Friday, July 15, 2011

DON'T BOIL YOUR COCONUT...Tanzania Weeks 2-3

I have a LOT of blogging to make up for this past couple weeks so I will do my best. It has been really nice getting into the projects and feeling like I am a part of the team now. I definitely have gotten the hang of Arusha, I feel like I can get around pretty well and hold my own with all the locals hassling me trying to sell stuff. It is a little annoying walking down the street and constantly hearing "Mzungu! Mzungu!" I mean seriously, it's not like I am yelling "African! African!" that would be just rude. 
 I have had some really awesome vacations/exciting times this past couple weekends so I think I will tell about those first.
Excitement #1: Vacation to Moshi!
The weekend of July 2, a group of my team members went to Moshi, which is a town about 2 hours east of Arusha. The most exciting thing about this place is that it is the home of Mt. Kilimanjaro!!! Of course we had to visit it and plot our 5 year Tanzania reunion which would consist of climbing the beast. It was so cool to be able to say I was standing at the trailhead…I could almost call it a fulfillment of a bucket list item…but not quite. We also went on a hike to this beautiful waterfall that comes off the mountain. It was awesome!!! Our guide Ulrich walked us through his village and showed us all sorts of cool things. I would love to live in a place like that that was so green all the time, but I don’t think I would like the bugs…or the reptiles L
See that A-frame behind me? That's the start of the trail!

Tanya, Stacy and I in front of the Kili Booking Office

Our whole group at the trailhead

Me sitting in front of a delightful waterfall near Mt. Kilimanjaro

Goodbye Kilimanjaro National Park :)

Excitement #2: Fourth of July…African Style!
Almost everyone on my team is from America, with the exception of Tanya who’s Canadian, so we definitely wanted to have a Fourth of July party! We had an amazing feast with hamburgers and potato salad included (Brady family must-haves). We also were able to find a few fireworks after a LOT of searching so we lit them in the field down the hill from our house. My little African friends LOVED them! They were so sad that I didn’t have any spare sparklers for them to play with. When we were walking back up the hill, we found a hedgehog in the bushes and I actually HELD it! I know...everyone is shocked right? All in all it was a good day. J
The extent of our firework magic
Our Fourth of July Feast :)
My little friend James and I

Me holding a hedgehog!
Excitement #3: Vacation to Tanga!
So this past weekend we decided to take a trip to Tanga, a coastal paradise here in Tanzania. It was a 9 hour bus ride to get there which was nearly unbearable, but once we actually got to the town it was totally worth it! We stayed in a hotel called Inn by the Sea and we had a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean from right outside our door.

Check out this view!
Classic jumping picture :)

Us and some random guy in the ocean

On Friday, we hired a boat to take us out to the Sand Banks which is an island in the middle of the ocean that is covered unless the tide is out. When it is uncovered it is supposed to be gorgeous white sand and pristine blue waters that offer gorgeous snorkeling and swimming.
We set out on the water at about 8:30 in the morning in a tiny little motor boat with 5 of us and 4 African men. The boat was going really slow and the further we got out into the ocean, the worse the waves got. Two of the girls were freaking out because they thought the boat was going to tip over. Our two guides were really funny and kept singing the Bob Marley song “Don’t Worry” to us and assuring us that everything would be alright. After about 2 ½ hours we all started to get nervous because we thought we should’ve been to the Sand Banks by then. We asked our captain what was going on and he said that it would take a couple more hours for the tide to go out so we could get to the bank. We weren’t really interested in waiting in the big waves for the tide to recede so we asked them if we could go to a different island.
The waves we were boating on :)

Our crew on our little boat...we had no idea what was coming!
Here is where the fun happened…we turned around and started heading back and we had been going for about 1 hour and the boat RAN OUT OF GAS!!! Naturally we were all in a panic by then because we were stuck in the middle of the Indian Ocean miles from land! Our guides were trying to call people on land to have them send out another boat to rescue us, but they couldn’t get a hold of anyone. We asked them the Swahili word for “help me” which is “Nasaidie!” and we were yelling it at the top of our lungs. Our guides were starting to get nervous too, so they decided we needed to have an American song sing-a-long to keep us all calm. We sang all sorts of songs from Justin Beiber to Celine Dion, and we also learned some new Swahili songs, including my new favorites “Pole Samaki Pole” (Sorry Fish Sorry) and “Malika Na Ku Penda Malika” (I Love You Angel).

The little fishing boat that towed us back to shore

My heroes :)
Finally after what seemed like an eternity, a little fishing boat found us offered to pull us back to shore. We dropped our anchor into their boat and they pulled us for a while, but then the wind started to die down a little bit so they didn’t have enough power to pull our boat and move themselves, so all of us got into their tiny little fishing boat, complete with fish scattered on the bottom and a crab that was scuttling around. Oddly enough I felt safer in that boat than I did in our original boat, and we made it back to shore pretty quickly. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get all the way into the beach so we had to jump out of the boat at wade to the shore. When I was walking to the beach I got my feet stuck in a hole that went to my knees and when I pulled my feet out my sandals were gone! L

My poor sandals :(

Safe and Sound :)
Luckily, we were able to still swim in the Indian Ocean which was divine! Even though we weren’t able to snorkel, we still had a really fun day and it made for an awesome story…right?
On Saturday we went for a bike ride to some caves called Amboni Caves and took a tour. It was really cool even though there were bats EVERYWHERE! It was a little freaky when people would shine their lights at the ceiling of the cave and the bats would fly around our heads. I also showed my superhuman strength and scaled the wall of the cave on a TREE ROOT! You can most definitely call me Xena warrior princess from here on out J

Amboni Caves
Yeah...I totally climbed that wall!

Salim a.k.a. "Mr. Chapati" our guide

I would definitely call this an awesome weekend. AND…to top it off Sunday the 10th was my birthday, which gave our team yet another reason to party. The girls on my team cooked banana pancakes and mashed potatoes and they made me a wonderful chocolate cake! It was delicious!! J They decided to pull a fast one on me and put trick candles on the cake so I didn’t get my birthday wish…but that’s okay because I am here in Africa which has been a dream of mine for a long time! Until next week…Kwa heri!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

And It Begins....Quest #1--Learn the Ropes in Arusha....Quest #2--Improve the Health of the World!

So I have officially been here in Tanzania for a week and I LOVE it! It wasn't as much of a culture shock coming here as I thought it would be...but there have been a few things I definitely need to get used to. I think my biggest road block at the moment is overcoming the jet lag and getting used to the 9 hour time difference between here and Utah. Here are some pictures from chapter one of Mi Manifesto (a.k.a. week 1)...

This is the little puddle jumper that took me from the Nairobi International airport to the Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania.

This is the lovely bed, complete with bed net that I will be living in for the next 10 weeks.

The market in Boma N'Gombe outside the Vocational Training Center. This is only the backsides, but on the front there are beautiful displays of fruits and vegetables that all look delicious!

The group of girls I help teach empowerment and English classes to. The girls at the Boma Vocational Training Center are learning how to be tailors in order to earn money to provide for themselves and their families. Many of the girls here want to be teachers, particularly of English in the future and are SO excited to learn everything we have to teach. I LOVE these girls!

Happy (L) and Janet (R): two of the most enthusiastic girls in our empowerment and English classes.

Tyler teaching the women in Boma N'Gombe about rocket stoves--a new method of cooking that reduces the amount of smoke produced in order to reduce the amounts of respiratory and vision problems the women and children in the village have.

The front side of a market stand--doesn't it all look delicious?!

Neema (Ne-ey-ma), one of the cutest girls I have ever met. She's like a walking can point to anything and say "Neema, sema _________(insert word here)" and she'll tell you the Swahili word for it. I have learned so much in just a couple days!

The start of the chicken coop we are building at the HEM Orphanage in Sanya Juu, in order to provide eggs to supplement the childrens' diets and provide them with a money making opportunity in order to sustain the orphanage, which is currently being run on community donations.

The HEM Orphanage: home to 29 children, you can see a few of them in the background.

The place where the children at the orphanage bathe.

The benches where the children sit during school.

The foundation for an additional dormitory at HEM Orphanage which will be built in hopes of expanding the orphanage to house more children.

The most delightful meal in the world= wali maharague. Translation= beans and rice. I have eaten this at least once a day, sometimes twice since I have been here and I could easily eat it every day for ever...I LOVE IT!

A bunch of my team members on a walk to the gas station to get ice cream. There is a big field at the bottom of the road to our house and there were a bunch of children playing soccer that day, so naturally we stopped to play with them for a while. They didn't really enjoy playing with the "wazungu" (translation=white people) as much as they thought they would so our enjoyment was short-lived.

We had team "Magical Fun Time" day where we went on a picture scavenger hunt. The caption of this picture was "Taming the Wild Beast." It took me about 15 minutes to figure out how to get on that dinosaur and right before the picture was taken, this random man decided he wanted to be in it too and he jumped right up in about 5 seconds...jealous! I love his blue wellies though :)

Austin and Milla Boles (a husband and wife that are on my team) participating in the "Building a Bridge" photo

Austin "Swimming in the Ocean." We are inland, so we couldn't find a real ocean, therefore we chose to swim in an ocean of shoes at the Central Market.

"Paying the Bride Price" a.k.a. reinacting the Johnny Lingo story. If you were to zoom in on this photo, you would see that Elizabeth and I are giving the camera a serious stink eye. We were not thrilled at the idea of being sold for a mere 5 cows for the pair of us!

As you can see, I am having the time of my life here. My team is involved in some really awesome projects that I am really excited to get involved in. Tune in for chapter 2 of my adventures next week.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Swahili Who-be What-e?

So I decided I wanted to be super prepared when I got to Tanzania and in my mind that includes being able to communicate with the people...a noble goal right? So I got the Rosetta Stone Swahili program and was totally excited to learn how to speak an African language. I was under the impression that the first things I would learn would be basic conversational sentences such as "Hi, my name is..." or "Where's the bathroom?" but instead, the first complete sentence I learned was "Mvulana na msichana katika mashua" which means...drum roll please..."The boy and girl are in the boat." Wow. Can you imagine me walking up to a local in the middle of the Serengeti desert and saying "Hey the boy and girl are in the boat!" I would be the laughing stock of Tanzania!! The remainder of my first attempt at learning Swahili taught me the following words:
gari= car
ndege= bird/airplane
nyeusi= black
and of course how to count to ten: mmoja, mbili, tatu, nne, tano, sita, saba, nane, tisa, kumi :)

I have yet to learn my "essential conversation sentences," but I am really enjoying Rosetta Stone and I think it will really help me be able to communicate effectively with those I am working with.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

And It Starts...With a Short 27 Days to Spare

Well, I have been told countless times by certain individuals who shall remain nameless (look at know who you are :)) that I need to get this blog going. It's true I have been dragging my feet a little bit because to be perfectly honest I know absolutely nothing about blogging, I leave that completely to my sister Meagan. However, seeing that I am leaving on the adventure of a lifetime in a short 27 days (YIKES)...I figured I should probably deliver on the promise I gave to all my donors to keep them posted on my endeavors and projects while I am in Tanzania. Speaking of donors, I am still a little short of my personal fundraising goal, so I was given the idea to post my fundraising letter on this blog so people can see what I'm going to be doing this summer to see if they want to contribute to my team...

Dear Family, Friends and Neighbors
 Over the past four years I have had the wonderful opportunity to study Public Health at Brigham Young University and will graduate in December 2011. As part of my graduation requirements, I need to complete an internship with a valued public health organization. This summer, I have been accepted as a volunteer intern with HELP International in Tanzania ( The acronym of the organization stands for Help Eliminate Poverty and it strives to carry out this mission of sustainable development by carrying out humanitarian service projects as well as teach self-reliance principles among people in eight countries around the world—Belize, El Salvador, Fiji, India, Thailand, Uganda, Tanzania and Peru.
Tanzania is a country in Eastern Africa where over 75% of the population lives below the poverty line. Most communities do not have access to clean water or clean living environments allowing diseases such as malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS to run rampant. Because of these poor conditions, 69 out of every 1000 babies born will die before the age of one year, with another 150 dying before the age of 5. For this reason, I would like to spend my time in Tanzania providing education to women and children on the importance of nutrition and hygiene as well as other public health interventions in hopes to help reduce the mortality rate. Other projects in Tanzania include: adobe stove building, microfinance, square-foot gardening, micro-credit initiatives, English-class teaching, orphanage work, and HIV/AIDS awareness among others. All projects are done in collaboration with locally operated organizations in Tanzania. Projects taken on require commitment from the community they are aimed at helping, which helps ensure lasting changes within the community. We are not aiming to impose change upon the people in Tanzania, rather to empower them to make the changes themselves.
One of the unique aspects of HELP International is its ability to leverage a single donation to make such a broad impact. As a college-age student intern and volunteer, I have the time, mobility, health and energy to serve abroad. However, in order to participate I am required to raise at least $4650 which will pay for travel, room and board, and everything exceeding the program cost will be used to provide the resources needed to carry out individual in-country projects. I need to raise this money by June 5, 2011. I invite you to invest in this work and become a partner with a contribution to the cause. Together we can create real and meaningful change in the lives of many people in the country of Tanzania. While money is tight for everyone, especially during these difficult times, the amount of good that can be done for the people in Tanzania increases significantly with even a small donation. Understanding how the economic crisis has affected us in the United States, we can hardly imagine how much worse it has devastated those in impoverished countries. I am inviting you to join me and HELP International in serving the people of Tanzania by donating whatever you can. Checks should be made payable to HELP International with the tag “Hannah Brady” and “Tanzania” in the memo line, or through PayPal online at:, including “Hannah Brady” in the comments section. If you’d like more information please visit the HELP International website, or email me at, or you can call me at (801) 319-3186.
I thank you in advance for you support and partnership in this endeavor to help alleviate the suffering of poverty in Tanzania. I would like to keep you and your family informed on the progress of the various projects I will be assisting with in Tanzania. Here is a link to the blog I will keep this summer: Please include your e-mail address with the donation so I can e-mail you an invitation to the blog.
Thank you!

Hannah Brady

PLEASE NOTE: Funds raised herewith are donations to HELP International, to be used at HELP International’s discretion. Donations are nonrefundable. HELP International is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit charitable organization. Your contributions may be tax deductible. Consult your tax advisor.

If any of you readers know of anyone who would be willing to support me and my team mates in our endeavors to improve the health of the people of Tanzania, please let me know.

I promise this blog will be much more entertaining in the future, I just needed to get the serious stuff out of the way first.