26 Feb 2018
We woke up at 3:30am waiting for our other team mate to join us from the airport, and then we drove several hours to get to Morogoro. Thankfully the early morning air was cool enough for driving in a car across Tanzania with no AC.
On our way to Morogoro we stopped in the middle of nowhere to stock up on water supplies. The sun was rising and the kittens and chickens ran around playing with each over while kids walked past on our way to school.
When we finally arrived in Morogoro, Oscar helped us buy sim cards and go to the bank to exchange our British pounds for Tanzanian shillings.
We arrived at the beautiful Amabililsi Community Center, run by nuns, and will be staying in there dorms for the next 4-6 weeks. We have adorable little rooms:
We only have one fan in each room and will have power outages frequently. My shower has one temperature (cold) with almost zero water pressure. But it’s quite refreshing in the heat. Just wish there was more than a few streams of water to wash myself with.
The back of the community center are several study areas for other researchers from around the world. It’s a bit smokey in the pictures, but you can see the mountains in the back. Morgoro is breath-taking with the large mountain ranges and green everywhere.
I got several fist pumps from strangers over my shaved head and tattoos. It was awesome.
And then someone really hurt me by saying I look like a dying cancer patient, saying the nuns that work here looked concerned about my weight, and calling me a “sicko” after I threw up from severe anxiety, and pointed out the hair missing from my face that I try so hard to make look real with exspensive products. As someone who actually does have health problems and struggle with my hair growth, and my weight, I have never been so personally hurt by jokes in my entire life. I felt embarrassed crying over it, I guess I had no idea how low my self esteem really is.
My best friend Josh is so amazing, I called him crying, and while I was a blobbering mess, he posted pictures of me in an online forum, and sent me all the screenshots of the comments encouraging me and calling me beautiful. And then I sobbed even more because that’s so nice.
I’m still waiting and praying for my friend Mahjoobah to get her Visa soon and join us. Lord knows I need her here. But she has an Afganistan passport and the world is being cruel to her because of where she was born
Tomorrow will be our first day of “work” where we will be visiting schools and making contacts for our research.