Today, I have a special treat for all of you: a blog by Hayley, one of the many awesome girls in Session 2, on her experience so far in Iringa! Check it out:
"Hey everyone, my name is Hayley and I'm from Chicago. Officially over halfway through the program as of today! Having had no idea of what to expect coming in, this program thus far has been an incredible learning experience, and has thoroughly challenged the way I think and act, even moreso than I had hoped it would.
The past 11 days (I think that’s how long we’ve been here) have been a perfect blend of excursions showcasing how beautiful the destination is, practice adapting to a completely new culture-and in some cases overcoming obstacles-, discussions pushing us to think critically about the program, and (most importantly!!!) fun meeting new people and playing soccer. Some of my favorite things that we’ve done thus far include hiking up Gangilonga Rock, touring Neema Kraft, and visiting the traditional healer in Kilolo, but it’s so hard to choose. Plus, the other program participants from the US are all such amazing people and it’s crazy to think I wouldn’t know them had we not been brought together under these circumstances. All the food here is so good (albeit maybe kinda repetitive), all the scenery is so beautiful, and all the locals have been incredibly welcoming and kind. For example, one important difference in the culture here is the fact that you’re supposed to greet everyone you pass, something that is definitely not the same back home. It’s comforting to be in such a collectivist culture (as opposed to our individualistic one back home) since everyone is kind and supportive with one another, and they depend on each other a lot as well.
Anyway, so today we went on a hike to Isilima, which was beautiful, I guess it can be described as a very, very toned down Grand Canyon. It was wonderful, the only exception being the fact I was reminded of how out of shape I am. After that came lunch, which was hilarious today because we all got into a heated debate about who would win/who would get out first if our group was on the reality show Survivor. Let’s just say we get really competitive about a lot of things, most notably the game mafia and the card game spoons. Now, as I’m writing this we’re at soccer, coaching a primary school in Ilula, and the field is surrounded by trees and mountains (and we’re surround by other little children who are watching the soccer practice and asking for a ball), and it’s something that has somewhat become routine this week. It’s been kind of difficult not being able to just go hard and play soccer (since I haven’t since my season ended), but let’s just say I’m getting pumped for the finale tournament happening at the end of next week!
Can’t wait for what’s in store the rest of the program!"
Photos of the Isimila Stone Age Site which Hayley described are in the gallery of this post for you all to enjoy!
Check back tomorrow for another guest blogger! xoxoxo Dee, Hayley, and the Iringa Session 2 Girls