I’m Finally Here!!!

Hello everyone!!  Sorry it took so long to get this post up.  I’ve been here for three days already but everytime I try to post the internet stops working.  I also apologize in advance for the lack of pictures.  I somehow lost my camera in transit but am working on getting a new one, so just bear with me.

I finally made it to Africa and I can’t believe it.  I’m sure any second I’m going to open my eyes and find that this is all a dream.  Except for the fact that if this was a dream, it would have taken a lot less time effort to get here.  Just getting to Zanzibar was a journey and a half in itself.

I left from JFK airport yesterday morning for Dubai without a problem.  I talked to some nice people going to Dubai(where my connection was) while waiting for the plane.  The butterflies in my stomach were having a real party as I waited in nervous anticipation. Finally, I boarded the plane for a twelve hour flight.  I don’t know how many of you have been on a plane ride that long but it’s painful to say the least.  I think I watched at least four movies and slept a lot.  The airline, Emirates, was pretty pinkies up, as one of my friends would say.  As far as airplane food goes, theirs was excellent and the crew was helpful and friendly.

I had heard the airport in Dubai was amazing but I was still surprised by it.  There was basically a mall in my terminal, which gave me something to do while waiting for my flight.  There was also an inside garden near my gate.  I had to laugh when I noticed there was a McDonald’s, Starbucks and Haagan-Daas.  If it weren’t for the Arabic signs and prayer rooms, Dubai could have been mistaken for an American airport.  The flight from Dubai to Dar es Salaam was much shorter and relatively smooth.  This was my first time leaving the time zone and found the experience interesting.  It was mind boggling to think that it was Tuesday morning in Dubai, but still Monday back home!  The first thing I saw upon opening my window was a breathtaking mountain range and all I could think was that I am already seeing wonderful and new things and I haven’t even landed yet.

When I landed in Dar es Salaam things began to get hairy.  I was also exhausted and in desperate need of a shower at this point.  Needless to say, my patience was wearing thin.  Upon entering the airport I immediately encountered a lobby packed with people filling out little blue entry forms.  I grabbed one for myself and hunkered down in a corner to fill it out.  After that it was time to go through customs, which went smoothly luckily.

Unfortunately, the last leg of my journey was still to come; flying to Zanzibar.  The airport in Dar es Salaam was not as organized as the others I had been through but it turns out that standing around looking confused actually works sometimes.  Someone took pity on me and directed me to where I needed to be.  The plane to Zanzibar was about the size of one of the wings on the other planes I had taken and probably fit about 50 people.  The ride was only fifteen minutes and landing was actually much smoother than in a larger plane.  I have discovered that landing my least favorite part of a plane ride, so I was very grateful for this.

Entering what passes as an airport in Zanzibar (it was small, to say the least) I was about ready to collapse and was overjoyed when someone came up to me and asked, “are you Victoria?”  I had finally arrived.

After a bumpy car ride on the wrong side of the road, we arrived in the village of Machui.  It turns out that I was just in time for dinner with the sisters so I dropped my luggage off in my room and headed over to the convent.  All the sisters welcomed me graciously and made me feel right at home.  Right off the bat I started trying new food- a fruit called burundi, which is sort of like grapefruit but sweeter.  I also had fresh milk for the first time from cows right here in the village.  I don’t think my stomach appreciated that very much and it had no problem letting me know.  Finally, after dinner, I had my first freezing cold shower of many and collapsed into bed under a mosquito net.

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