When we arrived at Kilimanjaro it was dark and it still had not hit me that we were actually in Africa. We headed to the Outpost, moved into our rooms, and went to bed. When we woke up Sunday morning and left for breakfast it still didn’t seem real. It felt like I was walking around Animal Kingdom at Disney. I have never seen so many beautiful, tropical plants in my life. It is amazing! It didn’t really hit me that we were actually here until we made our first trip to town. As we walked across a bridge heading to town, we caught a glimpse of Mount Meru. Seeing it in the distance against the bright blue sky was absolutely breathtaking. As we crossed the bridge and got closer to town there were more people walking around and children playing in yards and on sidewalks. There were a couple children yelling “hi” to us from the balcony of their apartment. There were busses, cars, and motorcycles buzzing past us. There was a lady selling fruit while balancing a basket on her head. There was so much to see and take in, but it finally hit me, we were actually in Africa. I love the buildings and the energy of town with everyone bustling around. I cannot wait to visit and explore town some more.
Monday was our first day at school. I was extremely nervous. When Shannon, Fawn and I arrived at school we waited to meet with the headmistress. The longer we waited the more anxious I got. We finally met with her and I was assigned to a standard 2 classroom. When I entered the room I felt so out of place. Communicating with my teacher was a little bit of a struggle. I decided to just observe for the first day. To be honest, I almost felt like crying as I stood in the classroom and watched. It wasn’t that I was sad, but I just felt so uncomfortable. I was even more nervous than before and the one thought kept crossing my mind… what did I get myself into?
Now that I have been in the school for a whole week my thoughts have completely changed. I feel a lot more comfortable. One thing that has been hard to adjust to is the difference in teaching styles. At home a lot of teaching is hands on and interactive. The style here is more lecture and note based. So far I have been teaching math and grammar in my classroom. As I am planning for and teaching my lessons I have been trying to incorporate interactive aspects, as well as respecting the expectations of the teacher who has allowed me to enter her room to co-teach with her. The first couple days were rough, but things are turning around and only getting better. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this trip has in store for me!