Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But who are "they" and why is it a thousand, exactly?

I thought it would be a cool thing to post 100 pictures here on the blog as a complement to my book, which is just shy of 100,000 words. But I didn't think my cunning plan all the way through, because while I posted the pictures in chronological order, the blog posts now appear in reverse chronological order, starting with the end of my service and ending with me first joining the Peace Corps.

So in order to remedy that, I've added links to the bottom of each post. If you want to see all the pictures in their proper sequence, just follow the links. Starting with this one:
- A Thousand Words (Part 1: Staging and training) -

A Thousand Words (Part 17: Closing Words)

These are just some assorted pictures from my final days in Korogwe.
This is Abdul, a sage-like shop owner who occasionally imparted words of wisdom. Yeah, sometimes people like that turn up even in true stories.
Some of my fellow teachers in the staff room
The incinerator I built for the school. Well, I didn't actually build it myself, but I was the one who wrote the grant to secure the funding for it.
The farewell party.
But my students weren't satisfied with the 'official' farewell party, so they threw me another one at their own expense. That was really touching.
Except for the part where they made me wear the silly hat.
And finally, my favorite picture from Tanzania. I don't know if you can see it, but I'm holding a Sprite. "You too can look like me, just hold a Sprite"? Yeah, not so much.


A Thousand Words (Part 16: Uganda and the White Nile)

I swear I did do a lot of teaching, but it's not like I took pictures of my students on a daily basis. But here's one:
We took the students on a field trip to the coast so they could see examples of erosion, or something. Was it educational? Probably not. Was it entertaining? For me it was, definitely.
Aaaand back to traveling. This was on a ferry across Lake Victoria.
Bungee jumping over the White Nile. Never again.
Whitewater rafting on the Nile was pretty cool though
Yeah, that's me.
After the rafting, two of us decided to climb Mt. Elgon.
Mt. Elgon is also colorfully known as "Ebola Mountain", due to the fact that someone contracted Ebola from a cave on the mountain. And where were we camping when this picture was taken? That's right, in a cave.


Friday, July 15, 2011

A Thousand Words (Part 15: Victoria Falls)

But yeah, I did take a lot of vacations.
highest waterfalls in Africa
I didn't get any pictures of it, but the three of us went on a kayaking trip down the Zambezi river beneath the falls. It was pretty fantastic.
The girls didn't come kayaking. I have no idea what they did while we were on the river.
We also got to see rhinos. The park rangers actually cut the horns off the rhinos so that poachers won't kill them. Pretty sad.


A Thousand Words (Part 14: More Travels around Tanzania)

I really did take my teaching seriously, but when the school was on vacation I went on vacation too.
After Kilimanjaro I brought my parents back to my place, just so they could see where I lived and what it was like. We didn't stay long.
One of the places I took them was Pemba. Pemba is like Zanzibar, but less touristy. It also has the highest concentration of Al Qaeda in East Africa. Which is probably why it's less touristy.
I also took my parents to the Usamabara Mountains to admire the view and meet Aaron and Erin
I think they liked it
This is back in Arusha. I always found this sign hilarious because it's a scene of utter chaos, with the caption "Under Control"
This is a tea plantation next to the Amani Forest Reserve. Who knew tea could be so pretty? I sure didn't.


A Thousand Words (Part 13: Kilimanjaro)

At 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level, Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. And yes, it's in Tanzania. A lot of people seem to think it's in Kenya, for some reason. Apparently it was given to Tanzania by the British as a sort of 'consolation prize', or something.

One of the coolest things about Kilimanjaro is that you go through so many different types of climates as you ascend the mountain. At the base it's a rain forest. And yes, those are my parents.
me and my mom, with Mt. Meru in the distance
Our camp on day two, with the peak in the background. Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb, but because you start at nearly sea level and end at nearly 6,000 meters, it helps if you spread the trip out over 5-7 days. We took 7.
there's some strange vegetation up there
I just think this is a cool picture
the day we summited was pretty miserable. Cold, lack of sleep, lack of oxygen, etc.
Mom and her "helpers"
the technical term for this is High-Altitude Cerebral Edema
but we made it
final campsite
took us 5 days to go up, but only 2 to come down. And man, once you get back to lower altitudes and you suddenly have all that oxygen, it feels awesome.


A Thousand Words (Part 12: Usambara Mountains)

The Usambara Mountains were a miserable 2-hour bus ride from my place, but they were totally worth the trip. Where Korogwe was hot and sticky almost year-round, the Usambaras were always cool and pleasant. Plus, my three closest friends in the Peace Corps lived up there.
the Usambaras on the map (thanks Erin!)
Aaron's house. Comfortably lacking things like electricity, running water, and any nearby source of food.
Aaron and Erin
the Lushoto market
coming back from the market
Aaron was pretty much the one who kept me sane. Well, he tried to, anyway.
I'd explain what's going on in this picture, but that would give too much away.


A Thousand Words (Part 11: Teaching and Partying)

I didn't have a lot of classes to teach my first semester at Korogwe Girls Secondary School, so I spent a lot of time traveling around Tanzania, visiting other Volunteers.
climbing the hill behind my house with the neighbor kids
first day of classes
my students
Sharon's birthday. Yes, this is what I meant by "partying"
traveling by bus was always an adventure
New Year's 2003 we went to the beach in Tanga
Dodoma, the political capital of the country
a pretty typical Peace Corps party. Honestly, we needed these parties to share stories and normalize our experience.