January 09, 2021

First Tanzania Trip Journal: 2011

I met Shamila in 2009 when we worked together at the bank of Montreal.  While training her, we got to know each other very well.  I learned that she was born in Tanzania and that her aunt runs an orphanage there in Tanga.

After learning about the orphanage, my husband (Rory) and I started by sending clothes for the kids.  Then, in 2010, we sent money for school tuition and did this as often as we could.

In 2011, we decided that for Rory’s 50th birthday, we would go to meet the orphans.  Before our trip, we held a big birthday party at a local pub and raised $1,700 for the orphans’ school-related needs.  Then, that December, we were on our way.

It was the trip of a lifetime.

Day One: December 25, 2011

We arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s financial and political hub which translates to “abode of peace” in English, at 4:00 AM with no one there to greet us.  We found a taxi and gave the driver the address of our final destination: Shamila’s mother’s house.  As we rode along, we quickly discovered that the driver had absolutely no idea where he was going as he stopped several times to ask for directions—directions from men who were often sleeping in cardboard boxes on sidewalks.