First Impressions

It rains a lot more in Africa than I had anticipated. I thought I was done with flooding when I left Grand Rapids. The vegetation here flourishes because of it. We truly are in a tropical paradise. Our first full day in Arusha began when monkeys greeted us at breakfast as I enjoyed tiny ndizi (bananas) and Tanzanian coffee. We then traversed through town, stopping at a Maasai market, where we were adequately harassed (because we are foreigners or mzungu) and a kanga shop, where there were too many gorgeous fabric patterns for me to choose from.

After practically swimming back to the lodge, we quickly changed from soaking wet clothes into damp clothes and spent the rest of the evening enjoying Tanzania’s fine delicacies. These were accompanied by an acrobatic show which both amused and shocked us all. Stacked handstands and fire-breathing were prevalent. The evening ended with euchre, apples to apples, and general bonding with my fellow travelers.

As a whole, the group described our first day as intense, overwhelming, and shocking. I couldn’t agree more. However, you could tell a sort of excitement took over as well, an eagerness to learn more about these new people and explore this interesting culture.


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