Slow Internet

Ah, so the laid back life style down here is pretty nice and it hasn't bugged me yet, except for one aspect, the internet! I have been on for 55 minutes right now and still am attempting to load my emails. It just showed me that I have 232 new messages because of facebook birthday messages, so I'm sure that can't help. But I have been trying to upload photos and the computer doesn't like me. Hopefully I can find a faster internet cafe for next week so that I can post a few photos. And if anyone has sent emails recently, I probably won't respond too quickly. Right now facebook is the only thing that works at all for me, oh well, welcome to africa!

5-23 Thoughts (I posted 3 posts, check them all out)

Me again, and it’s currently Wednesday night and we are sitting in our beds about to go to sleep. It is a torrential downpour outside, the first rain we’ve seen all trip, and the sound of it against the roof is extremely loud. Hoss just got back from running outside under a downspout as a makeshift shower. The mamas got a kick out of watching him prance around under the mini waterfall. Well I thought I would post a little more information about the orphanage that we are working in, Samaritan Village Orphanage Center.
The Centre was started in 1996 by a local Tanzanian woman who now lives in California. Since the start of the orphanage, more than 50 children have been admitted into the program. Most of these children were abandoned by the parents when they were infants. Over the past few years, more and more children are found abandoned in street corners, dust bins, guest homes, toilet trenches, and bushes. Many children in this condition do not make it through the night because of the weather and wild animals. For the lucky babies that make it through the night, they must wait on a stranger to find them and take them to a local hospital for treatment. Some of the babies are found to have brain damage caused from attempted abortions. Since abortion is illegal in Tanzania, some mothers attempt their own abortions during the pregnancy, however if it does not work out, the drugs they used can affect the baby after birth.
Once the children are treated at the hospital and treated for HIV and other diseases, they are then handed over to places such as Samaritan Village, where they will look after the children as they grow up. Samaritan Village is an orphanage which will also handle infants. Currently, they have a two week old, four week old, and two month old baby. Combined with the other kids, the orphanage takes care of 19 children.
These kids are provided food, clothes, and a place to sleep. Based upon their individual needs, they are also taken to school. Children that have suffered brain damage are taken to a special school that meets only a few days a week. But most importantly, these kids are given love, something that they haven’t experienced before. The seven mama’s and father’s that run the orphanage care for them as if they were there own kids, volunteering their own time to help these kids grow up in a loving environment.
As far as our job goes, we’re simply here to provide the mama’s with a break. These ladies work nonstop from the minute they get up to right before they go to bed. The least we can do is run around with the kids for a few hours and tire them out the best we can. We also help them with their homework at night and help the mama’s with chores around the center during the day. It’s been an incredible experience so far to see how wiling these mama’s are to sacrifice their time so as to make sure that these kids grow up the same as any other child.
Well, the rain is getting ready to ease up and it’s time that I head to bed so that I am rested up for another day of chasing kids around the yard while carrying two kids on my back. Thanks for all your prayers over the past week, I really appreciate it. I will be back soon to post the latest adventure. Friday we are trekking into the Serengeti (along with a few other places) so I’m sure I will have lots to talk about!

5-22 Thoughts

Me again, its day 2 at the orphanage and today was our first full day with the kids. There are 4 mama’s that stay here all day with the kids and are working nonstop, I have no idea how they do it. The kids got up and went to school this morning, luckily we were told to sleep in until 8 and that we didn’t need to help in the morning, we would probably be more of a nuisance than a help. At one point today Hoss tried to help the ladies cook pasta and after about 5 minutes he was back outside. The hard part is that no one here speaks English. One lady knows about as much English as we know Swahili, the rest just know how to smile back at us. So it’s pretty funny to watch us trying to help them out around the orphanage. We got assigned laundry duty this morning, it took us just over an hour and boy was it interesting. Hoss got the lucky job of doing the initial washing with the soap and then Grim and I were put on rinsing and hanging the clothes up. And let’s just say that because there are a lot of babies around here, there are quite a few pairs of soiled underwear. So Hoss had the lucky job of rubbing it all off with nothing but his hands. One other lady helped us out and we tried talking to her but she had no idea what we were saying, all she did was laugh at me every time I spilled water on myself. By the end I was drenched head to toe and all the mama’s came outside and got a good laugh at me. So after that we went inside and tried to entertain the kids. Hoss and I had the easy kids but Grim had one girl who didn’t find anything he did to be amusing. Hoss taught his kid how to give a high-five and my girl let me play the drums on her belly, right up my ally! After that we went and had lunch and the pasta that Hoss failed at cooking, and now we’re back here resting up for tonight. Basically our job around here is to play with the kids, not too bad. So when the kids get back from school we run around and chase them in the yard for awhile and give the mama’s a break. Which I guess during their break they cook dinner, they are always doing something. But I have a feeling that it will be a very tiring 3 weeks but one we won’t forget. I’ll keep posting more stories as they come!!

5-21 Thoughts

So we made it to the orphanage and once again, things are awesome! I’d say this is a pretty good birthday present J Well, I’m sure you are all dieing to know everything that’s been happening, so I’ll fill you in from where I last left off. On Sunday, the day after the Maasai Trip, I went on a tour of Arusha with one of the locals, named Ally. Once again we walked. That is one thing I have noticed about Africa, they walk everywhere, it’s awesome. The only cars on the road tend to be safari 4X4’s or daladala’s, everyone else walks. So after touring the city for a bit we went to a museum which talked about the history of Africa and Tanzania and also about all the wildlife and bugs in the area. Now this wasn’t your typical American museum, more like a house with a few signs hanging on the wall here and there, but it was still really neat. Beside the museum was a local church and the entire time I could here them singing and clapping, it was so beautiful! One of these Sundays I hope to make it out to a church here in Arusha. After the museum, we went to a local market, and boy oh boy was that fun! So the tourist season doesn’t start up until June, so right now, I’m essentially the only white guy around. So I think it’s fair to say that I was quite the popular person walking through that market. Out of about 100 different little shops side by side, I think I went in about 95 of them. And every shop sells the exact same thing. I started asking people if they handmade the crafts and they all said yes, but when I began to realize that about 10 different people have an uncanny ability to make the exact same thing I became suspicious. But that’s the fun part about it. So after walking through the market I ate at a very tiny local place that serves food essentially only to the vendors, but I somehow found myself inside. So I ended up getting a rice and chicken stew combination thing, not really sure what it was but it was pretty good. The whole time I was eating everyone around me was laughing and having a good time, so I sat there and smiled at them pretending like I knew what was going on. Well I later found out that I was the source of their amusement because the entire time I ate with silverware. In Africa, they eat everything with their hands. The other thing I learned about Africa is that a burp is considered to be a sign of appreciation to the cook and that you enjoyed the food, whereas a fart is still considered to be rude. And people pick their nose all the time in public, anyway, all of that was for you Krissy, I knew you would appreciate it. Anyway after food I went to a bar and we watched some more football, soccer that is, not American football. At this point Paradise and the rest of the guys began to realize that I only drink water and so I told them the whole medicine story and everything. They said that it was a very noble thing to do, ha, how about that!! Anyway, then I went back to my room for a bit and waited to be picked up for dinner. We ate at a local place called the African Queen where I ordered a chicken pizza. However this is not your typical Italian pizza, its more like a calzone with vegetables and chicken and other stuff I’m not sure what it was, but it was good. I got to talk with some other volunteers while I was there and then we got a call and its time to pick up Hoss and Grim. We picked up them and went back to the restaurant where we planned a safari for the next weekend. So on Friday we will be heading to Lake Manyara, the Serengeti, and the Ngorogoro Crater. So that will take 4 days and we will get back Monday. It should be a blast, so expect some good pics to be posted soon!! Now we are sitting in our room at the orphanage and we are waiting for the kids to come home from school. We actually have a private room/house outside of the main orphanage. It’s pretty cozy and I get to sleep in between Grim and Hoss, aren’t I a lucky guy. The orphanage is located on the top of a small hill from which you can overlook most of the region. There’s a few rolling hills around and then past them Mt. Meru lies behind them. If you look the other way, you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance, it’s absolutely beautiful. The orphanage is the most modern thing around us, everything else is almost entirely made from the land. If you look out the window from our room, you look down upon the tops of thousands of trees, it feels as if you are in the middle of a jungle with no one around you. It makes me want to just take my sleeping bag outside and sleep under the stars. I think I might steal Grim’s mosquito net and use it one night. Surprisingly, the bugs are better here than they are back home, there will be an occasional fly here and there but compared to Louisiana, I feel like I’m living in Paradise. Right now Hoss and Grim are both trying to get some sleep and Hoss keeps swatting at a fly who doesn’t want to leave him alone, Grim on the other hand is out cold with flies just sitting on his arms, I guess he doesn’t mind them too much. This will be quite the interesting trip with both of them, I am really looking forward to the stories that will arise. Oh and for all of you who really are reading this only to find out one thing, no I have not ate fruit yet. I am still holding strong J Well I hear kid’s voices out back so maybe I should go see what’s happening. I will try to post this as soon as possible, I’m sorry if it takes a week to post. Anyway, I hope Pennsylvania is still surviving without us and I can’t wait to come home and share photos with everyone. I already have over 350 pictures and it is hasn’t even been a week yet. I will talk with everyone as soon as I can.

Let the stories begin

Wow, so I had quite the interesting first day here in Tanzania. First of all, I got here safe and finally met the one and only Paradise. Well, I guess I’ll start at the beginning. After Lindsay and I landed in Kilimanjaro, she left with her group and I jumped on a bus which was headed for Arusha. It was about a 45 minute drive and I was supposed to get off at some hotel to meet Paradise, however I forgot the name of the hotel so I just stayed on the bus until one of the hotel’s sounded familiar. When we got to the Impala hotel, I remembered that was it. So I got off and went to the reception desk to call Paradise, 10 minutes later Paradise was there with 3 other men and they helped me get my stuff in the Land Cruiser. One of the men was another volunteer from Chicago and we have been hanging out for the past two nights. After we got in the car, they took me to my hotel that I was staying at which is very nice but not exactly on one of the more popular roads. So I took my stuff in, got a shower, and then met them for dinner. We went to a little local place and I had chicken and chippati. It is essentially flat bread, lots and lots of flat bread! It was really good but the meal definitely introduced me to the laid back life style of Africa. It took us two and a half hours to eat. So after dinner I was quite exhausted and I think it would be fair to say that I slept very good that night. The next day Paradise, who by the way is very nice and is living up to his name, arranged for me to visit the Masai people. So that morning I went down and had breakfast, which I have to talk about breakfast first. The waitress did not speak the best English, and I was completely on my own with no one else, so I had no idea what she said. So every time she said something or asked me something, I would just nod my head and smile. Well it turns out that I ended up ordering toast, eggs, and bacon for breakfast, I was impressed with myself. The whole time I kept thinking, darn, I might have just ordered fruit or something. So that was fun and Paradise then came and met me while I ate. From there he took me on a long drive to reach the Masai camp, which is at the foothills of Mt. Meru. There I met up with a Masai man named Jeremiah who would be my tour guide for the day. Now they told me that it was a walking tour but I didn’t realize what they meant when they said walking. For four hours, him and I walked the entire jungle/farm area of Mt. Meru, going from boma to boma. And for those who are new to the Swahili thing, a boma is a house or collection of homes. So the entire day we spent walking down small dirt paths and hanging out with the Masai people. I can’t think of a better way to get exposed to the culture, it was just me and hundreds of Masai people, yeah it was pretty cool. At the one boma, I spent some time with the kids and they were fascinated by my camera, so I got some fun pictures with them and of them making silly faces at me. Then around 1:00, we arrived at his boma and he invited me inside with his kids. There I ate my lunch (which happened to be chicken and chippati once again) and he changed in to his traditional Masai clothes. When we were done there, we kept walking (and at this point I was so lost it was even funny, I felt like I was lost in the amazon). An hour later we came upon a small Masai market where they were selling vegetables and other stuff. There wasn’t too much to see there so we quickly got on a daladala. A daladala is what you are told not to get on as a tourist because of theft and stuff, but I really had no other option so I gladly jumped on with Jeremiah. For those of you that don’t know what a daladala is, it is a small van probably smaller than the size of our 15 person vans, and they cram over 30 people into them; hence the problem with theft and pick pocketing. Well, I figured I was with a Masai guy (although they all were) and he had a huge knife with him, I had to be safe. Well I made it off alive and with all my stuff, but it was quite an interesting ride, the whole time people are yelling and handing money around and people hanging out of windows and doors. It was pretty cool, I think they would work well at Penn State. So we took that and then stopped on the side of the road in what looked to me like the middle of no where. Literally there was nothing around. However, that didn’t stop us from walking, so we just started walking off into the middle of a field on a tiny dirt path. Eventually we came across a home where some other volunteers were living. We met them later but they weren’t the friendliest. So both of them, me and my Masai buddy jumped in their car and went to the big Masai market. And this thing was crazy. Imagine a bunch of people in blue, purple, and red robes gathered along the side of a sole road with huge mountains surrounding them everywhere. It was awesome, but I had to be careful when taking pictures because some of them get really upset apparently. I had already got scolded in Swahili I think from an older lady in one of the bomas so I didn’t want to upset an entire crowd, otherwise I would have had to run away from an angry mob in the middle of no where, and that didn’t seem like a wise choice. So we stayed there for a bit and then I got a ride home with two grumpy volunteers, who I think had road rage because they were driving like maniacs. Then again everyone is Tanzania drives crazy. Once back in Arusha I met up with Paradise and the others and we watched the soccer championship between Chelsea and Manchester, which was awesome sitting around a tiny TV with a bunch of Africans yelling stuff that I couldn’t understand. After that we went and got dinner and I sat around with a bunch of drunk Africans who kept making jokes in English that I couldn’t understand, but it was still a lot of fun. So that’s been the start of the trip and I’m sure the stories will keep coming. There is internet access in Arusha but I’m not sure how often I can get here once I’m at the orphanage, I think I will probably be able to do it once a week, I will try my best. I hope things are going well back home, miss everyone!!


Well we made it!!! We are currently in Dar es Salaam. We got in at 7 this morning, which I think was 11 at night for you guys. Things surprisngly went very smoothly. We walked outside and I was greeted by a buy with my name on his sign. We shook hands and then he turned and started walking, so Lindsay and I followed behind. Then he quickly turned around and handed me a phone, on the other end was Yotam, the coordinator of my program in Tanzania. So I talked with him and he told me that he was in Arusha and would meet me there. He offered us a quick tour of Dar with a friend of his but we decided to stay at the airport instead. So we now have until 2 until our flight leaves so we have spent the morning doing a lot of people watching. It's awesome here, the people are very friendly and everything is so laid back. I haven't figured out yet whether or not 5000 Tanzanian shillings is a lot or a little, so I kind of just guess and barter with people for water and stuff. It makes it more fun that way. I think I even bartered the price of my airline ticket, I'm not quite sure. Oh, and I saw a guy with pants that looked exactly like Vaughn's, it made me laugh. A few minutes ago we were sitting on a bench and a lady sat beside us and opened up a bunch of bags. Within seconds a crowd swarmed her and they were getting there lunch, it was really neat to see. So they had a bunch of fruit and breads, and I think fish and chicken, it was pretty impresive. I then went and brushed my teeth, which felt good since I haven't done that since Wednesday morning. So things are going surprisingly well. Once we fly into Kilimanjaro, Lindsay will be leaving with her group and then I'll be on my own, let the fun begin! I'm not sure the next time I'll be able to update but I wanted to let everyone know that we got in safely and that things are going well. Talk to everyone soon!


Alright, well we made it through the first continent with very few hiccups. It turns out that I managed to slip through security in Philly and they made me go back and get researched because they weren't sure how I got through, so that was exciting. Anyway, I'm sitting in Heathro now waiting for our flight to Tanzania. We spent the day in London exploring the city in the rain, good times. Anyway, here's some pictures from the day, enjoy :)

Here we go...

Wow, so it’s really starting. I’m sitting here in the Philly Airport waiting for Lindsay to arrive and things are finally beginning to hit me (and it’s an awesome feeling!) I’m about to circle the globe, that’s kind of cool I guess. This whole traveling thing has really got me thinking a lot about my role here, on this planet. Sometimes I forget that there are so many other people out there. I’m sitting right now in the terminal and doing one of my favorite pastimes: people-watching. And it’s amazing to see how many different people walk by (and I’m still in Philadelphia, I wonder what I’ll be thinking in a few weeks) But it just strikes me that there’s so many times when things in my life tell me that everything is about me. But how can that be true when there are so many other people out there. I guess its kind of a simple idea, obviously there’s different people out there, but for some reason that’s all that’s going through my head right now.
I’m about to start on this journey where I am going to meet people from every walk of life, and each one of them I feel is going to teach me something different. Hopefully I can keep it all straight. It’s so easy for me to think that my way of life is the answer to all problems, but that’s probably not true. Actually I’m pretty sure that’s not true. You know in 10 weeks I’ll be flying back to this exact same airport and watching a whole new fleet of people walk by me. I wonder what I’ll be thinking then…
Sometimes I just have to laugh at how God is working around me and through me. And the majority of the time I don’t even see it happening, it’s when I look back and see how all the puzzle pieces fell together that I’m blown away. I feel like that’s been the summary of my life, I’m just kind of flying through this thing called life hoping that I’m heading in the right direction. And then when I finally get somewhere, I look back and just have to smile. I never needed to worry about how I was going to get there, heck, I didn’t even know where I was going for most of the time, but regardless, God got me to this point, and it feels good.
That’s especially been the case with this entire summer. For those of you that had to put up with me over the past year (cough, Sauder) you know that I kind of just jumped into this whole Africa thing, and I’m really not even sure when Australia came into the picture. But when I look back on it I have to laugh, I went into this expecting that going the entire way across the globe would be nothing, I’m Spud, I can handle it. But I quickly realized that traveling is much more work than one would expect (or at least I would expect). But I made it, and now I’m sitting here in an airport waiting to catch a flight to London, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Johannesburg, Sydney, Darwin, Alice Springs, Cairns, and Los Angelos. It really sounds impressive when you write a bunch of them out. So now what, where do I go from here? I guess my plan is to do what I’ve always done, go with the flow and figure things out as they come my way. I’m getting pretty good at it. So we’ll see how it goes, it should be an interesting trip and one that I will learn a lot from. Well I have to go take a malaria pill (yes mom, I didn’t forget to take it). Until next time, Humjambo!! (I’m close, I know I got the jambo part right)


Alright, I set up a Skype account. I probably won't be on at all in Tanzania, but you have a very good chance of catching me in Australia. If you don't have an account go to and sign up, its all free!

My Skype username is: iamspud
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Let's Start Things Off

I know that many of you have been longing in anticipation over this, so here it is. Now if all goes according to plan (which it rarely does, but we'll give it a shot) I will try to keep this updated as often as I can over the summer. I will try to do it weekly if possible but I am not quite sure how much access I will have to the internet. But here is master plan for the summer:

May 16th: Leave Philly
May 18th: Arrive in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
May 21st: Start working in the orphanage and local school in Arusha, Tanzania
June 8th: End Tanzania program
June 9th - 15th: Wandering around Tanzania
June 15th: Fly out of Tanzania and head for Australia
June 16th: Arrive in Darwin, Australia
June 17th: Start Alternative Energy Class in Australia
June 17th - July 30th: All over Australia doing a variety of random things
August 1st: Arrive back in Philly

So that's the idea, I'll see how close I can stick to the plan. I will also try to post pictures from the trips up here on the blog as well. I am also going to set-up a Skype account so I will be able to stay in contact through that as well. In Australia I will have access to the internet much more than I will in Tanzania, so that's when you have a better shot of getting a hold of me. Well that's all I have for now. The next post should be from Tanzania!

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