What comes to mind when you hear someone mention the word “India”? Do you think of unfamiliar settings? Strong religious influence? Spicy food? These were all things I conjured up in my personal pre-departure expectations of the country. I imagined a colorful landscape with crowded streets.
All throughout intermediate and high school, I considered myself a concert rat. At least once a month my friends and I would head down to Mr. Smalls or Club Diesel, usually being the youngest people in the crowd, to see one of the many bands we were infatuated with. These venues usually consisted of shoving crowds, mosh-pits, and crowd surfers. I’ve had my fair share of crazy adventures to faraway shows and completely ridiculous happenings, but none of these memories compare to our recent quest for Tanzania Bongo-Flavor Pop-Sensation: Diamond!
Writing about something that has had such a profound effect on your life – personally, academically, and professionally, is a daunting task. You want your readers to feel, see, and hear the same sights, emotions, and experiences that you felt. You want them to understand the connection you feel to the library, the clinic, your homestay family, and the community as a whole. You want to accurately answer the question you are asked on a regular basis, “Why go back to Ghana?”
One of the many sites Amizade volunteers visit in Petersfield, Jamaica is Roaring River Park – home to beautiful scenery and swimming holes, rich in culture and history, and the site of world-renowned limestone caverns.
Be it funeral, wedding, or Sunday service, every time I enter a church, a silence sweeps the crowd as all eyes turn to stare. More than a few “mzungu ” (white person) are uttered under breaths as the ushers scramble to make sure I get a real chair and not a bench off to the side but in the front so that I’m visible to all.
Today I spent my second day volunteering at Galloway ECI, a preschool for ages 3-5. The children were so wonderful and friendly! The school day starts with a neat time called “devotion”. A few of the students , assisted by a teacher, lead religious songs and the Jamaican national anthem, recite courtesy words like “please” and “thank you”, and name the parishes of Jamaica.
Bolivia is celebrating the beginning of spring. In Cochabamba, the snow is melting from the peaks of the surrounding Andes mountains. The jacaranda trees in plazas, gardens and streets throughout the city are sprouting vivid purple blossoms that frame the sky. Later, the blossoms will drift lazily down to the ground to form carpets of rich purple. Bolivian children are tingling with the anticipation of freedom – schools will let out for summer vacation by late November or early December. So it is the perfect time to celebrate the Dia de Peatones.
After a long week in Kampala it was time to return to Karagwe. We picked Isabel up from the airport…
Our hotel is a nice respite from the chaos that is center city, Kampala. We have ventured into the heart of the city twice now, and even the students admit it is difficult to explain the experience in words only. People are everywhere, vehicles are everywhere (on the road, on the sidewalks, in the shoulders), and there is much to take in. Personally, I will feel much more at home in Karagwe where the most common sounds are those of farm animals… cows, goats, chickens, the lone roaster crying to wake up everyone when the sun rises.
Yesterday was our big day of travel from the Karagwe district of Tanzania to Uganda’s capitol, Kampala. Travel in East Africa is typically exhilarating, scary, frustrating, and cause for great laughter all wrapped in the same journey, and rest-assured our day did not disappoint.