Africa Adventures

Hannah Kelly, Fall 2014 J1 student

It takes a rough 16-hour flight to get to one of the prettiest places in the world, according to sophomore Kelsey Kinkade. Kathy Kelly, Peace Corps volunteer, agrees in the fact that it may take a struggle to get to Africa, but the reward when you get there is unimaginable. Kinkade traveled to Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Medikwei. While Kinkade stayed in an area in Southern Africa for vacation, Kelly made her way to Tanzania, which is located in Eastern Africa just south of Uganda and Kenya. Kelly was in Africa for approximately two years working with the Peace Corps administration, and Kinkade visited for a two-week family vacation. “I went as a peace corps volunteer to teach English in secondary schools, which are like high schools,” Kelly said. “We spent nine weeks learning Swahili, which was very difficult. Then we got training on how to be teachers because none of us had taught before.” While Kelly was there for a longer mission, Kinkade said she had other reasons for heading to Africa. Kinkade said her mom had decided to go to Africa based off of her friends experiences when they went. “There are just so many things that you don’t get to see here, and it gives you a whole cultural aspect,” Kinkade said. The environment in Southern Africa where Kinkade traveled was more suited to the vacationer, she said. However, Kinkade said travelers needed to be very careful as to what to eat and where to find shelter. “You have to get a place that’s really safe and more high-end,” Kinkade said. “We couldn’t eat anything that wasn’t made by our hotel, and we could only have bottled water.” Kelly said she was located in an area where she saw the lifestyle of the poverty of Africa on a day-to-day basis. “The food was really bland,” Kelly said. “[Meals consisted of] skinny cattle, really stringy tough meat, rice, beans and that was it. All [the volunteers] lost weight.” Kinkade’s family passed by a community where they said they saw what seemed to be a million people living in shacks. Kinkade found that experience as an area that really showed her what most of Africa is like. Kelly said not many people in Africa have money; however, everything they wore for their own pleasure was handmade. She said everybody was unique in their own way, even without the presence of money. “The people were very warm and hospitable, and they were just thrilled that we were there, so we felt like we were kings and queens in the village,” Kelly said. “The little kids loved us, too because we were such a novelty — white skin.” Kelly described the people as overwhelmingly kind and happy, even with the lifestyle they were living in. “Every day, on my way to school, there would be a group of little children who would stand on the side of the road yelling ‘Mazingoo!,’ which means ‘White’ in Swahili,” Kelly said. “They wouldn’t stop until you waved at them, and then they all ran giggling.” Kinkade said Africa has many different landscapes that are absolutely stunning. While in Africa, she was able to make her way to many different places to view the landscapes that Africa had to offer. “In Cape Town, my favorite part was you went up on top of the mountain and you could see the entire town,” Kinkade said. Kelly said one of her favorite parts of her trip involved her interaction with the children she taught daily. “Going in the classroom seemed to make all the troubles really worthwhile because the kids [are] very different from American teenagers in that they are really happy to be in the classroom, and they really want to work,” Kelly said. Kelly wasn’t able to to leave Tanzania to do a lot of sight-seeing; however she said she was able to make smaller trips inside the area she was located. “I went on a short two-day safari, and in that two days we saw lions and elephants, and they came right up to the car,” Kelly said. Both Kinkade and Kelly agreed they would, without a doubt, go back to Africa and both for very similar reasons. “The trip was overall, a very eye-opening experience,” Kinkade said.