January 14, 2011

Orientation… they are all here!

Today was a full and busy day.  After a morning orientation at the YMCA, students spent time downtown finding lunch on their own.  Around noon Donna and Mara went to the airport to pick up Emily, Leah, David H., and Annika who now have arrived safely and joined the group!  We are exuberant to be “complete.”

The rest of us took a bus tour around Dar es Salaam to aid students in understanding the locations of sites to which they will return for further exploration in smaller groups.  At a few of the sites we had the opportunity to get out of the bus and walk around:  the fish market, a bustling, vibrant market directly on the harbor which receives twice daily the catch from the dhow fishing boats; Kariakoo market, where all manner of pots, baskets, pans, clothes, and anything else you can imagine is available; and the Mwenge artisans, a group of shops with wood carvers, painters, and artists busy at work.  In between stops we discussed colonial architecture, current governmental political offices, and the mundane details of life, like how to navigate in daladalas!

The tour highlight was meeting up with the students arriving with Donna from the airport.  We had their taxi driver bring them to Kariakoo market, we reunited, and finished the bus tour together.

At 4:30 p.m. we arrived at Upanga Church where many host parents were eagerly awaiting their “children.”  After brief and hearty greetings, the students were happily whisked away for a weekend with their host families.  We are missing “family pictures” of Meg, Alain, David G., Kaeli, & Nathan as these students were personally delivered via taxi to their new homes and missed the picture taking.

The four students who arrived today are nestled in a hotel next to our house for some rest and recuperation; we are treating them like royalty, (they are staying at the Royal Mushi Inn!).  Tomorrow morning, we’ll meet with them in our home to catch them up on orientation matters.  They will meet their host families in the afternoon on Saturday.

Salaam.

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