Without Borders...

Abby and Sara have been best friends since they met in the dorms at Colorado State University in 2002. Each year since then, they have been on at least one trip together, with the last few years consisting of backpacking travels through Europe.

In 2010, they decided to put their desire to see the world towards a more constructive cause. Instead of taking an adventurous vacation, they chose to visit Tanzania and volunteer with Light in Africa for five weeks.

This winter, they are going back to Light in Africa to volunteer for another five weeks, and can't wait to see how much "their" kids have grown!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Birthday Party

Birthdays are celebrated monthly at Tudor Village, and each month, it’s one of the volunteer’s jobs to plan a party for all the kids whose birthday falls in that month.  As a birthday party for November didn’t end up happening, Abby and I combined the November and December kids into one party.  All the kids were about 10 years or older, so we started thinking about what types of fun things we could do for their party.
First, we thought about doing the “standard” Light in Africa birthday party.  We’d have sodas, little cakes, everyone would get a small gift, invite one of their friends, and we’d all play games.  The problem we kept coming up with though, is what game does a group of nine kids (aged 10 to 15) want to play?  Pin the tail on the donkey?  Na, probably not.  What about donkey rides from a local Maasai?  Also, not likely the local Maasai woman would not be interested in removing her water buckets from her donkey to accommodate.  Maybe laser tag and ice skating at the local event center?  We called, but they were all booked up with other parties.  So…we decided to do something a little different, but ever popular.  Instead of getting them gifts and having a party at Tudor Village, we’d take the birthday kids swimming at a hotel.

Sounds easy right, well – nothing ever is here.  It’s the best and worst part about this place.  We planned to leave around 1pm, but only two of the kids showed up.  Silly us – they eat around 1, we should have known they would not leave before eating lunch.  We finally left around 2pm, loading six people in one tuk-tuk (rickshaw) and five people in another.  Then, we went to the bus station in Boma, found an empty dala-dala and waited for about 25 minutes until they crammed another 15 people in the minivan.

After finally arriving in Moshi about an hour later, we had to walk about 30 minutes to the hotel we were planning on swimming out.  Only problem was, we found out it was closed for a wedding.  Plan B was swimming at the local YMCA.  We paid about 30,000 shillings for fourteen of us to swim (two other kids and an adult had been at the local hospital for tests so they were able to join us). 

Swimming suits in Tanzania are not your normal suits.  They pretty much wear whatever they have (shirt and shorts), so getting seven preteen to teen girls outfitted appropriately for swimming was actually a bit of an ordeal.  There was plenty of swapping shorts, giggles, and then swapping again.  Finally…we made it to the pool around 4pm.

The kids had an amazing time - laughing, splashing, trying to float and trying to drown.  Abby and I had a great time having goose bumps for the first time since we’d arrived in Tanzania.

We had to get out of the pool at 5pm, as we have a 6pm-ish (dark) curfew, but a pool party is a fantastic party in any country.   

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