Monday, 27 May 2013

The Last Adventure the Waterfall Hike

We scheduled breakfast at the late time of 9:00 am so that everybody could sleep in after yesterday's strenuous hike on Mount Kilimanjaro. After a buffet of fruit, served sausage, toast, eggs, and bacon we repacked our stuff and showered before our 11:00 a.m. hike.
"This is just an easy hike, we walk down some stairs and that's all. You can even wear flip-flops!" said Mrs. Athayde. As it turned out, either Mrs. Athayde's memory is going or we went to a different waterfall.

Our short drive ended up being a drive down a bumpy dirt road during which our driver had to make a couple of good guesses when the road split. We ended up in a dirt "parking lot" aside a field with people herding cows. Our guides showed us some banana trees, coffee bushes (from which 10 of us were able to order fresh-roasted coffee beans delivered to the hotel), lemon trees, and papaya trees. All of these were along a dirt path gaping through what looked like people's back yards. When we got close enough to hear the waterfall it sounded BIG.

At the begining of the descent to the bottom of the waterfall the guides handed out walking sticks, everybody started questioning how "easy" this hike would be. There were about 4 deep concrete steps before we started descending the mud slope. Any other "stairs" we had were sticks and stones and mud. Mama P headed back up for a different view once the path started to get worrisome (after the first 2 steps), but everyone else who came pushed onward. There was a lot of slipping but nobody actually fell. As we got closer to the bottom, the path got closer to the edge, at some points close enough to look over into rushing water.

At the bottom of the waterfall it was an amazing sight. The waterfall towered above us and within minutes we were soaking wet from the cool waterfall mist. We clambered over slippery rocks to get pictures in front of the waterfall, even though a slip could mean being swept down the rapids (Ms. Athayde would like it noted that we weren't allowed out that far and the water was only ankle deep and not actually dangerous, but it seemed exciting).

The climb back up reminded me of the Kilimanjaro hike, except with wet clothes and slippery footing. We all made it up an had a drink and captured a chameleon with our cameras. Everyone had a great last experience before the numerous plane rides home.

Written by - Kyle Ward

Our Tanzania Family

Thank you CPAR - it was a journey we will forever hold close to our hearts.
We hope to see you soon!

A Visit to the Local Hospital

The visit to the local hospital was not for everyone, however, it was an experience I am very glad I took part in. We were given the option of going to a local hospital or to visit Gilala school. I and multiple peers decided to go to the local Lutheran hospital that Tanzanians use. We start out by meeting with the Head Doctor in his office. From there, he took us on a tour of the hospital, bringing us from ward to ward. The wards were very simple and left the people with little to no privacy. The patients here don't have nearly as much privacy as they should like Canadian hospitals. Some of the things were overwhelming to see, from a man that had his leg amputated to a child with very badly burnt hands. Families are expected to provide food for patients. As sad and as heartbreaking as it was, it also has given me far more appreciation for our medical system. We complain about waiting at emergency or at our doctors office, we are still miles ahead and I couldn't be more thankful.

Written by - Will Stewart

Revisiting Gilala School

In 2010, KEC funded rainwater tanks at Gilala shool. During our Tanzania visit, we planted a grove of fruit trees with the students. One afternoon, some of the Tanzania 2013 students were able to go back to Gilala to see how the school was faring. The rainwater tanks were functioning perfectly and were carefully manitained. Fastened to the top of the tank was a small placque identifying Kildonan-East Collegiate as the sponsor, in partnership with CPAR.
As I had been on the original trip, I was eager to see what changes had occured. We had to first proceed through the formalities of signing the guestbook in the headmistress's office - they turned back several pages and I was able to see the signatures of all the Tanzania 2010 members from our initial visit. We then moved into the garden area and I tried to pick out the tree I had planted as an eight inch seedling just three years ago. Melissa suggested it was probably the dead one standing at the edge of the field, but I am quite sure it was one of the many flourishing avacadoes that were standing twelve to fifteen feet tall and producing fruit. The entire grove looked very healthy and green, rrigated by runoff water from the tanks. In addition, the school has started a large vegetable garden with support from CPAR, and looks to be quite healthy.
We then toured each class, where we were greeted by the students who were eager to provide us with a list of items in need at the school. Fortunately, we had brought several of the items with us, thanks to the generous donations of Kildonan-East Collegiate staff and students. They were very excited to rceive much needed items like pencils, rulers, and notebooks, but absolutely delerious when we brought out the soccer balls, skipping ropes, and frisbees.
Since we had a smaller number of KEC students and teachers with us that day, we were a little hard pressesd to try and interact with all of the Gilala students. Garrett was quickly involved in a soccer match with the boys while Melissa quickly pumped up the rest of the balls and distributed them. Daria was involved with some very enthusiastic skipping rope games while Bryce tossed frisbees with a large group. Lindsay showed a small group how to work her digital camera while Mr. Shute and myself had a discussion with the second head teacher. We were very pleased to hear that this school did not employ the "stick" -corporal punishment - and yet still ranked very well academically.
Great to see the legacy of Tanzania 2010 continuing to make such a positive impact!

Written by - K. Athayde

A tree Mrs. Athayde helped plant in 2010. Wow, how it has grown. 


Upon returning from our safari on the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, we sat down as a group to discuss some of the things we have seen so far in Africa. In the short time we have been in Tanzania, we have had the opportunity to explore very different sides of this beautiful, but often harsh, country. Here are some of the thoughts expressed.

Kyle: I see what we've done here but it seems to be such a small part of what needs to be done. While at the safari lodges we watched these fancy acts - instead they should educate people about what life is really like in Tanzania.
Daria Sywak: This was a real eye oener. I'll go home with a new perspective. There were days when I'd get up and kind of dread going to school, having to get in the car and drive there. Here I've seen kids who have to walk two hours with no shoes to get to school.
Bryce: I think more of the money from tourism should be going to the communities. Employees at the hotels were surprised that we could speak a few words in Swahili. It showed that most tourists come just for the animals and don't make the effort to try and understand things.
Will: This was an amazing perspective. We take for granted so much. Even at the hostel we have to flick a switch to heat up the water, while at home we just take it for granted. The two sides of Africa we saw (rural life and tourist life) are polar opposites.
Christina: It was interesting to see the schools rather than just going on safari.
Karly: I'm grateful I got to do this trip through CPAR. We saw so much. At home there is so much over-indulgence. It will be hard to see all the food wasted when I am bussing tables in the rstaurant where I work.
Lindsay: I was researching and preparing myself before the trip but I still wasn't fully prepared. Everything is so beautiful and green here. I thought about the safari but I prefer life at the hostel. Life seems so much more connected to nature here.
Garrett: I am happy with what I learned. It has amped up my motivation to make a differnce in the world.
Peter: At the primary school wher we planted the trees, the teacher was so grateful although we did so little. He was still asking for more things. It just shows how much they need. We've got to keep trying to make it better.
Tyler: There is more that needs to be done.
Hailey: It's interesting that a lot of people here don't know their rights. In Canada we do.
Lovejot: The kids definitely motivated me. Given the resources and opportunities they will do so much. We are not driven nearly as much as they are.
Jessica: I have a passion for midwifery. I want to go home, get my degree and come back and help with birthing practices.
Melissa: It was cool to see the culture and environment and realize how lucky we actually are back home. Animals here don't have a home or proper care. People here don't believe we keep animals as pets and give them names and proper food and proper care.
Ms. M: I'm so proud of our students for what they are getting out of this, an experience that will forever be a part of them, a part of us.
Ms. S.: I've been a weeping mess for much of this trip. Part shocked and horrified at the plight of women here. Inspired by how they are the agents of change even though they are constantly stomped on.
Ms. A.: Thanks to CPAR we got to see many different sides of Africa. It was an experience that very few are privileged to see. We met so many interesting people.
Mr. S.: The farming practices are so old. There will be a culture shock when we go back to Canada.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


May 19
The party bus drove all day long and did not stop until sunset. We stopped for a while to view Ngorongoro crater from the top. The scenery was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. After driving around the crater, we made our way to the Serengeti. Being a witness to the true nature of the Serengeti had to be something that most people will never endure in their lifetimes. The animals are so unique and different from anything I have ever seen in Canada. We arrived at the lodge around 7:00 pm in the middle of the dessert. The drive was definitely worth it, because it was the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in. There were no fences around the compound and each of the rooms were designed like modern day straw huts. The best part of the rooms were the robes that were in the shower. I think we all felt like kings and queens that night. After dinner, we listened to some performers who started doing hardcore acrobatics. When the act was over, William got ahold of a sweet 12-string guitar and played some music. Later on, the guitar owner came to play us an incredible Kiswahili song. He had a great voice and I found it interesting to hear a different type of music. I saw some sort of scorpion-crab type insect scurrying around the patio, so I decided to pursue it. It was a transparent, red colour and was very quick. One of the hotel employees saw me on this pursuit and squashed the thing with his feet. I asked the man some questions about what it was out of curiosity and he told me it was a spider. Apparently they were very poisonous and cause any affected area to swell up. Umm no thank you.

May 20

In the morning I was awoken by the sounds of song birds amidst the Serengeti lodge. We had to call the security guards to escort us to the main hotel where we actually had bacon with breakfast! Being one of our earlier mornings, we left in the jeeps by about 7:00 a.m. The top of the jeeps were already down and the chilling wind called for a light jacket. The first animals we sighted for the day were some grand gazelles. That was just the beginning to a day with almost too many animals. Our group ran into a herd of giraffes, a quarrel of hippos, a plethora of elephants, a pinch of zebras, and about 14 billion wildebeests. We even saw a hyena for a second on our way out of the desert. The lions are seen every once in a while, but they just chill out on top of trees or in the grass. They appear to be comfortable with humans staring at them. After lunch, the remainder of our day was spent driving through the Serengeti finding animals in the sweltering heat. I learned that hippopotamus's smell like sewage and they enjoy sleeping in the water together as groups to cool down in the African heat. I also observed many zebras that have integrated with the wildebeests. We were fortunate enough to witness the great migration of the two animals! 

May 21
For our last safari day, we drove into the crater for a few hours to find some more animals. Most of the animals were the same, but we finally saw a male lion. I can see where the name "King of the Jungle" comes from. The lion was just grazing in the grass next to his most recent kill. It appeared to be a water buffalo with hundreds of flies all over its exposed rib cage. The smell was vulgar and rank. Mid-way through the day, we pulled up next to a jeep and had a lovely conversation with one of the ladies in it. It turned out that she was an Olympic athlete sponsored by Oakley. Her name was Georgia Simmerling from Vancouver, BC, so it was awesome to meet a famous Canadian skier! By lunch time, the trio climbed their highest tree yet over a pond of hungry hungry hippos. I just wish that the next tree we climb is not infested with rabid spiders. To end another beautiful day, our jeep randomly fell upon a sleeping female lion just 5 feet from the road. She was definitely a peaceful animal. I was glad to end the day with such a majestic sight of a mis-understood creature. By mis-understood I mean that they sleep way more than I expected.

Written by - Peter Johnson