Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heading Home!

Hello Parents! The kids are on their way home! They have boarded their flight out of Arusha to Nairobi, then they are on to Washington. Their flight from Nairobi is Ethiopian Airlines flight 500, and it is scheduled to arrive at Dullus at 8:40 AM on the 21st. Feel free to call me at our office if you have any questions.

Lizzy Leighty
Program Coordinator

Closing Remarks-(Luther Mercer)

I would like to give special thanks to Erin(World Leadership School). This was a powerful experience that we will never forget. I would like to thank the Maasai community for blessing us with this tremendous experience, you are truly a blessed people. Thank you East Africa Voyage company for the food, shelter, and transportation, you are the best. Thank you Cyndi Taylor. You helped to balance the group in more ways than one and we greatly appreciate it. Last but not least, I would like to thank the students. You persevered, you overcame, and you grew as human beings. I am proud of you.

"The most beautiful thing in life is the ability to love". I think that this trip has shown that through the love that we showed the community by coming to work with them and the love they showed us by sharing their beautiful culture with us that there is hope for the world. We must continue to grow in love.

See you when we get home.

Below are some pictures of our new friends.


Tim, Country Coordinator. Erin, Director of Programs. Sarah, Future Team Leader

Thomas, Community Coordinator

Alex, President-East Africa Voyage

Maasai Security

Anne and Neema-Translators

Msoro, the chef

Ephata, helped on the campsite

David, Driver

Foreman on the project

Gilly, helped at the campsite

Joshua, Translator
Emu, Translator

Final Day- (Cyndi Taylor)

Hey, it Cyndy!  What a once in a life-time opportunity our group has had the privilege to experience.  I had the honor to be a chaperon with no responsibilities.  I could hang with the group all day, help them work if needed; yet, I got to share in all the students’ excitement and pure amazement.  On top of that, I even got a tent of my own. 
Honestly, being involved with this project has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, in my life.  I would not have trade the life lessons that I have learned, witnessed and experienced for anything. 
The students, your children, have been amazing.  They have lived out of their box for all 14 days and are still looking for new challenges, laughing and being the crazy kids they were when they left.
Sure, we have missed our beds, showers, facebook, cell phones, fast food,  girl or boy friends and probably even our parents.  We will all be glad to be home.  But we are all very grateful and thankful to have been part of this awesome experience.
            Thanks to Luther and Erin for making it happen and including me!

Day 12 (Michelle Bundy)

Hey y’all it’s Michelle! I miss everyone back in Memphis but we are having so much fun here!! I am so sad that our trip is almost over. This morning I woke up on a bed made of cow hides and sticks and I have to say I slept better last night than I have in our tents! The Maasai momma I stayed with last night was Leah and she had three precious little girls. As we were making tea this morning, Leah’s youngest daughter called Taylor and me “dada” meaning sister. Later in the afternoon, the Maasai women had set up a market full of their beaded jewelry for us to buy. Everybody is coming home with tons of beautiful jewelry and I think most of the boys have machetes too! After our time in the market, the Maasai held a closing ceremony for us where we were given more jewelry. Luther received a shuka and Erin and Cyndy were given traditional Maasai “khangas” which is the clothing Maasai people wear. Also today we finally gave the Maasai our gifts from home. I know everyone was so excited to give back to the amazing community that has given us so much!! 


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 11 (Kendall Shipp)

Hey everyone! Supai! Good Morning! It’s Kendall I would first like to say hello to my mom and dad because I have not seen them in almost two weeks and they got me international calling cards to call once a week but we obviously didn’t think about how we could get a phone even yet electricity so I just want them to know that this trip has been amazing. Our day yesterday started off at breakfast. The group that went to the boma that night shared their experiences and stories and to me it sounded like great time and a fun experience but I didn’t know how to react to their stories because I knew that it would be my time to go too. After breakfast the group and I went straight to work on the communities school. We had to try to plaster the rest of the wall and the only plastering I have tried to do is my half bathroom in my house with my mom. So it was a quite difficult task but I got the hang of it and at the end we covered three of the four walls. Another task that we did was covering the other room of the building floor with cement it was a team job because we formed an assembly getting the concrete to the building. I believe we really worked hard to get most of the work done and we transformed it from what it looked like when we got there and I am proud that I got the opportunity to help. We ended up working all day and after the worked day ended I started to realize that my time to stay with a family was near. When we got there the people greeted us with open arms and singing they were so happy that we had arrived even though they had already had the group before us. That made me really happy that the people were nice and wanted us to be a part of their community. The boma Dylan and I stayed in belonged to our mama Cecelia she again was so ecstatic that we were there and showed us where we were sleeping the bed was about the size of mine back home a king size the only difference was I had to share it with Dylan. After we got settled our mama’s son Meshaki was our guide around the boma he gave us traditional Maasai garments that we were during our stay. Meshaki took us to bring in all the cattle and he gave us herding sticks that we kept. He was very helpful during our time and he showed us so many aspects of their culture. I learned a lot from the Maasai people that day and it really has been a life changing experience and I am glad that I got the chance to go and I would like to take the time to thank all the people that made it possible for me to go on it.  Goodbye everyone I will see ya’ll on Thursday.


Pictures-Day 10

Spear Throwing
Spear Throwing

Finish Floor and Walls

Last Day with the Kids

Job Well Done

Boma Stay

Boma Stay

Boma Stay

Day 10 (Jasmine Yunus)

JAMBO friends, it’s Jasmine! We had quite a packed day today on the continent of Africa. The day began with a scrumptious breakfast as per usual. It consisted of Spanish omelets, sausage, toast, papaya, and mango with fresh juice. Once our tummies were full we took off to tackle one of the main parts of our purpose here in Tanzania, building the school. As is the African way, things did not always go according to plan. The foreman was a few hours late to show up to the work site but that didn’t stop our group from having a good time. We played team-building games and kept ourselves occupied by taking some great photographs. The foreman finally did arrive and with him brought the tools we needed to get started plastering the walls. We divided the work between sifting the sand, mixing the cement, getting the water, and applying the plaster.  Life at anytime is full of challenges, and life in the Maasai tribe is none the different. We all did struggle at some points to work together and get a long but in the end we pushed through our differences and overcame all our challenges. Later in the afternoon the Maasai men put on a lovely spear-throwing workshop. We each took turns trying our best to thrust the spear across the plain. It was quite humorous to say the least, although we did have some shining starts – Kendall and Dylan. After that it was one to possibly the greatest adventure of all... the homestay. We hopped in the car and and drove the short distance to the boma we were staying. We were greeted kindly and given lovely traditional Maasai robes to wear. We helped herd and separate the cattle, calves, and goats. Then we moved on to our separate bomas to help make tea. After enjoying a nice, albeit different, cup of tea we moved on to dinner. First we chopped and browned some onions and tomatoes on the small fire pit in the hunt. We then mixed in the maize and beans. Dinner was served! And after the time Miller and I had spent helping cook, we sure enjoyed the fruits of our labor. After dinner we played a few games with the children and the men, which was surprisingly easy due to the substantial language barrier. It was an incredible, intense experience. I often found myself pausing and thinking wow, I’m really here…dressed in Maasai robes…. milking a cow (yes mom that’s right I milked a cow!). I learned a lot of things though. Happiness is indeed a choice, no matter what you do or what you have, you have the power to make your life better by making the conscious effort to be happy. That was something the Maasai people embodied both despite and because of their lifestyle.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 9 (Natalie Rentrop)

Hello everyone this is Natalie telling you about our day in Tanzania. We woke up bright and early around 6:30 to go on a 4 mile hike. We hiked over a hill and at the bottom of the hill were caves where monkeys stay, but they were not there when we got there. The cave was the most incredible thing I have ever seen. We climbed down the other side of the hill and went into the cave. When we got down there, our instructor, Alex, told us about the cave. Every year, the Maasai tribes go into the cave for 6 months and kill their livestock and eat the meat. At night, monkeys live inside the caves, but they leave early in the morning to find food. Once we got out of the caves we walked back to camp and ate lunch. When we were done with lunch we went to a Maasi market where all of the people from the surrounding communities go and sell their goods. The market is very overwhelming because there are so many people selling all kinds of stuff. You can buy fabrics, food, medicine, shoes, and other goods. I have had the most amazing time in Africa and want to come back for longer. I have seen and done so many things that have changed my life for the better. I have learned more about myself during this time here than I ever would have if I did not come on this trip.
P.S. This is Luther Mercer. We will be staying in our homestays over the next two days. Please be patient as we get those blogs uploaded soon after.

Pictures-Day 9

Maasi Market

Maasi Market

Massi Market
Arriving at the Monkey Cave

Monkey Cave

Monkey Cave

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 8 (Marshall Humphreys)

Bonjour! Today, on 15 July 2011, I (Marshall Humphrey) will be updating you all on our progress here Tanzania. Today, we visited something I was longing to visit since our arrival on 8 July; the International Criminal  Tribunals to the Rwanda Genocide in Arusha. Court was not in session, and due to visiting officials, all three court rooms were not open; plus, security is very tight there. We watched a video that was roughly one hour long regarding the history of the Tribunals. After the video, our guide gave us a briefing regarding the events in Rwanda in 1994. After that, we walked over to what appeared to be an entrance into the building for pictures, and left. I learned much about the events in 1994 regarding rivalry between the Tutsi and Hutu people prior to 1994 and the fact that roughly
one million Tutsi lost their lives.

Pictures-Day 8 (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)

Day 7 (Miller Crenshaw

Hey y'all! It is Miller Crenshaw
Hey mom, hey dad, miss you so much! It is Thursday  the 14th and it is our 4th day at the camp. This morning we woke up and we split up in to our two groups. One group taught in the school and the other, that I was in, went to the worksite. It is so dusty in the worksite, I am another color when I come out of there. My favorite thing to do is use the hoe to breakup the dirt so that we can level the ground.  We finally finished leveling out the ground and then we took a break when the kids at school took a break from class. It is so much fun and inspiring  to watch these kids play and run around. We brought bubbles today just like we have every other day that we have played with them and they have yet to get bored with them. They are so happy all the time that you just can't help but to smile. After break was over the kids helped all of us bring rocks from throughout the area to put inside the worksite.  This was really chaotic because all the kids wanted to help and there were rocks being thrown everywhere! Finally, we finshed with the floor and got to go to lunch, I almost fell asleep at the table because I was so warn out and it seemed everyone else was to because we all fell asleep for about three hours after lunch. After the nap we went to the “bomas” and learned how to dance with all the mamas. This was an experence I will never forget.  All the girls were given the big neckless and tought how to jump and dance with them. At one point they wanted us to sing an “American song” for them, they only song we all knew was “party in the U.S.A and Hit Me Baby One More Time” this was pretty funny if you can imagine.  Then finally the men came in and danced, sang  and jumped with us.  To watch all the community together is so beautiful, they are always happy, telling you Jumbo when ever you pass.  I am having a great time and loving everything that I am experiencing! Can't wait to see everyone when I get home! 
Love you Family! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 6 (Dylan Young)

Hey what’s up everyone it’s Dylan Young. So today we went to the village and split into two different groups of 5. One of the groups went to the school for the first two hours, and the other group went and worked on the school again. So I went to the school first and taught the kids colors, months, and weather in English. It was a good experience as everyone was interactive and fully energetic. After that I went to the service project, where it is still very slow as we are leveling out the ground. Then we took a lunch break and came back to the village around two in the afternoon. We beaded with the Maasai women and they went absolutely bananas that we were willing to work with them; it was such a surreal feeling. That was the end of our day and we went back to camp and ended our day. I have learned so far that as Americans we have to stop worrying about the small things in life that in the big scheme of things it is nothing. We are so consumed with material things, and should worry about things that help other people and the world around us. So far this experience has just been so unreal, and I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to do something this special. It has honestly been life changing.


Pictures-Day 6 and 7



Dancing with Maasi Women

Dancing in Maasi Women

Dancing with Maasi Women

Maasi Men Dancing and Jumping

Our Men Dancing and Jumping


Morning at Campsite

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 4 and 5 (Taylor See)

Yesterday morning, we ate our last meal at the Afrikan Sunstar Resort and headed into Arusha.  After many hours of driving, we finally arrived at the boma where we were greated by all of the members of the tribe that had been born at the boma. It was very moving as we all shook hands with all of the men and women and were blessed by the elders. They danced for us and many of us joined in. We met Thomas, our community coordinator, who will be with us for our time near the boma. We then went to the primary school and to the work site. Finally, we reached our tent camp. It was not at all what we expected. The toilets and the showers were much better J. We all share tents and we have a mess hall and outdoor kitchen with our own cook. The meals he has cooked for us have been amazing. We settled in and had a late dinner, and spent our first night here. We all survived. Many of us woke up with the sun, which was incredible. The cook made us eggs and bacon with fresh juice and fruit.  We planned to work on the school after breakfast, but luckily, the foreman’s car “broke down” in the city, so we got to play with the primary and nursery school kids. We first taught some English and numbers, and the children sang for us. It was break time, so we got out some of the toys that we brought and played. The beach ball that I brought was soon popped as it was tossed into a thorn tree. This, however, did not hinder the kids from playing with it. When the kids went back to class, we met and discussed what problems the community faces and what the community is proud of. The tribes are facing problems with water, especially during the dry season right now. But they are glad that they have so many children in the schools, even if not all of them stay. The problem is that the parents and elders do not know the value of education because many of them have not been educated themselves. After our meeting, we had a lunch of fruit, tuna tacos, vegetables, and guacamole. After lunch, we went to the work site and started digging out the ground to level it before we added cement. Since we had too many people to do this in the small space, some of us went into the nearby classrooms and taught some more English. Then we sang songs. The kids are so wonderful and all of them want to hold our hands. I can’t wait to work more with them for the rest of our stay.
P.S.  This is Luther Mercer. We are having problems connecting to the internet from our community and we are almost 45 mins. away from a strong signal. Please excuse delays on updating our blog. We may have a few days gap between each blog posting.