After a VERY late night of FaceTiming with D’Arcy, Olivia, and Evan at 7pm their time/2am my time (there may have been some drinks and celebrations after we finished our working on Thursday night…) we were up to meet for breakfast at 8:30 before Stan, Willy, Aturebecca, and Marynurce joined us for cappuccinos and a debrief of the workshop. We had positive feedback from the students, with most stating that the course had exceeded their expectations. The main negative comment was that the course was not long enough and the participants would have liked to have had five days together.
The amount of work we had gotten out of the participants was remarkable. They were all dedicated and determined to write a usable business plan. We had the suggestion to create a network beween the participants in the Veta projects and the participants from the NSCC projects, including facilitators, supporters, and students. Kellie and I were both able to talk to the team about future Enactus projects in Tanzania, the first one which we’re planning to implement in May 2018.
Amy & I excused ourselves at 10:00 to finish packing-up, since check-out was at 10:30. We moved our bags in to Kellie’s room, then went to the pool to chat with Aturebecca and Marynurce while Kellie, Stan, and Willy finished their meetings. At 11am, we all met up to say goodbye and take some group photos, and give many hugs.
We were being picked up to go to the airport by Amiri at 1pm, so we decided to sit by the pool and finish the last few beer we had bought on one of our first days which was still sitting in our fridge. We didn’t have an opener, so our new friend who works at the pool and in the fitness centre opened them for us using a beer can. We continued to tell stories, laugh, and reflect on the week.
Amy’s hilarious reaction to the gym/pool manager opening our beer using a beer can!
Selfie in front of the “Centre of Africa” monument. Arusha is halfway between Cairo and Cape Town.
When Amiri arrived, he took us to the bank so we could get out a few extra Tanzanian shillings and then we said goodbye to Kellie and went to the Maasi Market to see if we could find some authentic spices for Amy.
The Maasi Market is similar to the Slipway where Jim took me to shop in Dar es Saalam. It’s a series of shops, each the size of a closet, filled from top-to-bottom with knick-knacks. It’s hot and smelly, and you mostly find the same items in every shop. The shopkeepers are pushy and invade your personal space. They invite you in “free to look” and push their items on you. One shopkeeper said to us, “Just buy small thing; TSH 1000 (about 60 cents) will buy my lunch” Amiri obviously had a connection with one of the shopkeepers, whom he introduced us to and asked him to take him to take us around. He made a beeline to his own shop where I was able to find the African Nativity set I had missed out on purchasing at the Slipway when I was here in March. After we had made the purchase at his shop, he left us on our own to navigate the rest of the shops.
With a shopkeeper at the Maasi Market
Amy found a canvas and some small gifts to take home, but unfortunately no spices. Luckily for me, Amy was as uncomfortable in that environment as I was and was happy to leave without going through the whole market. Next time we come to Tanzania, we’ll make sure we get to Zanzibar and take the spice tour there.
We did ask Amiri to take us back to the hotel for a short time so that we could use the washroom before driving 1.5 hours to the airport. The drive was beautiful and we were amazed at how much of the construction had been completed since we’d driven the same road just one week before. One bridge we had passed over had been torn down during the week. We passed Tengaru, and the banana and coffee plantations we had seen the week before.
We got pulled over at a random traffic stop (our second of the trip) but this time Amiri had to pull over to the side of the road and he & the traffic officer got into some heated words; it was obvious that Amiri was upset. Although (because) tourism is one of the most important industries in Tanzania, there is much documentation required to transport guests in the country. Although his paperwork to drive non-natives around was in order, there was definitely something going on! He was professional with us when he got back into the vehicle, but we could tell he was shaken.
As we continued to the airport, we had our eyes peeled to see Mt. Kilimanjaro, as it has been hiding behind the clouds all week. We were able to see the base of it, and Amiri gave us hope that we might see the peak from the airplane.
At Kilimanjaro airport and said a fond “until we meet again” to Amiri/”Dismas”, who was wonderful and pleasant to us all week. We tipped him and then went inside to get checked in and get our boarding passes. We had to put our bags through security just to enter the airport and the guard was laughing when he looked an my bag and could clearly see the bottles of beer I was bringing home as gifts, despite being all wrapped up in my clothing.
At the counter, Amy sailed right though and got her boarding passes for all three of our flights. Mine, however, were a problem, and they were unable to check me in. The supervisor took my passport and told us to sit down and fill in some paperwork while we waited. At one point, nine different people were trying to solve the problem and were all talking in Swahili and avoiding eye-contact. WE were relieved that we had arrived at the airport with ample time. Eventually, they were able to print my tickets to get me as far as Toronto, so they took my bag (which was exactly at the weight limit because of the beer; I had to carry the 5kg of coffee in my carryon) and we headed through immigration.
After immigration, we went to a cafe for one last Safari beer, and Amy did some shopping in the airport. Our timing was perfect; while she was shopping, a guest service agent came over to me and said we should clear through security for boarding in ten minutes.
Security was easy, although Amy had to give up the bottle of water she had just purchased. We changed into our travel clothes in the bathroom and after sending a few quick messages home to say we were on our way, walked out on the tarmac to board the plane to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
On this flight, we were on a Dreamliner, which was comfortable. The flight was only 2.5 hours in duration, and so we decided to try to stay awake and sleep on our longer flight. I spent my time looking out the window, and writing some blogs on “Word” before I forget the details. One of the highlights of this flight was seeing the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro when we flew above the clouds. We were fed supper on the plane, and Amy had ravioli while I had chicken, rice & vegetables because the airline had run out of ravioli with Amy. We commented on how cool it was that we got to watch the sun rise over Africa as we arrived, and the sun set over Africa as we departed.
Mt. Kilimanjaro from the ground, the peak is hiding behind the clouds.
The clouds at take-off were beautiful!
Settling in for the flight
Mt. Kilimanjaro from in the air above the clouds
Walking to board the Dreamliner to Ethiopia
In Addis Ababa, we entered into the opposite side of the airport this time, so we were able to access services such as food and shopping. We got a table at a cafe and ordered some wine. By this time, we were getting “beered-out”. Shortly after we got our wine, we noticed two men looking for a table. We offered them to join us if they wanted, and they accepted. We started to chat with them and discovered that they were Canadian peacekeepers, returning home from a six-month deployment in South Sudan. The best part? One Danny lived in Edmonton, but the other Danny lives in Lawrencetown, Halifax County, Nova Scotia!
What are the chances of inviting random strangers to join your table 7000km away in Ethiopia, and discover they live just over an hour away from you?!
Welcome to Ethiopia! #womenover40shouldnttakeselfies
Sharing a table with “Danny squared” while waiting for our flight to Toronto
We had a good chat with them, and took turns going to the washroom while the other person stayed with the luggage. The ladies washroom was an interesting experience as it was located right next to the prayer room. I think when I went, a flight had recently arrived, and so while there was no wait for the toilet, I had a long wait to get to the sink to wash my hands. The women were preparing for prayer, washing their feet, hands, arms, and faces in preparation. I have incorporated an Islam 101 session into my class curriculum in the past, so I was comfortable waiting and watching the beautiful process. (Thank you, Deanna!) Cross-cultural competencies make travelling so much easier and enjoyable.
We went through security again, then had our papers checked before boarding our 16 hour flight from Ethiopia to Toronto. During that flight, I ate, watched multiple movies, and tried to sleep. We were not on the Dreamliner for this flight, and it was somewhat less comfortable. We were fed supper shortly after takeoff. Ethiopian Airlines appears to have a standard rotation of food. I had the ravioli for my first meal. Around 3am, we were served a breakfast type meal which was an eggy-bread type dish, with potatoes and sausage. Later, we were served either a chicken or beef sandwich which Amy & I both missed because we were dozing. Around 6am, I was served beef stew with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Interesting offering at that time of the day, regardless of what time-zone we were in.
The flight was smooth and we landed in Dublin for an hour mid-way to refuel, staying on the plane with electronic devices turned off.
We landed in Toronto and cleared customs without a hitch. We had the perfect amount of layover time. Amy’s seat mate on the flight from Addis Ababa was an older lady, traveling by herself to Montreal, who was slow and didn’t seem to understand much English. Amy took her bag for her, and got her into a wheelchair, pushing her towards immigration until an airline employee took over. Once we had cleared customs and got our bags, we had to find a ticket counter to get my boarding pass to Halifax printed. We had just enough time to purchase some water for the flights and send a few texts home before our final flight was called for boarding. We both made comments on how swollen our legs and feet were. I had received numerous mosquito bites on my calves and ankles during our final evening in Arusha and during the long flight, they had all swelled up and become angry; my shoes were leaving lines in my feet.
The flight from Toronto to Halifax was smooth and easy and passed very quickly. I watched the movie “Absolutely Fabulous” which I didn’t love. I think my taste in movies has changed over the years.
D’Arcy & Olivia were at the airport to greet me because the boys are curling in Summerside this weekend and Sarah was at Nutcracker rehearsal. It felt so good to see them and get hugs. Our luggage arrived, and before we knew it, I had to say goodbye to Amy as we drove off in separate directions after our epic adventure. It was bittersweet.
Our welcoming committee was very cute! We don’t look tired at all…
Sarah was waiting at home with my parents when we finally pulled into the driveway, 32 hours after my journey home began. (And 38 hours since my day had started!) I did a little bit of unpacking and D’Arcy started the laundry while I gave a few little gifts to the girls; however, the rest will wait until the boys get home.
There had been talk of driving to Summerside to watch the boys curl, but I just wasn’t up for more travel. Although the girls were disappointed, D’Arcy helped me make the decision to take a nap while he took the girls to the Santa Claus Parade in the cold, pouring rain. I did nap, and while they were gone also had a shower. It felt so good to wash off all that travel! When they got back from the parade, they changed into dry clothes and we went to the new Boston Pizza in Truro for a quick bite to eat.
Welcome Home sign from Olivia
My family has been flying the Tanzanian flag while I was away
Welcome home sign from Sarah
At home, D’Arcy lit a fire and I did my best to stay awake. I was trying to show the girls some of my safari photos, but kept falling asleep with the computer on my lap. By 9 p.m. D’Arcy put me to bed. Olivia had come to cuddle with me and obviously fell asleep because I found him sleeping in her bed when I woke this morning at 5 a.m. (noon by my body’s clock).
I’m hoping that today is a stay-at-home day, getting the rest of my blogs up now that I have fast enough internet to upload photos. D’Arcy also has already set up two of our Christmas trees in the B&B side of the house, so I’m hoping the girls will help me decorate those. I also have some schoolwork to do to get ready for the week. I can’t believe the end of the semester is less than four weeks away! Time to regroup!