Our project for this week was nestled at the base of Mount Meru, a Maasai school in the most picturesque location. In our brief time at the school, we managed to complete the painting of the exterior wall, and we hope this gives the school and its community a more positive atmosphere in which to teach and learn. After work on Tuesday afternoon, we welcomed Troy and Bella home. They had both successfully summited Kilimanjaro! We all felt immensely proud and in awe of their accomplishment (despite the mountains of laundry they had brought down with them)!
On Wednesday, Mbassa allowed us to visit the United Nations building in Arusha, which is where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was held. Whilst initially we were purely allowed to view the archives and books available in the library, Sarah managed to set us up with a short introductory talk by an ICTR archiver. The Rwandan genocide is something I, admittedly, knew nothing about, and it was shocking to hear that 800,000 were killed, and thousands more affected by these inhuman crimes. It was a somber, but hugely interesting morning.
On Wednesday evening at 12am, the rest of the group embarked in Jimmy’s van for what they thought would be an 8-hour journey to Dar Es Salaam, our next destination. Valerio, Bella and I had opted to take public transport, thinking we were doing everyone a favour by being so selfless.
At 4am their nightmare began. Jimmy’s van broke down and they were forced to get on a coach similar to ours (although it appeared significantly less comfortable then the trusty Kilimanjaro Express)! After a short time, this coach was stopped by the police and the driver was ordered to pay a 16 million TSh fine – the equivalent of about $7000. They then hopped on a second coach which promptly broke down due to a flat tyre, and they had to wait an hour before this issue was solved. Upon arriving in Dar, the taxi to the accommodation failed to make it up the steep incline, and they walked the remainder of their journey in the pouring rain, to be met by three sympathetic although slightly smug faces when they arrived.
The week ended with us attending a Simba FC football match in the Tanzanian National Stadium. We had been strictly warned not to wear green and yellow, the colours of Simba’s opponents, the Young Africans. Upon arrival, we saw just how serious this warning had been: we entered the arena from the opposite side, and Mbassa was forced to take off his red and white Simba shirt by only half-joking opposing fans. Surrounded by ecstatic fans celebrating their team’s victory at the end, I think we all felt fairly overwhelmed, especially when we were mobbed afterwards by a stream of enthusiastic Simba supporters yielding phones and cameras, who all wanted to take photos with us. We left the stadium feeling almost dizzy from the heights of fame!