The trip to Ngorongoro crater was absolutely PHENOMENAL!! We got to stay in a 4-star hotel overlooking the crater that was just so beautiful, and obviously the best hotel I ever have (and probably ever will) stay in. Sunday the 22nd we spent the whole day in the crater in hopes of seeing the rare black rhino. We were up early and hit the road by 6:30 am after having a delicious 4-star breakfast that I feel deserves 5-stars! Unfortunately we weren’t able to spot a black rhino, but we did see more lions than I feel comfortable seeing. One particularly large male lion even marked our safari vehicle. Let me tell you, there is nothing scarier than an absolutely huge, full grown, male lion making a beeline directly for your safari window when there is nothing between you and him but a thin window – which happened to be partially open. We also had the roof up, and with a lion that size, it would have been no problem to jump up on the top for an easy meal. Luckily it’s mating season and most of the lions aren’t interested in hunting! On the bright side, the lion’s urine attracted more lions and we were able to get some really great pictures.
Lions weren’t the only thing that took my breath away that day! We saw zebras, baboons, monkeys, wildebeest, elephants, several types of antelope, cheetah, flamingos, ostrich, and hyenas, plus several different types of birds. Before the Ngorongoro crater, I thought wildebeest were probably the worst animals we could see on safari. However, they were so much fun to watch! They were playing and a few were even fighting – and watching wildebeest fight is probably the most interesting thing I’ve ever seen. They put their faces on the ground and then run at each other and lock horns. I just kept thinking how much it would hurt to run my face along the ground! Usually they only do this once or twice before one gives up and lays down. Like I said, it was quite an interesting experience.
Overall the crater was awesome! I think I can say that I liked the crater a little better than the Serengeti. I wouldn’t give up either, but in the Serengeti it felt like we would drive and drive and drive before seeing an animal. In the crater we were constantly surrounded by several different animals, and it was really cool to watch them all interact with one another.
I’m really glad I got to experience a safari! I loved every minute of it and I got some really great photos of animals!
The students in Arusha are absolutely wonderful! I am teaching with Sean, Rachel, and Jordin at Asumption primary school and the students absolutely love having us there. I am teaching in standard 5, and the students are very respectful. Although I had some difficulty originally getting the students to respond to me, after a little bribing with stickers, pencils, pens, and erasers – A.K.A rubbers – they were more than willing to answer questions and complete work on the board.
Playing with students on the playground is quite the experience. If I stop moving, I am overwhelmed with children grabbing my hands, arms, and hair. Unfortunately, continuously moving is not feasible in the heat and humidity, so I’ve been getting rather creative in the games we play. The kids love learning American songs like the Hokey Pokey, the Eensie Weensie Spider, and If You’re Happy and You Know It. They also really enjoy playing Heads Up 7 Up, and Simon Says! These are the best ways that I have found to not move that much, but keep them from “mobbing” me. The students also love teaching me some of their songs and dances! My favorite is the elephant song:
“Hey Mr. Elephant, Hey Mr. Elephant. Will you go to mass? Will you go to mass? No. No. No. Why? Why? Why? Because I’m too big. Because I’m too big. Because I’m too big.” This last part involves jumping, clapping, and “shaking your booty” as the kids like to say.
Overall, the kids absolutely love having us mzungus in the schools teaching! They are so sweet and they do absolutely anything we ask! I’m sure that by the time we have to leave, I am going to have an incredibly hard time saying good-bye.
Today was our first day of school! It was so exciting, but intimidating at the same time. We weren’t entirely sure what to expect, but we were all excited to meet the students. I was at Asumption Primary school with Rachel, Sean, and Jordan, and boy were we rock stars! The students absolutely loved us mzungus (white people), and some of the students even sang for us when we came into thier classroom.
I was working with Teacher Ruth, the English teacher, and she happily relenquished her classroom when she found out I was to be working with her. I was caught off guard, but luckily the subject content they were working on wasn’t too difficult. We just spent the hour changing questions into statements. I had the students come up to the board to write the sentences – something they don’t do usually – and after being a little timid, were eager to take their turn at the board. Each student smiled from ear to ear when I gave them praise – it just made my heart melt!
The playground was quite the experience. The students completely engulfed me so they could touch my hair, skin, and look at my hands. A few disagreements broke out about who got to hold my hand, but I reassured them that since I am going to be here for a month, I will hold everyone’s hand eventually. The students were eager to teach me some of their songs and dances – my favorite being the elephant song:
Hey Mr. Elephant, Hey Mr. Elephant, Are you going to mass?
No. No. No. Why? Why? Why?
Because I’m too big. Because I’m too big. Because I’m too big. (this part involved jumping once, clapping once, then “shaking your booty” as they eagerly put it while keeping your arms stretched out to the sides)
We also taught them some of our games. We did the hokey pokey, made a train, and played follow the leader with safari animals. They really wore me out! I loved every minute of it, though! I can’t wait to see what Monday entails!