I have created this blog for anyone that wants regular updates about my time here in Malawi. I am currently volunteering my time to the Ministry of Hope Crisis Nursery and Orphan Feeding Centers. I am a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse helping to care for the orphaned, abandoned and ill babies of Malawi. I will try to post updates as often as I can. I thank you all for your support and prayers. Please send them to the babies, children, and people of Africa too. I hope in the pictures you are able to get a small idea of what life is like here for me, but mainly the people of Malawi.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
So Chris and I set out yesterday for an adventure to Tanzania with our final destination being Zanzibar. We arrived in Dar Es Salaam last night and stayed in a freezing cold hotel room which I seemed to be the only one that minded that! Chris cranked the AC!!! The city itself reminds me of how underdeveloped Malawi is. Dar is big with lots of tall buildings and overall it is nothing special to see, so I wasn't disappointed when it was just a quick stop over. So this morning Chris's sister and husband Mark arrived at our hotel and we hopped a ferry to Stone Town, Zanzibar on the earliest boat over. The weather here is far hotter than Malawi and about 100% humidity to boot! So the sweat just rolls off of you. Zanzibar is about 95% Muslim, so there is no skimping on clothes. Knees have to be covered and shoulders ideally too, but as for the latter I had to let this one go. It didn't seem to cause any problems as it is such a touristy destination, but I always try to remain respectful. So after arriving in Stone Town we wound around these crazy streets to find our hotel which used to be a rich merchants mansion, so it was full of antiques and beautiful wood carvings. We settled in and then set out on foot to get lost in the maze of streets and curios shops. Zanzibar was once know as a trading destination for spices hence the name "Spice Islands". However as the tourist industry has taken over, I can't exactly say the aroma of vanilla, cloves, or cardamom filled the air. We did find a little man walking on the street who was selling whole vanilla beans fairly cheap, so of course I bought some and later a few more spices from the spice market.
Being here really does make me feel alive and this urge to soak up every bit of this amazing cultural experience. I plan to do just that too. It is amazing to discover far off places like this and see the lives of the people that live this every day. Everyone greets you with a "Jambo", "Hujambo", "Mambo", all of which have different replies but they all essentially mean hello. So everyone would throw a different greeting at you and then laugh as you scrambled to find the appropriate reply. Just as I would get one down they would come at me with a different one. They have a fun time messing with us. Speaking of messing with us, there is plenty of that too. Men constantly following us trying to get us to go here or there, after a while it got to be a little much. I was happy not to be a sole female traveler. All in all though, we are taking in this city for all of its rich history and unique characteristics. We have one more day here and then we are off to the other side of the island for some R & R on the beach!