I have always considered myself a lucky person, but it was my trip to Tanzania that assured me how truly blessed I am. I have always pictured Africa as third world countries full of insects and illnesses, where people were unhappy and most of the time sick. Some people might ask why I chose Tanzania ? Well, I always had this massive curiosity about African society and culture and doubted what I saw on the TV. I didn’t want to go to a regular summer camp, but instead do something I have never done before. The day I arrived to Kilimanjaro (specifically “Marourani village”), I was terrified: There was no electricity, no bathrooms, no roads, no Wi-Fi…and that first night I went to bed, I had to wrap myself under a mosquito net so I wouldn’t get bitten. That night it was all about surviving rather than having fun.
That all changed the next morning. Upon arrival to the village, we were greeted by excited children, yelling”mzungo, mzungo” (white people). They stared at us as if we were characters from a fairy tale. The look in their eyes and their happiness made me forget all about my sleepless night. It was an indescribable feeling that I had never before experienced. When they started babbling words in Kiswahili, I was shocked at the amount of words that were similar to Arabic. This wasn’t going to be a normal trip; I wasn’t a tourist coming to visit the country’s historical sights… but a traveler.
I helped the villagers on the site. I painted classrooms, built walls and taught the kids; however, these kids taught me too. They taught me prioritize things in my life and never to take things for granted. They accepted me as one of them; I finally understood what it was like being a native of Tanzania.
…When I first signed up for this trip I was hoping for a trip of a lifetime, and I’m delighted to say I have achieved that. I left Tanzania with a huge sense of satisfaction, and this new experience has made me grow in character and reevaluate my priorities in life. I made many new friends on this trip but most importantly I have made amazing memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.
Sara El Fil, Première S