Molly in Africa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Endings and Islands

Well, it’s been another busy week! Last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, my SIT group went to Sesse Island on Lake Victoria to give our final presentations and have some final bonding time. To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with Sesse Island and because of a broken ferry, the trip to and from the island was quite long: 7-9 hours! The presentations went well- it was really interesting to learn about what the other students did for their six week practicums. Just to give you a glimpse, here are some of the topics: refugees, internally displaced persons, children affected by the war in the north, women in slum areas, theater for development, AIDS support, subsistence farming and corruption. The bonding time was great- it was fun to be back with the whole group for a few days and to catch up with some people who I hadn’t been in touch with during practicum.

The day before we left for Sesse, I had decided not to go to Kenya to visit my friend Matt. It turns out that he’s coming to Uganda next week and will be traveling around with me and my family and celebrating Christmas with us which I’m really excited about. I didn’t really have that great a desire to go to Kenya, I wanted to have more time with my friends and since I was going to get to see Matt soon anyway, I just decided not to go. Three of my closest friends from the SIT group (Gabe, Marisa and Krista) had decided to go on holiday to Zanzibar for their last five days in Eastern Africa and had been trying to convince me to go for the past three weeks but I had been reluctant to agree. Once at Sesse, they brought it up again and while I thought it was too late, I realized that it really would be fun to go and one of those opportunities that I might regret later if I let it slip by. So, after a few phone calls from Sesse, I had a plane ticket to Zanzibar! We left on Thursday morning and came back yesterday early afternoon.

Zanzibar was beautiful! It’s really really tourist-y so that was a huge adjustment for all of us, but it was a nice relaxing five days. Oh, I should mention that in addition to Gabe, Krista and Marisa, we were also traveling with our friend Laura who is doing an independent research project in Uganda for the year. My buddy Gabe was able to get me to come because he paid for our accommodations, which was wonderful! It did mean that we would squeeze into rooms that weren’t exactly large enough for us, but it was perfect. We stayed in Stonetown for the first two nights in a hotel room called a triple. It really was enough for 4 and it just meant that two people had to squish into one bed- which ended up working out. Stonetown is a pretty town on the water with beautiful tall white buildings and narrow winding sidewalks in between. On my second day there, Krista and I went swimming with a bunch of little kids- about 18 8-yr-old boys. It was really fun and they taught us numbers 1-10 in Swahili. When we got out and the boys got dressed, I realized that some of them were street kids- I just can’t stay away! That night we had dinner at a market on the water and the food was great- tasty barracuda, Zanzibari pizza and a fun dessert of bananas in fried dough with chocolate sauce.

The next two days we went up to the northern part of the island to Kendwa (sp?) Rocks. It was straight out of one of those commercials for the beach vacation- glisteningly white sand, light blue water, palm trees, very hot weather… it was perfect. We went swimming a few times, went snorkeling off of a boat and just chilled on the beach. Snorkeling was great- I saw some beautiful fish and starfish. After lunch, my friends and I were sitting on the second deck of our wooden boat and we jumped off the top into the water which was a lot of fun. On our boat ride back, we saw some dolphins which I’ve never seen in nature! Oh, and if you haven’t figured this out yet, I was swimming in the Indian Ocean!!! After two days there, we went back to Stonetown for our last 24 hours and relaxed a bit more. I really enjoyed the people there- they were quite friendly and we had a lot of fun with them.

Yesterday, we arrived back in Kampala in time for the final group dinner and for Marisa and Krista to join the group flight back (Gabe had to stay at the airport to catch his flight to Paris). I went with to the airport and that was such a great decision! My van, which had most of the group in it, sang Christmas songs the entire way there- for about an hour! It was wonderful, but also made me realize how different it is going to be for me here where there will not be any snow, like so many of those songs talk about. At the airport, it was weird to say goodbye- some people I will really miss and others I won’t even notice that they’re not with me. The plans have already been started about who is visiting who when. I’m pretty excited to visit some of my friends at school this semester, so that should be fun.

Well, it’s a rainy day in Kampala which means no laundry for me today, but I have a ton of errands to run so I’m going to get to that. My parents are coming in two days and we are all really excited! The plans are mostly set and it should be a fun filled (and when I say filled, I mean our schedule is COMPLETELY packed) two weeks and I hope that it will give them SOME sense of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. I am already predicting disappointment in the fact that there is no way that they can know what I experienced in many ways, but I think it’s good that they’ll know a little more.

Hope you all are doing well and thanks again for keeping tabs on me!


At 2:03 PM, December 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How amazing: on my daily check through all the blogs I visit (just to travel vicariously), I discovered that you and Luke's friend Brian were likely in Zanzibar at the same time last weekend. He, too, went there to prepare for American re-entry after his 2 years in the Peace Corps in Tanzania. Even in Africa, it's a small world.
We are so looking forward to your re-entry at New Year, and to hearing all the stories from you and your parents of a Christmas spent far away from the rest of us.

At 8:36 AM, December 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wishing you and your parents a wonderful time together.


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