Exploring Iringa!

I tried to post this yesterday, but I think my pictures were too big for the internet to handle. I’m trying again today with fewer pictures. Hello from Iringa, Tanzania! Yesterday we woke up early in Morogoro and packed ourselves up to go to Iringa. We said goodbye to our lovely hostess in Morogoro, Dimitra, who was very nice and always an interesting source for conversation. We got in taxis and arrived at the bus station by 8 AM. The bus station was crazy! There were so many people and buses going in and out, with no clear organization to the chaos. There were also a ton of people selling all sorts of things. They asked not only the people waiting, but also went right up to the buses and sold stuff through the windows. After two and a half hours we all got on a bus to Iringa, and it was quite the bumpy ride. There are a lot of speed bumps along the road, and when the driver did not slow down first, some of us were bounced pretty high off our seats. On the bright side, we drove through a national park on the way. When we were driving through, we saw elephants, zebras, giraffes, and more. I think it made all of us a little more excited for our safari. Then we had some free time to explore the town last night and today before heading off to our homestays.
Today we started off by going to a park near our guest house and listening to a TED talk called “The Danger of a Single Story”. If you have not watched it yet, I would encourage you to do so (https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story). Then we talked a lot about perspective. It is really interesting to think about how when you look at the same situation from different perspectives, it can take on a whole different light. We were especially thinking of this as it relates to the orphanage that we will be visiting for the next two weeks. After our meeting, we broke into groups and Chris M., Nikolle, Dayle, and I went to a place called Neema Crafts. At Neema, people with special needs make all sorts of crafts from pillows to table runners, to notebooks covered with paper they make themselves. We got a tour of the place, and all of the work they were doing was amazing. They have looms that have special hand controls for the disabled people using them, as most large looms usually have foot pedals. We also got to see them mixing elephant dung and shredded paper to press out into new paper. It was all really incredible, and then we went and had lunch in their cafe. A lot of the staff there are deaf, so you write down your order. We got macaroni and cheese! It was so nice to have something resembling what we have at home. We also got fresh smoothies which were some of the best smoothies we have ever had. Overall, Iringa seems to cater to foreign visitors a bit more than Morogoro. Another difference we have noticed is that it is definitely colder here. In Morogoro I sometimes wished I could wear shorts, but here I am carrying around a long sleeved shirt. This will probably be our last internet access for about 2 weeks, so in our next post you will be able to hear about our time at the Mufindi Children’s Village.
Until next time,