Today I am riding in one of two school busses heading to Lake Manyara national park in Tanzania, with the children of St. Timothy’s school. There are 80 kids total, the Mama Hope team, and 6 teachers. This means the kids outnumber the adults 8 to 1. This is going to be a crazy day!…
Hello again, now I am back from the field trip, completely exhausted. The field trip was 12 hours long, from 8am to 8pm. It was one serious field trip, but the kids only get one trip a year, so the teachers must do the most with the time they are given. It was the best 12 hours I have spent in Tanzania so far! I had so much fun with all the kids!
The moment we got on the bus it was pure energy! So many smiling faces, the kids were so excited to see all the animals at the park! I was very worried that 40 kids, ages 6 to 11, on a bus, would get very out of hand, very quickly! Especially since it was a 3 and 1/2 hour drive to the park.
After 2 hours had passed I was shocked and amazed at how well behaved the children were. They were so quiet, they sat still, remained in their seats and there wasn’t a single fight. This good behavior lasted the entire 3 and 1/2 hours. Unbelievable hugh?
The moment we stepped off the bus it was a race for my hands and my hair. Two children instantly grabbed each of my hands, then others tried to cut in and grab on to me as well. I was quickly led by 5 children down a path to the restrooms. While waiting in line the kids swarmed around me and started petting my hair. They smaller ones were jumping trying to touch it, so I knelt down to make it easier for them. I am not sure if it was because I was blonde, or my hair was curly, or long… But it was like they had never seen it before and wanted to see if it was real.
Two twin girls took a great liking to me. They were with me most of the trip, one on each hand, always sitting with me, and giving me hugs. All the children were so loving… I was loving it!
Being with the children to see all the animals was the best way to experience a national park. I was able to witnesses the pure joy that only a child can display, and I was able to feel this joy through them. We saw giraffes, zebras, elephants, buffalo, hippos, wart hogs and all different types of monkeys and birds. The kids were so excited, pointing and shouting the name of the animals “zebra, zebra!” It was amazing to see these animals in their natural habitat, as opposed to a cage in a zoo.
On this trip I got close to many of the children but grew quite fond of a boy named Amir. I talked with him most of the bus ride home and got to know him very well. He was a little cuddle bug! I completely fell in love with him. He along with the two twins, fell asleep on me during the ride home. Amir in my lap, one twin on my shoulder and the other on my arm. I was so hot and uncomfortable, but I sat this way for the remainder of the ride home because I could not bare to wake them up. Moments like this make me excited to be a mother later in life.
I am back at the hostel now, and cannot wait for tomorrow! We will be going to the school tomorrow to hang out more with the children.