Now, I mean this in the most positive way possible, but this trip was nothing like I expected it to be. We spent a year preparing for the trip, a lot having to do with funding and culture shock. To a certain extent, I was worried for a while about theft and crime in general. I know Kerr would never intend to bring Tanzania down, but that is how I was feeling. I was worried about leaving and traveling thousands of miles across the globe, mostly on my own. Anxiety kicked in really hard when it was just me, thinking to myself on those planes. When I arrived, I kept close to the group, I worried when I couldn’t see someone. Soon, we were all reunited when getting our visas, and again at baggage claim on the other side of customs. I was relieved. As time went on, I felt freer from constraints of anxiety and let myself go. From the first morning spent in Arusha, with our first breakfast, I had begun to let go. I mean, come on, I was in Tanzania for goodness sakes! How many people do you know that can say that? Why worry? Hakuna Matata. I am usually bound to a schedule and worry what exactly is coming next, but this trip I sat back and let the rover take me wherever the rover wanted to take me. Each moment was new, different and exciting. I have never seen such incredible landscapes, beautiful animals (large ones in such abundance) or met such amazing people. I never felt like anyone was trying to take advantage of me because I was an American (it began to feel that way with bargaining on the street, but that is a completely different story!). Each day, we sat down and ate our amazing variety of soups with dinner, we all talked about the incredible days we had. Each of us shared a part of the day that really stood out to us; our highlights. Some days, our highlights were easy to come up with, other days, not so much. Some days, there were too many incredible sites and experiences to choose just one; some days, some of us just had to discuss more than one highlight. We made sure to write all these down. At the beginning of the trip when we began this, I was glad that through these memories, I would remember the trip. Each day when we discussed them, there was almost so much that went on, you forgot some of it! Hearing everyone’s highlight at the table at dinner helped me relive each day each night. This will help me relive it every time I go back at look at all these highlights, reliving the moments I experienced and seeing the same (or different) experienced through other people’s eyes. I always thought I wanted to go abroad by myself for a semester, see things by myself and feel vulnerable. I’d pass up that experience for another chance to go to Tanzania again with a group like mine. Working together to plant those trees, talking every night, running around and playing like kids, and seeing each other back here at in Missoula over time. I would not trade this for the world. I will be back some day. I’m sure of it.
Unprepared and Uncertain