Thursday, June 26, 2014

We have touched down!

While I was a little peeved that the airport does not provide free Wi-Fi, the service aboard Turkish Airlines was excellent.
We enjoyed delicious four-course meals, including dinner (even though we left around 10:30 at night) and breakfast in the morning. They also provided ear buds for each of us, we each had our own television, a blanket, slippers and travel pillow. In addition, we also received a small bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, ear plugs and socks...and no, I did not fly first/business class. It made the 10-hour flight quite enjoyable, and I did wind up sleeping for about 6-7 hours of the flight.

Our group outside Kilimanjaro Airport. 
We arrived in Istanbul at 5:05 p.m., with boarding for our connecting flight scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m. Luckily, our plane was running late. We managed to get through security and to our connecting gate by 5:45 p.m., and our plane had not yet arrived. I enjoyed the extra down time.

From there, it was another 8 hours to Kilimanjaro Airport. Again, we had a delicious meal (grilled salmon). I spent the first few hours watching episodes of The Mentalist and Bones, as well as a couple movies.

When we finally touched down in Tanzania it was around 1 a.m. My mom made me promise to call when I got down. Although I do not yet have a SIM card that will allow me to text and call, James allowed me to use him. The connection was a little spotty, but at least my mom knows I arrived safe.

When we arrived at Elisa and Deo's house, we were greeted very warmly, with hugs, smiles...and snacks. Never mind that we got to their place around 2:30 in the morning. Elisa had mandazi (similar to our donut balls, but a little larger), chips (fries), and bread. What I thought was just too adorable is Elisa had baked bread in the shape of a teddy bear. It was almost too cute to cut!

Mandazi...way better than donut balls
I am going to spend the next week serving needy families, helping at the New Life Band School, and hopefully doing a little shopping. I am looking forward to doing a home visit. While I am excited, I expect I will feel some sort of culture shock. Right now I only know Hello in Swahili (Jambo!) but I will be purchasing an English-Swahili book to help me communicate. Most people here know at least a little English, and our host families can help translate (and bargain at the market!)

I will post when I can as Internet connection allows. Until next time!

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