Study Abroad

Safe From Hippopotami

May 30, 2017

I went out of my way when the blogs were assigned to pick a day nearing the end of the trip to write. That way, I would have had more time in Tanzania and a chance to put the trip into meaningful, deserving words. But, now as we are nearing the end of the trip I find myself still struggling to write about how incredible this experience has been.

I told myself going into this trip that I did not want to think of it as "life changing."  I didn't want to put that type of pressure on to my experience, and have a mindset for how much the trip would change me before even entering the country. But, I can say without a doubt that this trip has absolutely been the most amazing time of my life. Working in the school with our students has taught me about unconditional love in a matter of days. The kids have shown me so much about pure happiness that I would have never dreamed of. And, having the opportunity to spend two and a half weeks in another continent with this group has taught me more about myself than I could have learned anywhere else.

Today, at the Ruaha National Park, we went on our all day safari. Throughout seeing the impalas running in the tall grass and elephant babies snuggled up next to their mother, there were so many moments that did not feel like reality. These gorgeous animals were in their natural habitat, running free and we had the chance to see something most people only dream of. None of these animals were in captivity, they were safe to enjoy their lives inside of the park and it felt amazing watching this happen.

Obviously there were some less mesmerizing moments of the day, like the frog jumping out of the toilet in the middle of Emily's bathroom break and the uneven sunburns we all acquired. But after working at the school for a week & a half and enduring the emotional roller coaster of leaving our wonderful students, it felt great to relax and be driven around in this beautiful place.

Tandala Camp Lodge has a watering hole on its grounds for animals to drink out of. It is far away enough from people where the animals feel comfortable drinking from it, but it is close enough where we get to watch the animals from the site. Today, we ended our adventure watching 2 families of elephants drink from the watering hole with the sun setting behind them. It was like we were staring at a painting tonight, the sun fading into pink and the elephants slurping up the water through their trunks. I thought to myself watching them that even if my time in Tanzania is coming to an end, moments like this will always mean the world to everyone here.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the people who helped every member of this group come on this trip. I'm so grateful that each member of the group has been on this trip, this experience would not have been the same without every single one of them. Thank you to my parents for letting me have this opportunity, I've have a world of fun and learning experiences, I'm so thankful for you both. And finally, despite my fears coming into this trip, I have not been crushed/harmed by a hippopotamus. Hooray!