Amazing country, incredible people - our trip to Tanzania
On the 13 July 2017, 11 of us left Blackheath High School with 2 teachers to travel almost 24 hours to Babati; a small community in Tanzania, Africa, where we would be living for the next 17 days.
Our room was an empty nursery classroom which soon became homely once our mats and mosquito nets were set up and the walls were covered in motivational posters. We had to put pieces of cloth over the windows to stop curious little faces from peeping in. The best nights were the ones where we ended the day in our beds under our mosquito nets doing yoga with only fairy lights lighting up our room. Nights were fine, unless you needed the toilet and you were brave enough to venture out into the darkness of the night where you may or may not see the largest spider of your life!
During the first week, everyone was in denial that there were mice in the room and although we found droppings, we (or at least or at least some of us) were convinced that it was only a bird or a bat. Unfortunately, we all had to face the facts when a baby mouse was found one morning.
One thing we enjoyed was trying different types of Tanzanian food - especially the ones we hadn't heard of. Yellow kidney beans are a staple in Tanzania and something we’re missing now we’re back home. When we visited a local tribe, we also got to try various other types of 'Chakula'. As you eat with your hands, they have various pastes that you can use to gather the food.
Another great thing about Tanzania was the incredible people we met. The girls who took part in our workshops were all so lovely and inspiring, and there was something so special about connecting with girls our age who live so differently.
Being at Babati school, away from our phones was a bubble of peacefulness. There were always chores to be done, whether that was filling water buckets, cooking or washing up but instead of this being laborious, it was nice to be busy. It also made us treasure our down time to read, journal or play games with the local primary school children.
Tanzania is an amazing country that is full of colour and life, from the bright clothing of the people to the vivid flowers and skies, all set against the buzz of life and activity of people going about their days.
Although sharing a room was a messy and sometimes terrifying experience, we all bonded and the trip was definitely an experience that we would not have changed.