Study Abroad

We Have Finally Ended Our 47 Hours of Travel

May 18, 2017

Habari! We have finally ended our 47 hours of travel! 17 hours of flying accompanied by another 12 hours of driving! Boy, it has been an experience already.

On our first morning here, we got to watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean while a couple of us waded in the water. Then came the 10 hour drive to Lundamatwe, which though a little uncomfortable, was absolutely incredible. We got to drive a 50 km stretch of road that was a wildlife sanctuary and got to see impalas, elephants, zebras, wildebeests and giraffes in their natural habitat, which was rather surreal. Oh, and the crazy number of baboons lining the roads. That was hilarious. We also got to drive through this absolutely beautiful mountain range that had crazy trees and waterfalls. Though rather cramped, the bus ride was an unreal experience.

After 10 hours, we finally arrived at Masumbo Lodge and, oh my, is this place beautiful. It is a large campus lined with bandas with a powerful river behind it. To cross the river, there are two sitting ziplines, one to get to each side, and a couple of us went on them almost as soon as we got here. We got to the grounds a little before sunset so we got to do a little exploring with the owner's son Seth, who is an adventurous 13 year old that lives here. They prepared us a wonderful dinner, and after dinner we began setting up our lesson plans for the next few days. Once that was all sorted out, a few of us went and climbed these huge rocks that were in the middle of the river and we stared at the most beautiful sky of stars I've ever experienced - I saw 2 shooting stars and the Milky Way. Absolutely surreal experience. Still hard to believe we are in the heart of Africa. It's been an incredible experience so far, as I write this we are 5 minutes from heading to the school for the first time!! We are all super excited! Have to go for now, teaching awaits!
- Carson Perkins

Professor's note: we have just finished our first day of teaching on a definite high. The small group teaching design is working well, and the two sessions we had today (grade seven and grade six) went even better than we had hoped- more on that in upcoming blogs. We also stayed to join in recess, which was a blast. The three soccer balls and two net balls we brought (thanks to co-leader Kristy Walter and the Athletic Department) increased the total number of balls that the school has for recess to five (yes, that's right). We will be at the school again tomorrow, and on Saturday morning. We just got tickets to a Tanzanian music festival on Saturday and Sunday, so we will have a full weekend. The students have been great so far: patient with long, tedious travel, helpful in preparing and setting up, and quite adventurous as we begin reaching across a significant cultural divide to teach English to elementary school students for whom this is their third language (after their local dialect and Swahili). I am thrilled with them so far, and we are all eager to achieve measurable progress by next Saturday. More tomorrow, I hope.