We concluded our stay in Zanzibar with a tour of S.O.S. Village in Stonetown. At S.O.S. the children live in houses with “Mamas”. Each house is run by a Mama who is in charge of the household and is responsible for buying food and other necessities for the children. Most of the Mamas have been at S.O.S. for many years and we were impressed with the family structure of the village. We visited an art class and a kindergarten classroom. All of the children seemed very happy and well behaved.
On our last day we flew from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam to visit a government run orphanage called Kurasini. We brought staple food items that were purchased from our donation money and bought some hard candy for the children. We really enjoyed playing games with them and taught them how to play Duck Duck Goose. The children were full of laughter and played very well together. One of the children that really tugged on our heart strings was a little boy named Frank who was about three years old. He was found abandoned on the street and had only been at Kurasini for about a week. He was very scared and although he is now on antibiotics he is HIV positive and is having many health problems. I think all of us wanted to take him home with us.
After visiting Kurasini we cleaned up and began our long journey back to the United States. We were all sad to leave and none of us wanted to return to reality! Nothing in a classroom could ever compare to what we learned from all of our visits and our many interactions with Tanzanians. We did see tragedy and poverty, but even the people in the worst situations were full of smiles. We certainly can’t complain about our Safari and the breathtaking island of Zanzibar. It takes a few very long plane rides to get there but nothing compares to the beauty of the Indian Ocean. Everyone we met on our trip was hospitable and happy to talk to us and answer the many questions we had about child welfare and alternative care. The trip was a great success and we all feel transformed by our experiences. Thank you all for your generous donations and for supporting us on our journey.