estimate 80 itchy spots on my body. Going back to Nairobi with highland climate sounds alluring and yet so boring.

The last night we spend talking outside the house on the couch, watching the ful moon behind the palm trees. Having beer we forget the time. Life was meant to be so easy!

So today it is wednesday and I am in the bus back to Nairobi. The day starts at 5.35, that alarm bell did not do its job. The bus is supposed to leave at 6, real quick shower, the two guys take my bag, we run trough a tropical rain to the taxis and of to the busstage. “Mama, Twende”, says fthe employer of DarExpress, when ticking my name on his list (at least he does not call me Mzungu!)

Goodbye to my two friends, see you for christmas or the next conference in February. Thanks for the invitation and will deinitely only say positive things. Yes, will let you know when I fika Nairobi. And for sure miss you too.

I get on the bus, 6.30, we leave.

How is travelling in Tanzania?

When our bus (DarExpress, 50,000 TSh) queues for a police stop, around 30 sellers of gods come to sell biscuits, cold water, shoes, fruits or eggs. You simply buy through the window. My neighbour brings fried Sweet Banana, without a word passes me a piece and continues staring in the other direction. When I ask him whether he is full, he says no. In Africa food has to be shared, so I eat anyways. Its tamu (“sweet” which equals tasty), by the way ūüôā

The heat makes me fall asleep and around 10.30 we stop for early lunch break at a restaurant. 2 Chapatis (500 TSh each) and a big bottle of water (1000), then I prepare myself for bargaining with the fruit sellers. 4 Mangos and 6 Tangerines for 1000 TSh, there is nothing much to discuss..

Oh, the toilets. No water on the floor. I am happy not to find a regular toilet, as squatting to me seems more clean anyways. But I find paper, for free and a hook to put my bag. Am really thinking hard about how this continent is presented in western guidebooks.

We continue with our trip through rural areas, different beautiful leandscapes, pass Arusha at 3.30 where we pick up a very annoying preacher until we reach Namanga and the border at 5.30. Kwaheri Tanzania, niko sure nitarudi!

More pics here: http://journals.worldnomads.com/beth_king/gallery/19950.aspx