So a few days ago we left our homestays in Morogoro where we were learning Swahili.
I stayed in a small house type place with Camila and Sam. Our host mother was a single woman named Joyce who taught English at the secondary school. She was so kind to us and made us our meals, got water ready for bucket baths, and helped Camila when she wasn’t feeling well. The three of us went to Rory’s homestay for lunch where we met her mom, dad, sister, brother, and two uncles. They were all beyond kind and always prepared the greatest food. They had a cat named Tom (female) which I adored.
The school part of the week was different for everyone. I enjoyed it, and I felt like I learned a substantial amount of Swahili to communicate any travel needs I have. Sometimes when the TV is on and it’s in Swahili I can recognize words such as “bread” or “egg”. Our teacher, Yusto Bwatota, was
such a great teacher! Although it was a change to begin using my brain at that level again, I enjoyed Swahili school a lot.
On the last night we made dinners for our families at a big banquet. We made pasta bolongese and this vinegar pasta, chocolate chip cookies, guacamole, and garlic bread; a sort of traditional American dinner
(minus the guac). The process of making the food was fun in itself. All 7 of us went into the kitchen with Val as the head chef and cooked and baked for three hours while jamming out to music. It was a great team effort and went fairly smoothly. Then people from everyone’s homestay families came to eat.
Before we ate we had our teacher who was also a pastor say a prayer. Then the locals sang a beautiful song in Swahili. It was amazing, even though I didn’t know what the words meant, it was deeply moving for me. It was then when I mostly realized that this trip will be worthwhile. I’ve been feeling iffy about pushing myself so far out of my comfort zone, but listening to their song made me feel different, like music always does. I felt like I learned something then about not only their culture, but humanity in general. That has been the most powerful experience for me thus far.
Since then we’ve left the homestays, bussed (definitely not a word) to Iringa from Morogoro which was 5.5 hours! Then we walked with our huge bags to the hostel and had a more American-esque dinner. Today we’ve eaten at a famous cafe called Neema’s, which employs deaf and disabled people to hand make products and work in the restaurant. We all bought gifts for ourselves, families, and friends there, since it was money to a good cause. The rest of the day is exploring the city on our own!
Tomorrow we go on safari where we’ll hopefully see big cats, elephants, and more!