Friday, August 31, 2012


Peace Corps hosted a “superregional” conference whereby all the volunteers over three regions came together to discuss what’s going on with us. We shared our successes, failures, hopes, and frustrations and enjoyed eachother’s company. After the meeting, there were a few days available to hang out in Mbeya before we had to take a bus to Dar to join another conference. So, we enjoyed the amazing food of Mbey, the great company of the other volunteers and most certainly, what Mbeya has to offer.

A group of us hiked Loleza Peak; the peak is 8, 714 feet high and was a very difficult climb for me. The first part of the hike includes walking through farm fields and making your way up to a steeper section. This steep section doesn’t seem quite so bad in retrospect. You eventually reach a large white cross and then you can see the top of the one of the peaks. The way up to this peak was really difficult and scary. It involved straight up scrambling to reach the top. After that, it was only about another 45 minute walk to the peak which is covered with some sort of electrical system. We made some Tanzanian trail mix and slowly made our way back to Mbeya!




Partial group shot on the way up


Fo hugging Mbeya




Mbeya Peak


Concrete slab at the summit


Tanzanian trail mix

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The amazing world of bubbles

My mom sent me a care package with bubbles inside of it. When our little buddies came by to play at our house, I showed them the amazing world of bubbles. They first watched me blow into the stick and create the bubbles. They seemed confused at first, but wanted to try making the bubbles themselves. We had to show them to blow lightly because they were half blowing half spitting to try to get a bubble out. Once they got the hang of it, they took turns making bubbles. Their favorite thing about bubbles though? Chasing them around the yard.
Showing Ben and Rasheed what bubbles are
Rasheed making bubbles and Ben trying to pop them
The boys trying to catch all the bubbles as they float away
Loving it

Monday, August 27, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Our Peace Corps friend Dave who lives on the island of Pemba (north of Zanzibar) came to visit us at our site with his fiancĂ© Katie. As a “thanks for having us” gift, he brought us some of his homemade wine. Volunteers love to make homemade wine as relatively easy and it’s significantly cheaper than buying alcohol here (remember: we’re volunteers and have very little money). Dave’s wine was by the far the best homemade wine I’ve tasted in country. Dave and Katie stayed for a few days and we enjoyed each other’s company playing cards, going for walks, and making and eating good food. Afterwards, we all journeyed to our closest neighbor, Mr. Clay who is about a 4 hour walk away. Mr. Clay, the oldest volunteer in Tanzania is 81 years old and loves receiving company. His house is adorable and he loves making us pancakes for breakfast!
Homemade wine made from three types of fruits
The journey to Mr. Clay’s
Mr. Clay’s adorable house

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Heavy Loads

It’s not uncommon to be cruising on your bike or in public transportation when you see people on their bicycles or motorcycles carrying loads of goods twice as big or heavy as themselves. It’s amazing the balance it takes to strap these goods to the back of your bike or motorcycle and go.
These three guys above are carrying quite a bit of timber on their bicycles
This guy likely has a lot of potatoes attached to the back of his motorcycle

Monday, August 20, 2012

The most disgusting spider ever

Jon went for a bike ride and came across the most disgusting spider ever. If I ever saw this spider in my house I would scream so loud, you’d hear me back in America. I wish I had a smart phone where you could take a picture of this spider and then it sends back the information of what it is. We have no clue if it’s poisonous. If I didn’t see it sitting in the spider web, I am not even quite sure if I would know that it is a spider. It looks like it came straight out of Harry Potter’s forbidden forest and it wants to eat humans. My stomach feels nausea just looking at these pictures!




Although recently, we did come across a fairly disgusting spider right outside of our house, you can see it in the picture below:


Monday, August 13, 2012

Kittens having kittens

When Jon & I took Lia, we were really hoping she would be a boy. We did not want to deal with a pregnant cat or kittens. She was too small to really determine her sex. She looked like a girl to us, but all the kittens basically looked the same. So, we took her because she was the runt, super cute, and all the kittens looked the same (I mean maybe they were all female). All these months passed and for the first time in July, Lia went into heat. I am not sure if any of you have ever heard a cat in heat since most Americans have their female cat spayed (a very good thing for you and for your cat), but if you haven't, imagine a cat wailing and howling for 3 days straight with maybe 20 minutes break in between. Maybe she slept when we were at work, we don't know. A cat in heat will rarely eat and can't focus on anything but mating. If you pet her, she will go into mating position, with her butt in the air. As annoying as she is, you feel bad for her because she is so sad when she hasn't mated and you can hear it in her howls. It's imperative that you don't let the cat outside because she will mate. We had a male cat come to our door in the night several times and cry for her. She'd cry back at him and paw at the door. As you can imagine, after several days of no sleep from her constant crying, you begin to think about how this can end. So, the second time she went into heat, Jon built her a cat house outside. Imagine a dog house, but for cats and a blocked off entrance way so she can't get out. We put her in there when she was really loud in the middle of the night. Surprisingly, she didn't mind the cathouse so much. But, unfortunately, the children who live around our house let her out. So, now, we think she's pregnant. Why? She was gone for a few hours and then returned all quiet and peaceful. And she hasn't gone into heat since. Lia's not even one year old yet, but she might be having babies in October. Any volunteers reading this want one?

Pregnant or not: she loves "tight rope walking" the top of our fence

how to get down...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lake Victoria

A lot of people come to Tanzania with the goal in mind of seeing the great three lakes – Lake Nyasa, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria. Jon and I didn’t really plan it per se, but we fortunately have already seen all three lakes! Jon and I agreed on an amount we would be willing to pay to fly to Dar es Salaam from Kigoma. We had a 7 hour layover in Mwanza where we went to a lakeside restaurant and killed the time eating delicious food an drinking beers besides Lake Victoria.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chimp video

This is a really amateur video of the very little footage we took. But, I thought I’d share it anyway!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gombe Stream National Park III

As we began walking away from the chimpanzees and leaving behind the dozens of chimpanzees and researchers, I wondered…maybe we should stay just a little longer? I talked it over with Jon and we decided to move on after all. The guide estimated it was another two hours of hiking to see a waterfall and go up to what they call “Jane’s Peak”. Away we went, up and up. We reached the waterfall first which was a tall, thin beautiful waterfall. We saw some gorgeous fauna and creepy insects along the way.IMG_6190



Jane’s Peak which is where the below picture was taken from is a peaceful spot which overlooks Lake Tanganyika in the distance and the mountains of Gombe Stream National Park. It is said that early in her research, Jane Goodall would come to this spot to listen for the calls of the chimpanzee to determine which part of the forest they were currently in.




After reaching Jane’s Peak and relaxing a little while, we hiked back to our guesthouse and swam in Lake Tanganyika again. This concluded our trip to Gombe. The next morning, we caught the public taxi back to Kigoma again before flying out to Dar es Salaam. I decided I couldn’t do buses all the way back to Njombe again. Besides, a 24-hour layover in Dar es Salaam isn’t a terrible place to be!