I have been in Morogoro, Tanzania for about 4 days now and I have already had quite the experience. Above, you see an image of a waterfall but after reading this post I think you will see much more. The image of the waterfall sums up my first week and here’s why. Being in Tanzania has already pushed me to the edge (in a good way). It has forced me to step out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I took this picture on Wednesday morning after hiking up a mountain for about 2 hours. Prior to this trip, I had constantly labelled myself as someone who was not outdoorsy so one could only imagine my reaction when the idea to go on a morning hike was presented to me. I was initially very reluctant but alas I actually survived and, wait for it, I actually enjoyed it. I got to the waterfall which marked the end of the hike and immediately felt a sense of pride as I was standing before this beautiful landmark which symbolized the beginning of a summer of many firsts. This was my first ever voluntary hike, this trip is my first trip abroad for research, this is the first time I have been to East Africa, this is the first time I have considered the possibility of liking the outdoors and the list goes on.
As I sat in awe of the waterfall’s beauty, I also reflected on all of the beautiful people of Tanzania I had already met and interacted with. The people of Tanzania made me feel at home on the very first day. Everyone would constantly greet me with a warm smile accompanied by either Jambo!, Mambo! or Habari! which all mean ‘hello’ or ‘how are you?’ Believe it or not, the village people I met along the way on my journey to the waterfall played a big role in encouraging me to finish my trek. At so many points during my hike, I would stop to question if the hike was worth finishing as I was extremely hot, dehydrated, and fatigued. Many of the people living in the mountains saw this and would smile at me and yell greetings. It truly is the little things in life that can make the biggest impacts as these gestures constantly rekindled my desire to make it to the waterfall. As I sat at Choma Waterfalls and reflected, I smiled as I realized that the people of Tanzania already had a special place in my heart.
This week has already been quite busy for me since I have started working on my summer project so my time at the waterfall was definitely much needed. I can not wait to share other new experiences and observations on my blog over the next few weeks.