Thursday, March 20, 2014


So many papers required for Tanzania - my passport is back after 2 weeks of waiting for the visa. I am always happier to have it in my possession. Not that I am likely to zip off at any time...but it is good to know I could!

My fiction reading for the trip has been less focused on Tanzania for lack of materials. "Africa" is often treated in the West as one unit, although I already know it to be diverse and each country - and sometimes part of a country - unique. I read Half a Yellow Sun which was magnificent, A Silken Thread which I do not recommend, and now Great Sky Woman, about early tribes at the foot of the mountains where I will be. There are plenty of information books about Kilimanjaro, but I doubt I will do more than look at it!

Like most towns where there is a great influx of tourists preparing to climb or explore, the dress codes are skewed. Those paying for lodging or food often can be culturally insensitive, and it will go unremarked. But as volunteers there, we try to be more conservative. Pictures I have seen of volunteers and residents show covered knees and shoulders, loose garments. It will be early winter in May-June, at the base of a mountain, but near the equator. Looks like highs in the upper 70s.

There are 12 other volunteers arriving when I do, and 5 more already in the house. That is always fun.

Tomorrow the travel doctor - I have had some strange vaccinations and test over the years. India required Cholera. Russia demanded negative HIV and STD tests.