Saturday, April 15th:
This morning we woke up late (I found the sound of waves so relaxing, I had a deep sleep… I think Sher was tossing and turning all night with the fear that he was drowning in the waves) and rushed to pack before enjoying our breakfast on the beach. Cristina arranged for a driver to pick us up and take us to the Mbeya airport. He was the same driver that had originally picked us up when we landed in Mbeya… speaks very little English but a really nice guy. He showed up right on time but we were late and I felt bad that he waited while we finished packing, ate, and paid the hotel bill. Then we finally started on the long, bumpy drive back to Mbeya.
Sher mentioned to me during the drive that we had a little extra time and Uyole is on our way to the airport. I have a really poor sense of direction so I didn’t realize this and it MADE MY DAY when I realized that we could stop and see the kids at the Zion House one more time. It felt like we were going home when we started to recognize the landmarks on the way back… the tall building by the main bus stop, the guy who sells SIM cards with the baby girl named Princess, the big store that signals the turn from the main road, the barber shop with American celebrities as outside wall designs, etc. I was so excited to be heading back, even though it was only for half an hour.
We said hello and goodbye to all the kids… they were so sweet and excited to see us again. It was so worth the detour and skipping lunch. Then we finally got to see the nearby Peace Home (another one of the buildings of The Olive Branch For Children) and say hello to Cristina again. We talked about the YouTube video that the kids had recently posted with Ellen singing… it is one of their best, in my opinion. Here’s the link if you want to check it out- Cover of “People Help the People”. It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who cries every time I watch the video, Cristina said she feels the same way. Something about seeing those smiling faces and Ellen’s touching voice plus the emotional lyrics… it’s too much for me! Sher and I got to spend a little extra time with Erica ad Davis who showed us how to get to Peace Home and kept us company while Sher bought some chips for the airport drive. Erica teased Sher about not sharing with me and treating me right. She has my back! Haha. She gave me another bracelet while we were saying goodbye and Sher made a good point that she gets credit for three pieces of my jewellery now- my anklet, teaching Sher to make my thread bracelet, and now the rainbow glass bead bracelet that she gave me as a goodbye gift.
We made it to the Mbeya airport about an hour after saying our last goodbyes at the Zion Home and made it to Dar es Salaam another hour or so later. Edgar, our tour guide for the next two days, picked us up at the airport and dropped us off at our hotel, a historic courtyard hotel (Protea Courtyard), that is part of the Marriott company of hotels. A lot of people warned us before arriving in Dar es Salaam that it isn’t safe for the two of us to go out at night alone without a local to guide us. That warning didn’t last long…. within a few hours of checking in, Sher found an Indian restaurant online and wanted to check it out. We took an Uber there and had some delicious thaali- south and North Indian.