Field Hockey's Shannon Regan spent a month in Tanzania, spending most of her days at a construction site helping build a school. Here is the first of three blogs that tells about her trip.
Week 1: May 12- 19
I left from the Chicago O’Hare airport on Sunday the 12th. I was both nervous and excited for what the next month would bring me. I had only been out of the country once, on a family vacation to Mexico. I didn’t know anyone else going on the trip, but I met another Miami student at the airport and we hit it off right away. From Chicago we flew to Amsterdam where we met the rest of our 35-person group. The majority of the group was from Ohio and Florida. From Amsterdam we flew to Kilimanjaro International Airport. We landed at about 10 at night and from there we drove an hour to Arusha where we spent the first night. Once we got to the hotel we had a quick dinner and went straight to bed because we were waking up at 3am to drive to Dar es Salaam. At around 4am we started the journey to Dar, the capital of Tanzania. We drove in a charter like bus for 11 hours on the bumpiest road I’ve ever been on. It was a dirt road with speed bumps every 100 yards. Despite the uncomfortable ride, the scenery was amazing. We drove through the mountains and through many towns and villages along the way. Once we arrived in Dar, we then took a 2-hour ferry to the island of Zanzibar. Once we arrived in Zanzibar we drove 45 minutes to our final destination. We arrived pretty late at night so we all found our rooms and went to bed shortly after. We stayed in a hostel that resembled a tree house. It was all open air, and right on the beach. The running water was salt water, but we had access to clean fresh water for drinking. I shared a room with 5 other girls. Everyone on the trip was amazing; we all became close really fast. The next morning we had a short orientation with our leaders and then went straight to work! Every day you had a choice of either going to the school to teach English, or going to the construction site to work out building a school. Most days I went to construction. At the work site we first began clearing the field with machetes. Once the trees and shrubs were cut down, we began working on the foundation. We pick- axed big rocks into smaller rocks so that we could use them in the foundation. It was very hard labor, but very rewarding. Once we were done breaking rocks, we began mixing concrete. We would lay rock and concrete on top of each other to make the framework for the school. The locals would come and help us every day as well as lots of children. The children in our village rarely went to school because it was 10 miles away. Once our school is finished, the kids will all be able to go to school every day with having to only walk for maybe 1 or two minutes. We would work from about 9-12, and then have lunch, and then work again from 1-5. Most days we would play pickup soccer on the beach with the locals. At night we would all hang out in our living room and talk and dance and listen to music.
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